Ketchikan bridge is desecration bridge

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, May 20, 2005

How arrogant and insensitive of Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, to proceed with his proposed "boon-doggle bridge" project in Ketchikan.

The new estimated cost of $315 million of federal tax-payer dollars to build this bridge is up from $230 million estimates from two years ago. The American taxpayer is getting fleeced.

The proposed bridge is to be built from Ketchikan to Gravina Island via Pennock Island. Pennock Island is an active ancestral tribal burial ground of the Taan ta Kwaan (Tongass Tribe people) and the Saanya Kwaan (Cape Fox people). If this bridge is built it will further desecrate our tribal graves that extend from the southern end to the northern end of Pennock Island.

We, as Indian people, don't want our Indian graves being disturbed. Rep. Don Young, the state of Alaska and local governments are aware that Pennock Island is sacred burial grounds to the Tlingit Nation, Haida Nation, Tsimshian Nation and the poor white people that are buried there.

There were alternate routes for this proposed bridge. What is sick about building a bridge to Pennock Island is plowing under Indian graves with track-hoes, back-hoes, belly dumps and D-9 dozers for economic development, and so a few people can drive over is wrong.

There are only a handful of people living on Gravina Island and there is a small airport. There is no justification to build this proposed bridge. It is the greatest waste of federal and state of Alaska tax dollars. A better idea would be to build a hard link to the main land on the back side of Ketchikan to access the Lower 48.

A perfect example of a bridge gone wrong is between Sevierville, Tenn., and Pigeon Forge, Tenn. I have personally seen this bridge, which is 95 percent complete and was halted because of burial mounds discovered. The eastern band of the Cherokee Nation stopped that project from being completed.

In closing, we don't want this proposed bridge to Gravina Island via Pennock Island to be built. To totally ignore our request of all indigenous people in Alaska, I can only conclude that racism is alive and well by local, state and federal governments with total disregard to traditions and feelings of Indian people with impunity.

Hixson, Tenn.

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