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Transportation plan threatens ancestral sites

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Kiks.adi Clan of Sitka is opposed to the current proposed route of the road to Rodman Bay. We read the Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan with a heavy heart, knowing what could become of it.

The planners are currently in the process of a fast-track environmental impact statement on the road to Rodman, a road to Baranof Warm Springs; or the third alternative is improved ferry service.

With anything in life there is a compromise. Tens of thousands of years ago, the Kiks.adi Clan settled in the area Sheeitika (Sitka). For that same amount of time, we relied on water transportation to arrive at other communities; it took many days to reach another village. Today we have the luxury of buying someone else's energy to go great distances with little or no effort.

It is so with the road to Rodman. The area of Eeyka (Peril Straits) and Dayalk (Rodman Bay) used to be considered a long way away from town. In this day and age a person has to go this far to get good abundant food.

Like with any civilization, there is physical evidence of our existence. The federal and state agencies call them "cultural sites," but to us they are the places where people gathered, celebrated accomplishments, harvested food, mourned losses - village sites, clan territories and burial grounds. Our ancestors rest in the very ground nearby.

We dare not disclose exact locations in a public setting; it only invites looters and grave robbers into an already sad legacy of mistrust.

The current proposed road to Rodman Bay will trample over these sites and make our food harder to come by.

While the people sound the horns of construction and when the strings of commerce crescendo in, please be aware of what drums in the background and what it means to so many who have gone before us and who live today and those yet to come.

Thank you, honorable people, for taking the time to hear our concerns.

Duck Didricksen

Steve Johnson

Sitka



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