Tlingits worry about lack of Southeast Native representation in Legislature

For the first time in at least 20 years, Southeast Alaska will be without Tlingit representation when the next Legislature opens in January. Rep. Bill Thomas of Haines and Sen. Albert Kookesh of Angoon both were defeated in the November election. Public radio station KCAW wonders about the implications of that for Southeast villages.

"We just don’t know how much impact that will have. But it can’t be without impact,” says Klawock’s Dennis Demmert, former director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Native Studies Program. ...

“It’s simply not possible, so far as I can see, for two men who are non-Native to have the perspective of Native people,” he says. “There are needs that we have and priorities we are aware of from living our lives in villages that they can observe and see. But they can’t experience it the way we have.”

Read more, and hear the audio report, at KCAW.