Local News

Four elected to Tribal Council, voter turnout low

Tribal citizens returned Benjamin Miyasato, Lawrence “Woody” Widmark, and Harvey Kitka to the Sitka Tribal Council, in elections held Tuesday (11-13-13). Former council member Thomas Gamble also won a seat. He last served in 2008.

Louise Brady and Stephanie Edenshaw were the runners-up, falling short by just a few votes. Despite having open voting at the Sheetka Kwan Community House for two weeks prior to election day, turnout was disappointingly low. While around 1,900 people in Sitka are eligible to vote in the council elections, Tribal officials estimate that only 140 people cast ballots to fill the four open seats.

Ben Miyasato, who will reclaim his seat as vice-chairman, received the most votes, with 107.

Miyasato says, “what surprised me was that the turnout was extremely low but at the same time that is sending a message that they’re not happy with their tribal government which is understandable given the financial difficulty they’re under. We hear your message.”

Also noting the low turnout, Gamble has this message for tribal citizens. “…I guess just this message to the tribal citizens that in order for positive change to happen their involvement is going to be requested continuously.”

The election results will be certified at the next council meeting on November 20th. The new terms for elected officials will begin December 1.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

Christianson says experience is crucial

Thor Christianson has served nine years on the Sitka Assembly, starting in 1998. (KCAW photo/Rachel Waldholz)
Thor Christianson has already spent nine years on the Sitka Assembly, last serving in 2013 -- and now, he’s back for more. Christianson is one of five candidates running for Sitka Assembly. If elected, he says he’ll bring experience, a centrist perspective, and a focus on education. more

Simpson and Hayes: Airing cultural assumptions without conflict

Writers Sherry Simpson and Ernestine Hayes discuss cultural assumptions in Alaskan literature in two venues: a stage presentation 7 PM Mon Sep 22 at the Sheetka Kwan Naa Kahidi, and in a hands-on writing workshop 6-9 PM Tue Sep 23 at the Yaw Chapel. Both events are free. For complete information, visit the Island Institute online. In collaboration with the 49 Alaska Writing Center. more