I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.


I made a terrible error yesterday in my election notes– blame it on blogging before coffee– I assumed that three women (since often that seems to be case) had won  the uncontested school board seats– when, the big news, a first for Haines– is that the student body president (and ace debater), Royal Henderson, a senior who serves as a non-voting member of the school board in a kind of advisory role, decided he wanted a real seat at the table, and since he is old enough, a life-long resident, and a voter, and there was a one year seat open, he ran for the Haines School Board seat– and won– getting the most votes of any of the candidates for any of the local offices– Congratulations to Royal Henderson! I mean really, how wonderful is that to have a young person who actually cares about politics– especially the nitty-gritty, true-democracy-in-action of a school board in a small-town? What is even more refreshing is that he says what he thinks, thoughtfully, and without malice, or the kind of social obfuscation we adults, particularly adults with all kinds of personal relationships in a community, do. I think this is why the conflict of interest form change passed as well. The state version relies on detailed and thorough financial disclosures, assuming that all conflict of interest must be about money. Well, around here what sways public officials has little to do with dollars and everything to do with sensibilities– who his sister is married to, who she plays cards with, who he drinks coffee with, what neighborhood she lives in, what non-profit board he serves on– who our friends, co-workers, and family are–  Not that any form can address that, but at least we made ours local, and simpler. Now it is on to the general election. After last night’s uninspiring presidential debate it is a miracle anyone under forty is even paying attention.There has been more heated debates in the letters to the editor of the Chilkat Valley News about Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, the 23 year-old candidate for state house from Sitka, who is running against powerful Haines incumbent, and grandpa, Bill Thomas. Some have said Jonathan’s youth and inexperience are a negative. I say Jonathan’s age and enthusiasm are as, if not more, inspiring than Royal’s. While he may not win in Haines this time,  Bill has done so much for this community,  I do hope that someday  I’ll  get to cast my vote for  Governor Kreiss-Tomkins, — and Senator Royal Henderson!