Reconciliation Day 2022

October 18, Alaska Day, marks the anniversary of the transfer of Alaska’s sovereignty from Russia to America.  The problem is that sovereignty was not Russia’s to transfer.  The land was owned for thousands of years by indigenous people ranging from Inupiat and Yupik people in the North, Aleut people in the West, Athabascan people in the interior and the coastal tribes, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian in the South East and that is where sovereignty rested. 

Every year on Castle Hill (Noow Tlein) there is a reenactment ceremony of the lowering of one flag and the raising of another.  After an incident in 2017, the 150th anniversary of the transfer, when a Tlingit woman was asked to remove a sign that read “Gunalcheesh (Thank you) Sheet Ka Kwaan for your care of Tlingit Anni for time immemorial,” members of the Tlingit community decided to hold a mourning ceremony at the foot of Noon Tlein the next year. Mourning the loss of recognized sovereignty of the land.  Here are blog posts from the ceremony in 2018, 2019, and 2021 (There was no ceremony in 2020, the pandemic year.)

The day was reframed as “Reconciliation Day.”  This year, because of the weather, the ceremony was held under shelter on the porch of the Cable House and under an awning cover of an adjacent building.  Suzi and I choose to stand with our Tlingit neighbors at the foot of the hill rather than with the ceremony at the top of the hill.  Here are some pictures from this year’s ceremony.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.