Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has turned the fate of the Captain Cook statue over to the Village of Eklutna, he said on the Tom Anderson Show on KVNT on Thursday morning.
Anderson asked the mayor what he had intended to with with the bronze statue that stands at Resolution Park along the Anchorage waterfront downtown.
An online petition to have the statue taken down is active at Change.org.
Berkowitz said he’s turning the statue’s fate over to the Village of Eklutna, which he says Anchorage has government-to-government relations with. Because they are a sovereign government, he has given them control over the statue’s future.
“Because the desire to take it down is borne of some of the historic concerns about injustice in the way the colonialists treated the Native people, we have given the process of what to do with the statue to the Native village of Eklutna. We have a government-to-government relationship. It is a sovereign-to-sovereign relationship,” Berkowitz said.
He explained that Eklutna Chief Aaron Leggett will set up a process in consultation with other tribes in the region to decide the fate of the statue — it could come down or it could be “contextualized.”
The village of Eklutna is within the Municipality of Anchorage, but lies 24 miles northeast of Anchorage near Mile 142 of the Alaska Railroad and Mile 26 of the Glenn Highway. About 70 people live in Eklutna; they are either all or part Native.
Berkowitz said that Captain Cook was only in the Inlet for a couple of weeks, and the people who had lived there for centuries have the right to determine what happens to the statue.
Give a listen to that segment of the Tom Anderson Show: