Photos: Territorial Guard statue

Posted: Sunday, November 15, 2009

Native military veterans John James and James Lindoff Jr., standing, and Jerry Eldemar and Leo Williams, kneeling, with a statue of an Eskimo soldier in the Territorial Guard.

The 5-foot-6-inch 300-pound statue is one of eight commissioned by the Fairbanks Veterans Association and secured through $100,200 in state aid.

The statue will be unveiled in a ceremony during Celebration in June and will be a fixture at the Southeast Alaska Native Veterans Monument on Warrior Street, between the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall and the Tlingit Haida Central Council. Each of the other seven statues will be displayed in Anchorage, Bethel, Fairbanks, Kotzebue, Nenana, Nome and Point Barrow.

The statue is intended to remind more Alaskans about the territorial guard, also known as the Eskimo Scouts, a group of about 6,500 Alaska Natives who guarded Alaska's lengthy west coast from the Japanese during World War II.

The Alaska Territorial Guard, all volunteers, ranged in age from as young as 12 to as old as 80. There are believed to be 300 members of the eskimo scouts still alive today.

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