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Southeast Alaska Historical: Seeking the Right to Vote; A century ago, Native Leaders Charlie Jones and Tillie Paul were charged with a crime By DAVE KIFFER - November 7, 1922 was a lovely day in Wrangell. We know that because Judge James WIckersham, then living in Wrangell, noted it in his diary the "fine weather."

But there was a storm brewing that even Wickersham, the longtime Alaska political leader, was unaware of. And the storm would establish once and for all, that the Native residents of Alaska would have the right to vote, no matter what obstacles were put in their way by the power structure.

At the center of the debate were Charlie Jones, also known as Chief Shakes VII, and Matilda (Kinnon) "Tillie" Paul. Jones, who had voted before in Wrangell elections, wanted to vote that day. When the poll workers said no, he came back with help from Tillie Paul. Both were charged with breaking the law.

The question of whether or not Jones could vote was based on a disagreement over which law governed the ability of Natives to vote in Alaska, the federal Dawes Act of 1887 and the Alaska Territorial Citizenship Act of 1915. The Dawes Act considered Natives who were born in the territory that was now part of the United States to be eligible for citizenship - which they would have to apply for - in order to be able to vote. The Alaska Citizenship Act added some caveats such as "evidence" of the "habits of civilization" such as being able to read and write and live in a manner that was considered "civilized."

Charlie Jones had been born in Wrangell in 1865, so he qualified under the Dawes Act. But it was clear that the poll workers in Wrangell were going to determine that he didn't qualify.

When Jones arrived at the polling station, he was met by three poll workers, C.E. Weber, Ole Gunderson and Leonard Churchill. Churchill was in charge of voting that day. In fact, Churchill was in charge of many things in Wrangell in those days. He had first arrived in the community in 1887 and had held many positions of authority over the years.

It is said that political leaders frequently know all their constituents. In Churchill's case that was literally true. Churchill filled out both the 1920 and 1930 Wrangell US Censuses by hand. So, he knew every resident in the community, including Jones, whom Churchill had certified was a "citizen" in 1920.

But in 1922, when Jones asked for a ballot, Churchill told him that he could not vote because he was not a "United States Citizen."

Jones left but later he was talking to Tillie Paul, who was his in-law because two of their children were married, and she convinced him to try again. According to Fred Paul, Tillie's grandson, the conversation - as recounted in Ronan Rooney's "Wrangell History Unlocked podcast" - went as follows:

"What is the matter, Kuh-dah-nay’eek?” she asked him
in Tlingit, using his Native tongue.

“I’ve just come from the voting place,” he replied, “and
they won’t let me vote.”

“Come with me,” she said. “We are going right back there to talk to them.”

When they asked the poll watchers, Churchill responded again that Jones was not a citizen. Tillie Paul had had experience dealing with local officials attempting to disenfranchise Natives previously. She encouraged Jones to swear an oath that he was a citizen. This made it a matter of his word versus Churchill's. He did so and the election board allowed him to vote.

That, of course, was not the end of it.

Churchill took his complaint that Jones had illegally voted to the court system. A grand jury, of white residents in Ketchikan, found there was enough evidence to accuse Jones of illegal voting and perjury for testifying he was "civilized."

The grand jury, empaneled by District Attorney Arthur Shoup, determined that Jones was "illiterate" and therefore not "civilized." Paul was charged as an accessory to Jones' perjury and the act of his voting.

Jones and Paul were arrested in March of 1923 and taken to Ketchikan. Both faced fines of $500 and three to six months months in jail. The Ketchikan trial began on Oct. 23, 1923. Both Jones and Paul had been out on bail since March, as several Ketchikan residents had provided bail for them. - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022


Southeast Alaska: Department of Interior Approves Tlingit & Haida’s First Fee-to-Trust Application - The United States Department of Interior (DOI) announced last week (Nov. 17, 2022) it has approved the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s (Tlingit & Haida) fee-to-trust application to place one of its land parcels into federal trust status.

This is the second fee-to-trust acquisition in Alaska since the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in 1971, and the first in five years. 

The recently approved fee-to-trust application, also called “land-into-trust,” was submitted by Tlingit & Haida in 2009. The parcel (Lot 15, Block 5) is located in Juneau, Alaska (pdf) within the historical and cultural area long known as the “Juneau Indian Village.”

President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson has issued the following statement in response to the notice from DOI: - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022

Alaska - National: Sullivan Demands Congress Protect Sick Marines from Predatory Trial Lawyers; Criticizes Senate for Failing to Cap Exorbitant Camp Lejeune Lawyer Fees in PACT Act - U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC), criticized some of his committee colleagues in an Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing last week for enabling predatory trial lawyers to charge sick Marines exorbitant fees in court cases related to water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Impacted Marines are able to seek compensation for service-related toxic exposure as a result of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which became law in August in the larger Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.

Since passage of the law, trial lawyers across the country have unleashed hundreds of millions of dollars in television ads and social media campaigns seeking out Marines for Camp Lejeune-related cases. - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022

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Alaska: Additional $135.9 Million in Broadband Investment for Alaska Announced; Metlakatla Power and Light to receive  $10.5 million, CCTHITA to receive $49.9 million  - An additional $135.9 million in federal broadband grants for communities across Alaska was announced Thursday. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) announced the grants Thursday for broadband programs in Western, Southcentral, and Southeastern Alaska. Newly announced grant recipients include the NANA Regional Corporation, Inc., Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA), Kenaitze Indian Tribe (IRA), and Metlakatla Power and Light.

Metlakatla Power and Light will receive $10.5 million to install fiber directly connecting 586 unserved Native American households, as well as businesses and government entities, with fiber to the home service of 1Gbps symmetrical.

In Juneau, CCTHITA will receive $49.9 million to install fixed wireless and deploy Low-Earth Orbiting Satellite-enabled service to directly connect 14,032 unserved Native American households with qualifying broadband service of no less than 25/3Mbps for all with options up to 100Mbps symmetrical speeds, where available.

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (Both R-AK) praised last week's announcement by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

“When I visit Alaska’s rural and remote communities, one of the top issues raised to me is the lack of internet connectivity, as well as the astronomical cost of the limited broadband speeds that do exist - impacting education, healthcare, opportunities for economic development, and more. A specific example that was shared with me: the internet speed is so slow, a community couldn’t even download a grant application to apply for broadband support,” said Senator Murkowski.

Murkowski said, “As a result of the bipartisan infrastructure law, we continue to see investments in broadband for communities across the state. Improving access, reliability, and affordably for Alaskans – in urban and rural hubs – is paramount.” 

“Access to high-speed, reliable internet can be life-changing for a community, enhancing the delivery of health care and education, and opening doors for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Senator Sullivan- More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022


Southeast Alaska: Discussion in honor of Walter Soboleff Day on the Controversial Closure of the Walter Soboleff Church and Recent Efforts to Atone - Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) sponsored a panel discussion recently on the controversial closure of a Juneau church 60 years ago that was ministered by the late Tlingit spiritual leader Walter Kaajaakwtí Soboleff. 

The discussion examined recent efforts to atone for that decision by Kuneix Hidí Northern Light United Church, Northwest Coast Presbytery and Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

The discussion, scheduled in honor of Walter Soboleff Day, was led by the Kuneix Hidí Northern Light United Church’s Native Ministries Committee, which organized in recent years to research the sudden and unexplained closure of Soboleff’s facility, Memorial Presbyterian Church. The committee led a successful local and national campaign to share the results of their research and reveal the injustice done to Soboleff and parishioners.

The group’s effort addresses a very old wound delivered to Soboleff that was also suffered by his widespread congregation, said SHI President Rosita Worl.

“I think Dr. Soboleff would be proud of the work done by the committee, particularly the Native people who took up this quest to address what was one of the most painful chapters of his life,” Worl said.

Soboleff, who was Tlingit of the Raven, L’eeneidí clan, was wildly successful in his calling as a pastor. He was the Presbyterian Church’s first Alaska Native ordained minister, and he assumed the pulpit at Memorial Presbyterian Church in 1940 at the age of 32. At the time, Juneau had two Presbyterian churches: a Native one and a non-Native one, which was later named Northern Light. 

At his first service, only three people attended, but his congregation grew and soon the church became the communal heart of Juneau’s Indian Village, where it accommodated many functions and events in addition to sermons. - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022

Alaska: Troopers Seize Rainbow Fentanyl, Arrest Lower 48 Dealers; Multi-Day Trooper-led Investigation Results in $150,000 Fentanyl Seizure - Narcotics Investigators assigned with the Alaska State Trooper’s Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit (SDEU) seized over 4,100 counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl and 88 grams of heroin after concluding a multi-day investigation in the Fairbanks area earlier this month (November 09, 2022). Additionally, Arizona residents 36-year-old Christopher Birdow, 37-year-old Daniel Barnes, and 29-year-old William Gurley were arrested for trafficking these illicit narcotics from the lower 48. 

“Your Alaska State Troopers are committed to doing our part to stop the flow of dangerous illegal drugs into Alaska. This year alone we have seized millions of potentially fatal doses of fentanyl that was bound for Alaskans,” said Lieutenant Tony Wegrzyn, Deputy Commander of the Alaska State Trooper’s Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit. 

Wegrzyn said, “This operation should serve as a warning to lower 48 drug dealers that plan on peddling drugs in Alaska that we take drug trafficking seriously. Know that the Alaska State Troopers will aggressively investigate drug trafficking and hold those that deal death accountable for their actions in our state.” - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022


Historical: Remembering the veterans who marched on DC to demand bonuses during the Depression, only to be violently driven out by active-duty soldiers By SHANNON BOW O'BRIEN - The Bonus Army March is a forgotten footnote of American history.

It involved as many as 30,000 mostly unemployed veterans who converged on Washington, D.C. in the spring and summer of 1932 to demand an early cash payment of a bonus they were promised for their volunteer service in World War I.

The bonus was due in 1945, but the Great Depression created financial panic across the country, and the WWI veterans wanted their money sooner rather than later.

When the U.S. Senate refused to pass a bill to make the payments, many of the veterans returned home. But the great majority remained and set up camps and occupied buildings near the Capitol – much to the dismay of local police, who tried to evict the demonstrators from their makeshift campgrounds.

A riot ensued, leaving two demonstrators dead and dozens injured.

At that point, on July 28, 1932, the police asked for federal help. In a written statement, President Herbert Hoover deployed his Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, to settle the matter.

“In order to put an end to this rioting and defiance of civil authority,” Hoover wrote, “I have asked the Army to assist the District authorities to restore order.”

MacArthur’s orders were to secure the buildings and contain the protesters by surrounding their campsite in Anacostia Flats located near the Capitol.

But as MacArthur would do throughout his career – most notably in Korea when his disobedience resulted in his firing – he exceeded his orders.

Late that afternoon, historians have written, nearly 500 mounted cavalry men and 500 infantry soldiers, with bayonets drawn, were accompanied were accompanied by six tanks and another 800 local police officers to Anacostia Flats. It didn’t take long before the protesters were chased out of the city and their encampments burned to the ground.

Aides to MacArthur would later say he never received the orders to simply contain the Bonus Army.

The Bonus Army March was one of the few times in American history when the U.S. military was used to shut down a massive demonstration of peaceful protesters. The debacle also came to symbolize Hoover’s perceived callousness toward the unemployed during the Great Depression and led to his defeat by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election.

What the military response did not do was deter the Bonus Army demonstrators for long. - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022

Columns - Commentary



DAVE KIFFER: "If you have an election last​ing more than..." - Welp, we - and the country and state - survived another election.

There were enough disappointing results to satisfy everyone and keep the pundits punditing for another two years.

By then, it will be time to have a presidential election and .... well, I don't even want to think about that.

So, what did I personally learn during this election season?

I am so glad you asked. - More...
Sunday - November 30, 3033



The Democrats kept the Senate.

Joe Biden is still pretending to be the president.

So how about if we – i.e., the politicians and the news media – dispense with the partisan political junk for a while?

How about if we all sit down and try to fix some of the country’s chronic crises that we hear about every day but that only keep getting worse?

How about if we start with fentanyl?

In the last six months, we have heard hundreds of politicians and media talking heads toss around the fact that fentanyl is killing 100,000 Americans every year. - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022


DANNY TYREE: ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR THE RIGHT THINGS? - Please pardon me, but I am always overcome by mawkish sentimentality at this time of year.

I cannot contain my gratitude. I am thankful for a paycheck and sunsets and modern plumbing and mobility and rainbows and warm clothing and good friends and conjunctions and…

I am thankful that I can do anything you can do better, I can do anything better than you – except get $%&# show tunes out of my head.

I am thankful for eight-month tick-and-flea collars, because the traumatic monthly sprayings do not promote ideal master/pet relations. (“Believe me, if I had opposable thumbs, I would light the sack on fire myself, buddy!”) - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022


TOM PURCELL: GIVING THANKS - Is the glass half empty or half full?

In my experience it’s always been half full — and that’s one of many things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.

We lost my father this year, and that leaves a huge hole in our hearts — until we focus on the life he lived so well and the many wonderful, loving memories of him my family and I will always have.

I got to experience 59 Thanksgivings with my dad, give or take — 59 cheerful gatherings in which he recited Grace before 40 or more cheerful extended family members.

I have random flashes of my dad throughout the days now — memories that come at me out of the blue.

I vividly remember one Saturday in December 1967, when I was 5. - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022


FINANCIAL FOCUS: Here’s your ‘recession survival’ checklist Provided By BEN EDWARDS, AAMS® - It’s unfortunate, but recessions are a fairly normal part of the economic landscape. When a recession occurs, how might you be affected? The answer depends on your individual situation, but regardless of your circumstances, you might want to consider the items in this recession survival checklist:

Assess your income stability. If your employment remains steady, you may not have to do anything different during a recession. But if you think your income could be threatened or disrupted, you might want to consider joining the “gig economy” or looking for freelance or consulting opportunities.

Review your spending. Look for ways to trim your spending, such as canceling subscription services you don’t use, eating out less often, and so on.

Pay down your debts. Try to reduce your debts, especially those with high interest rates. - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022


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jpg Opinion

Moving forward.... By Jeremy Bynum - entered the House District 1 election for the betterment of our Southern Southeast Alaska communities and the desire to serve and represent our beautiful corner of this great state.

I would like to thank our supporters and volunteers for their tireless efforts, passion, and confidence in me. It is quite humbling, to say the least, and I am extremely grateful for each of you. It has been such a privilege and delight to meet and get to know more of our neighbors in Coffman Cove, Hyder, Ketchikan, Loring, Metlakatla, Meyers Chuck, Saxman, Whale Pass, and Wrangell. We truly have a remarkableregion with remarkable people!

We relentlessly campaigned over the last 5 months and ran the race we wanted to run, one that was respectful and focused on the issues that matter for our district. Given the short amount of time we were in the race and the fact that we were running against a 4-term incumbent, we are extremely proud of the race we ran and the excitement and support we have received and continue to receive.

I want to congratulate my opponent, Dan Ortiz, and wish him the best in the upcoming legislative session. I will continue to work with Mr. Ortiz and advocate for our community in my capacity with the Borough Assembly, public utility, Veteran organizations, and other community support roles. - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022

jpg Opinion

Re-envisioning Thanksgiving By Andrew Moss - With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s worth revisiting some of the holiday’s most cherished expressions. In such a revisiting, we can discover not only the gaps between aspirations and lived realities, but also redemptive possibilities. 

Take, for example, one of the most iconic of Thanksgiving images: Norman Rockwell’s painting, “Freedom from Want.” In the painting, a family, a white family, sits around a table. As the matriarch sets down a plump turkey before her seated clan, the glow from a background window casts a luminous image of togetherness, abundance, anticipation.

Rockwell painted the picture in 1943 as one of four paintings that became covers for the Saturday Evening Post, covers that illustrated and idealized the four freedoms President Franklin D. Roosevelt had espoused in his January, 1941 State of the Union Address.

Roosevelt had articulated these freedoms (freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want) to rouse support for Great Britain in its war with Nazi Germany and to define values that could help motivate and guide America’s own war preparedness. Inspired by Roosevelt’s vision, Rockwell’s paintings and Post covers gained instant popularity, and the paintings toured the country in an exhibit that helped raise millions in war bonds. - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022

jpg Analysis

What the world would lose with the demise of Twitter: Valuable eyewitness accounts and raw data on human behavior, as well as a habitat for trolls By ANJANA SUSARIA - What do a cybersecurity researcher building a system to generate alerts for detecting security threats and vulnerabilities, a wildfire watcher who tracks the spread of forest fires, and public health professionals trying to predict enrollment in health insurance exchanges have in common?

They all rely on analyzing data from Twitter.

Twitter is a microblogging service, meaning it’s designed for sharing posts of short segments of text and embedded audio and video clips. The ease with which people can share information among millions of others worldwide on Twitter has made it very popular for real-time conversations. Whether it is people tweeting about their favorite sports teams, or organizations and public figures using Twitter to reach a mass audience, Twitter has been part of the collective record for over a decade.

The Twitter archives allow for instant and complete access to every public tweet, which has positioned Twitter both as a archive of collective human behavior and as a credentialing and fact-checking service on a global scale. As a researcher who studies social media, I believe that these functions are very valuable for academics, policymakers and anyone using aggregate data to obtain insights into human behavior.

The proliferation of scams and brand impersonators, the hemorrhaging of advertisers, and disarray within the company call the future of the platform into question. If Twitter were to go under, the loss would reverberate around the world. - More...
Sunday - November 20, 2022

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