by Peter Twitchell
I really appreciated my friend Chief Gary Harrison of the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council NAY’DINI’AA’NA at the close of the 2019 AFN for telling Native Country of Alaska that we have been sovereign People long before there were any other people here.
He stated, “By birth we are sovereign,” and another man whom I also looked up to felt the same way and that was Chief Eddie Hoffman.
It’s been a long hard struggle through “blood, sweat, and tears” to be recognized by others as a sovereign Nation.
Long after our people were settled and thriving here in the cold land but beautiful land we called Home for centuries we are strong, standing tall and recognized as a sovereign People.
Be proud of our Ancestors we no longer have to feel inferior around people. People came and raped our land and treated us like we were foreigners, as if we didn’t belong or pertinent.
Through their own ignorance others still disrespect us. They are a minority and forget discrimination of our people became illegal in the State of Alaska February 15, 1945.
Byron Mallott stated, “This fundamental right is universal.”
As a native society we can’t go to another country and impose our beliefs on them. At one time new comers believed we ‘belonged at fishcamp where we were happy’.
We are finally getting our sense of belonging and it won’t be long before we are running our government and state.
Now we are looking at good role models and have like Gary and Eddie others that are taking the place of those who have been good role models to us, like Elizabeth Peratrovich. A coin in her honor will be available to us soon.