'Cancel culture' petitions continue: Rename Tony Knowles Coastal Trail - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, September 30, 2020
HomeThe Social‘Cancel culture’ petitions continue: Rename Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

‘Cancel culture’ petitions continue: Rename Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

On Tuesday, a petition at Change.org popped up to change the name of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail to something … it doesn’t say what, but not Tony Knowles.

Knowles was a two-time governor and former mayor of Anchorage. The petition also cites him as a member of the Democratic Party, which has a racist heritage, and a beneficiary of white privilege who attended a school founded by a slave trader — Yale University. Also, he’s an “oilman,” another apparent strike against him.

“The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail that runs along Knik Arm in Anchorage bears the name of a politician — Tony Knowles, a former Democratic Party governor who was also an oil man from Oklahoma,” the petition states.

[View and sign the petition here.]

According to the petition, which was started by Sherri Jackson, the trail crosses land that has been used by indigenous people for 1,000 years and should not bear the name of a person who belongs to the political party that fought to preserve slavery in the 1800s, and the party that opposed the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s.

“Further, Tony Knowles graduated from Yale University, which was founded by a wealthy slave trader. His successes in life are owed to his white privilege and education at a university founded on the same white privilege,” Jackson’s petition states.

“We believe the naming of this trail should be given to the Village of Eklutna so it can bear the name of a tribal leader, rather than a paid politician.”

The petition is addressed to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and, as of this writing, has eight signatures.

Recently, Berkowitz gave the fate of the Captain James Cook statue at Resolution Park, just above the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, to the Village of Eklutna to decide. A handful of activists posted their names on a petition to have the statue removed, but it’s now a decision that the chief of the Eklutna Village will make.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Well, the silliness continues (my opinion, and mine alone). Perhaps we should rename the Ted Stevens International Airport something else. After all, he was a convicted felon, until he wasn’t, but we named our airport after him. And then there’s the whole Bill Sheffield train depot thing, another Democrat.
    Did renaming Barrow set off a firestorm? How long would it take to run out of native names for things, and how does it make sense to name a bike trail or an airport after a native? And if not native names, then what? Alaska League baseball players?

    • I was going to call it deluded insanity but silliness works too 😅 Albeit humorous, good points!

    • Whatever or whomever. People travel to Alaska to get a feel of the local culture and to get all warm and fuzzy inside by being close to a native place. Then they get here off a boat or plane and a white guy is staring them in the face. Confusion sets in because they wonder if the plane turned around and landed at their point of origin. They want to live Alaska then travel home to their shiny white towers. Anchorage is just another city with big city issues, just like they left at home. Why not name things after prominent natives? I can give you many people that I have lived with and we’re great people.

      • Why not live in a diverse democracy where everyone is valued?

    • Greg, you forgot to add that Sheffield was also impeached !!!!

  • I think maybe we should just start ignoring all of this crap. As long as they keep getting their way they will never stop.
    I used to have something to say about every MRAK post but I guess it has just gone so far off the scale that it’s hard to take any of it seriously.
    Suzanne, you are the voice of sanity in all of this craziness.

    • Ignoring this crap is what got us here really. This one seems slightly tongue and cheek though…they are going after a DEMOCRAT linked with SLAVERY who was a former MAYOR. There is some present day irony going on here. Anyone feel the same way?

      • Going to a college doesn’t link you to slavery. That’s ridiculous. Better tell my Black doctor that went there that he’s racist if that’s how you perceive things.

      • A disease is a mosquito, which is an animal, and thus a human being. This is the simplistic logic of these pseudo historians that incredibly believe one can choose a point in time and declare that’s where ownership (lack of a better word) started and therefore trumps everything or every one else downstream. Tell this to the masses who came across the Bering Land Bridge and never fought one another in the process, living a perfect idyllic world. Words not fit for printing can only describe this madness.

  • Is this the same Sherri Jackson than ran in the R primary against Vasquez?

    • No
      You it is not!

  • The insanity continues and it is beyond ridiculous. So now we are supposed to tear down all statues and rename everything because a select group of people deem something offensive? Sadly these people can’t seem to differentiate between things that happened hundreds of years ago and what is happening now. Newsflash, you can’t rewrite history as much as many of the liberals would like to do. What people can do is improve on history and make things better for everyone by acting like reasonable human beings and working together for the betterment of the community. Riots, acts of violence, senseless petitions, rants to remove statues and names, and the constant list of things that everyone is offended by these days is tiresome. Stop trying to re-write history and instead work on making a better future. Anything else is counter-productive.

    • I’m sure there is a native Alaska name for dog poo. The Fecal view trail.
      Seems fitting

      • I wonder what the Native name is for those little pyramid plastic bags of dog poo that people pick up, then leave by the trail.

        Come on people, grow a brain. There is no Poo Fairy the city pays to come along and pick up after you.

        Plastic Poo Pyramids trail?

  • By renaming native sites, isn’t that what they did? We already had a name for that. Walk a mile in our shoes.

    • Please show us your precontact atlas. I’d love to get it straightened out. I’d also like to know which sites have multiple names because of the different groups that spent times in those areas and the different languages they spoke. I’d also like to know the history and politics of those people to ensure we are not using a name given by a group that stole the land from a more indigenous group. Please help.

      • Can’t help you. That was before my time but one thing is certain, it wasn’t a white name.

        • If nobody remembers why do you care? Just so long as it isn’t a white name?

          • Bingo, selective judgement by one color = true racism.

  • Actually, this was Tony Knowles legacy in fact, after two terms as mayor and two terms as governor. What else is Knowles known for?

  • I’m sure someone could justify a reason to rename Anchorage, if one included or implied the term racist. If the lefties stretched anything far enough, they would surely find racism, or hope to, after all, that’s what they live for.

    • Try not to lump everyone you don’t understand a lefty. Renaming goes far beyond trivial politics. It’s about righting a wrong.

      • True. Which begs the question, what wrong? Tony Knowles spearheaded the trail. Other than being a well-educated white guy, what “wrong” was committed? You can’t even give an answer that makes sense without also sounding bigoted and racist, so don’t bother.

        • Dummy. There were people here before dumb Tony. Don’t you think they had a claim on the land he trail is on? You think so 2 dimensional. Wake up…or not. Native names will come back since it was their land first.

          • Nah, given the changing demographics, my guess the new name will be in Spanish. If U.S. soldiers had not fight and died in WW2 they could have been Japanese. If Seward hadn’t purchased the State they could be Russian. The land is more permanent than the men, cultures and languages (and names).


            Embrace the fact that this Earth is perishing.

          • It was the animals’ land before humans came. Being “first” humans to the land didn’t make it theirs either. The Native Claims Settlement Act rendered who came first moot. Everyone came from somewhere else. Everyone has appropriated something from someone else.

        • I am native. Not white.

          • Congratulations. I never said you were white.

            It’s named after Tony Knowles because he got it done. It has zero to do with race, who was here first, where he went to college, or any of the other reasons given to rename it.

            If indigenous people had conceived of and funded the trail, your argument would have more credence.

  • I must be the only one to see the humor in this renaming project…it’s hilarious, because it’s true!

    • Yep. It should have never been changed in the first place. Maybe the namers should have asked what the name of a place is before they call it the Tony trail. It was pretty rude and bold to rename something that had already been named for thousands of years. Just more aragance from white people thinking they have the moral high ground to do this.

      • The coastal trail was there for thousands of years? And of course you have evidence of this? You could be more ridiculous if you tried.

        • IDK. That isn’t the point is it comrade?

        • Lol. Well said.

      • Greg,

        What was the name of the trail that was there for thousands of years before the trail was built and named for the guy who was instrumental in it actually being built?

      • Well gosh, Greg, we’ve already established that you imagine you and those who share your DNA aren’t “whole” and that you’re owed a “couple of trillion to start” from taxpayers for what you allege to be “payback for stolen property”: https://mustreadalaska.com/seward-statue-preserve-our-history-dont-tear-it-down

        So exactly how much of the taxpayers’ money would you say you’re owed for the pain and suffering you’ve had to endure for having to refer to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail (in English, no less!) and the rest of the state’s locations which currently carry names that cause you such angst?

        • How much have you got Sally?

          • I’m just guessing you’re an entitlement millennial. Prove me wrong.

        • And this is how the IRA, Middle East, the Taliban, China, get it done. Destroy art, denigrate a culture they decree evil, and erase the history of the countries origins. Who and why we apparently pay teachers to indoctrinate such false narrative and self declared “hurt” trumps all else is amazing. Under this logic, any geographic can justify a revolution despite the progress we’ve seen, hence the anarchy movement.

  • That petition seems like it was written by a right wing troll.

    • Your opinion.

    • Agreed!

  • It’s not okay to be a Democrat?


    Who knew?

    • Nope.

      • Going to a college doesn’t link you to slavery. That’s ridiculous. Better tell my Black doctor that went there that he’s racist if that’s how you perceive things.

    • Not in today’s climate. Haven’t you been watching the demacrat led rioting?

  • What goes around comes around.

    We MUST seek out anything and everything that was named after any Democrat, that party having been so steeped in slavery!

    While we’re at it let’s rename everything (how about just giving them serial numbers but surely none that includes three sequential number “6’s”. Though we really should have that on our submission scarves (masks) as the mark of the beast that surely is!

    Then we need a new petition. Threatening violence if somebody does’t do something to stop the madness!

    • You’re scaring me now. Let me call someone to talk you down.

      • Just playing Democrat politician; going for The Big Scare! Pleased to see it worked – albeit for just one snowflake!

  • Club Paris.

  • Knowles will ask Mayor to refer the matter to Eklutna, who will rename it “The Trail Formerly Known as Tony Knowles”

  • What a load of crap! You know people have it too good when they can’t find anything to do with there time than to create problems.

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