Natives must fight for what's theirs

Posted: Monday, July 10, 2006

Blame it on the subsistence users for the exploitation and near extinction of our fishery of herring demise. The state of Alaska and the federal government allow the commercial fishing industry to overharvest our fish. Picking seaweed is unlawful anywhere in Alaska, except a few places in the Southeast Alaska area. How absurd is that? A wildlife enforcement trooper recently issued citations to seaweed pickers in Seward. Herring row fisheries are all but gone in the Ketchikan area and don't blame the subsistence users. Blame is on bad management of all our natural resources regulated by the state of Alaska and federal government; these people regulated to near extinction or dangerously low counts of abalone, king crab, geoducks, sea urchin, herring, sea cucumber and allowed the hooligan run to disappear in the Unuk River.

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We, as Alaska Native people, have to take part in the blame for allowing the Caucasians to take from us in the first place. Let's face the facts: The Native leadership we have today are doing nothing. We have become cowards of our own destiny. We have our own IRA Councils, governments, Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood camps and a Tlingit and Haida Central Council. What are they doing? Our leadership is doing nothing to protect our inherent right to subsist off the land and sea since time and memorial. Talk the talk, but never walk the walk.

Now that I aired out my personal feelings on the matter, let's look at Metlakatla. They control their destiny. They have their own fisheries and told the state of Alaska and federal government what they are going to do and did it. What is the lesson? We, as real owners of Alaska, have to be aggressive and sacrifice some hardships to get what belongs to us, since time and memorial and take control of our natural resources. We will pick seaweed in April. We will dig up clams for fundraisers. We will shoot a seal and a deer for a potlatch.

In closing, it is time to fight for what is ours. Remember, I am not your enemy; it is the Caucasian people who are raping you and killing your tribes. Just like taking the herring from the king salmon. It is our food. We, as Native people, are part of the food chain. What is the difference? Learn your language, history and get your tribe moving.

Aan Kadax Tseen,

aka Don Hoff Jr.

Hixson, Tenn.

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