My Turn: Hoonah proud of tradition, hospitality

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2008

The community of Hoonah is proud of its culture and tradition. The community has always tried to respond to unfortunate events, crises and to issues in a culturally responsible manner. We, the community of Hoonah, have never tried to purposefully dishonor our guests, but an unfortunate event happened while the Hydaburg teams were visiting, which did dishonor Hoonah.

We would once again like to publicly apologize for these unfortunate events, but would also like the communities of Southeast to know how Hoonah responded to its guests.

First, upon learning of the incident, we immediately notified the authorities and a police investigation was conducted. The police interviewed members of the team, and a report was filed.

Second, the building was re-secured. We later found out the perpetrators had entered through a back stage door that had accidentally been left open.

Third, upon returning the next morning and learning the teams had decided to leave the school and go to a hotel, school officials called the hotel to find out what additional expenses the teams were going to incur. The school was going to pay for these additional costs.

Fourth, meals were provided and have always been provided to our visiting guests. In fact after the last game of the evening at 9:30 p.m., the cafeteria was opened to the team for a dinner meal before they returned to their hotel.

This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. Prior to the second set of games, the school officials, community officials and individuals representing most, if not all, Hoonah clans, spoke and publicly apologized to the teams for the dishonor shown to them. The community donated close to a thousand dollars to pay restitution for the incident. This amount was more than the hotel expense and any amount of money lost by the individual team members.

Finally, we have put closure on an open wound by apprehending those accused of being involved. They have been dealt with by school officials, the police and parents. The parents of these individuals had their children publicly apologize to the entire community at an assembly.

Hoonah took this incident very seriously. Hoonah is a proud community that tries to teach its kids to be honorable and to treat its guest with respect. We hope we have shown our commitment to these ideals.

• Eric Williams is a Hoonah resident.

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