I am a Sealaska shareholder. Not a tribal member shareholder, even though Sealaska prefers that term. I am member of a corporation who has disappointed me with their divisive actions across the Tongass.
I am weary of the Sealaska attempts to portray themselves as caretakers of the land stretching back generations, yet the destruction they have caused will take centuries to heal. Tree farms scattered across the Tongass, failed businesses, a controversial casino project in California seem to be the legacy of a board that has stayed in power far too long.
The Sealaska land bill has brought out the worst in a greedy corporation whose disregard of its neighbors is disturbing. In 2010, Sealaska has selected a spot at the head of Tenakee Inlet as a geothermal futures site. The Tenakee City Council recently passed a resolution asking the Pegmatite Mountain site be removed.
Jodi Mitchell, Sealaska board member and head of Inside Passage Electric Cooperative, submitted a grant in September 2010 to the Alaska Energy Authority to develop the head of Tenakee Inlet. When asked about possible opposition to the project, she states, “So far in our plan to investigate the development of geothermal at Tenakee Inlet we have encountered nothing but support for this clean, reliable energy source.” That might be entirely possible, because Tenakee residents were unaware of the latest project. The City of Tenakee submitted a grant application in 2010 to the same agency to develop a hydro power project.
This arrogance seems to come from a sense of entitlement the Sealaska board conveys. They have solidified their power by making it almost impossible for independent candidates to win, using technicalities and other machinations to squish any shareholder attempts to change discretionary voting and term limits.
But time is running out. Shareholders like Ross Sobloff express what many of us are thinking. Sealaska needs to change.
Clarice Johnson Reid