The state of Alaska has filed an action to move forward with a plan to take over a Native allotment of land from the Polk family, in Bethel, for the purpose of building a road. The Department of Transportation has attempted to purchase the land at least seven times from the Polk family; all of the amounts offered have been denied by the Polk family. The Polk family has lived on this land for decades, and it has been a part of their family for many generations. Why is this important, and why should the Alaskan people be paying attention?
Traditionally, eminent domain was supposed to be used for various reasons, such as transportation, supplying water sources, infrastructure, support in defense readiness, and protecting environmentally sensitive areas to name a few. Nationally, this affects many communities of people, including low-income, minorities, and working-class people.
What does this mean for Alaskans? The lands that are affected by eminent domain in Alaska, are Alaska Native allotments. These lands are home to communities and families who have had these lands for generations, much like the Polk family. The Polk case is a great way to get the information out there and for the Bethel community and the community of Alaska as a whole, to take notice of what is happening and urge our government representatives to explore other alternatives to eminent domain.
— Makayla Guild
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