The Legacy of Congressman Don Young
It is with sadness in our hearts that we mourn the passing of Representative Don Young. Don Young was one of those rare individuals who show up in history as the right person in the right place at the right time. His work helped transition Alaska from the mythical place of a Jack London narrative to a powerful state able to take its place among the founding states of this great nation.
Don Young was many things to many people. As he famously said in 2016, "Everybody knows Don Young. They may not like Don Young; they may love Don Young. But they all know Don Young." He relentlessly put Alaska and her people first, a position that ruffled many feathers in the strange bed-fellow system of Washington DC politics.
Don Young worked to uphold Indigenous rights in Alaska most recently authoring a bill to restore land rights to the five communities left out of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. He has been working to right this wrong for decades. Several of these communities are represented on SEITC’s Board of Directors.
To assure the lasting legacy of Representative Young and to honor his wishes, we ask that the lands belonging Native Communities of Ketchikan, Petersburg, Wrangell, Haines and Tenakee Springs under ANCSA be restored. These lands are but a small fraction of which was stolen, but a huge step in recognition for these communities and all their generations yet to come.