Landless issue needs more voices

Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2000

I am a very concerned landless shareholder. I was out of state, going to school, when my parents signed me up with Petersburg. There are about 3,000 landless shareholders, and counting children there are over 7,000. The five communities effected are Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Haines and Tenakee. The landless issue has been going on since the land claims settlement in 1971.

Since 1971, I have heard very little regarding how the landless issue is going. I have tried to get information from our local representatives and others involved with this issue with very little success. The only person that has shared information is Robert Willard, the former liaison with the landless issue.

I would like to give landless shareholders another alternative. A Coalition for the Landless Committee has been in existence for the past six months and meets twice a month at the downtown library in Juneau. Our main goal is to see what this coalition could do regarding the landless issue. We shall inform any shareholders with information regarding the landless issue and have a monthly newsletter and survey. We shall in the future travel to the five communities, at our own expense, and encourage and inform other shareholders to get involved. We plan to attend Native conventions to get as much support as possible regarding this issue (such as AFN, ANB and ANS, and Tlingit-Haida conventions). After 29 years, we can either have a bill introduced by shareholders through our elected representatives or go to court to make a determination on the direction of where to with this issue. If you know another option, let us know.

No matter what community you belong to - you can join this coalition. The coalition would like you to have a voice and educate people on this issue. We need your support by having people get involved, conduct meetings in the different communities, hold new elections of representatives and voice our opinions.

If you want to contact me about this issue, write to the Coalition for the Landless Committee, 326 4th St., Apt. 306, Juneau, Alaska, 99801.

Garfield Katasse Juneau

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