Commentary

STA candidate statement: Dale Williams

My name is Dale Spencer Williams, your candidate for Sitka Tribe of Alaska chairman. I am a Raven of the Taak Dein Taan’ clan, born and raised in Sitka by my grandparents Jimmy and Flora Williams. My grandfather Jimmy Williams was of the Kiksadi clan. I am a 1968 graduate of Sitka High School. I am very proud of my family. My grandparents were immensely proud of being Tlingit and they were well thought of in the broader community of Sitka. You may have seen my ads emphasizing my pride in being a Tlingit Indian and a patriotic American. These were values I was taught from a young age.


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First, let’s talk about the many challenges our tribal citizens face. Discussion of SEARHC hospital should be at the top of our priorities. Old timers can remember when there was a community over at Mt. Edgecumbe and it was like a family that worked over at SEARHC hospital. Over the last year myself, Tanya Bonorden, Archie Nielsen, Wade Martin, and Stephanie Edenshaw have tried to make efforts to have input on decisions that highly affect our people such as the decision to abandon in-house employment in the cafeterias and in housekeeping and outsource them to corporations such as NANA Management. I put this issue on the October 17 agenda and the council voted to ask for a dialogue with NANA Corporation and with Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, which has acquired ownership of McGraw Construction. They will have a big impact on tribal employment in Sitka.

It has been difficult for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska to have the influence we should have with SEARHC hospital because of a mechanism put in place in 1997 by Senator Ted Stevens called the “Stevens Rider.” Before this rider was in place the tribes had pass-through funding whereby the tribes received compact funds from the IHS and could pass them on to organizations such as SEARHC, making them more responsive to what we wanted. An example of that is the Ketchikan Indian Corporation. KIC came about because expectant mothers didn’t want to have to get on a plane and travel a couple hundred miles away from home to have their babies. The Stevens Rider put a block on any other tirbes being able to have their own health programs.

This election will decide whether we will have a voice at SEARHC hospital or not. The Stevens Rider has its defenders, including my opponent Mike Baines, Rachel Moreno, and Mike Miller. Vote for candidates who want to have a greater voice in our hospital. I ask for your vote. Dale S. Williams for Chairman, and Tanya Bonorden, Stephanie Edenshaw, and Louise Brady. Thank you. Gunalscheesh!

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