Important business in the Alaska Legislature: Anchorage Democrat’s bill would rename Glenn Highway

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Democrats in the Alaska House are busy trying to rectify history. While Rep. Geran Tarr has offered a bill to rectify “outdoor equity,” Rep. Zack Fields of Anchorage has offered to rectify the name of the Glenn Highway, because, according to him, it’s named after a war criminal.

HB 352 would have the Alaska Department of Transportation set up a consultation process with tribes to rename the Glenn, likely into an indigenous name offered by the tribes of the area.

The bill itself is simple. It “amends the uncodified law of the State of Alaska to establish a process for consulting Alaska tribes, Alaska Native organizations, and communities along the Glenn Highway to provide input for renaming the Glenn Highway.”

But the reasoning is where it gets complicated. Fields provides documentation from the Anchorage Daily News, The New Yorker Magazine, and his own reasoning that Edwin Glenn tortured Filipino suspects during interrogations while serving in the Philippine-American War.

Fields reports that the Glenn Highway was along a trail used by Dena’ina, Knik and Eklutna tribes for trade and commerce between Cook Inlet and the Copper River Valley. The road itself was built and completed in 1942 to help defend Alaska against invasion by Imperial Japanese forces. Glenn was a judge advocate and captain in the Army who commanded the initial expeditions to chart the route.

Later, Glenn was sent to the Philippines, where he was a warrior in the style of his generation. He was said to have waterboarded the mayor of one town, and ordered another town burned to the ground — both actions not unheard of in wartime.

President Theodore Roosevelt had Glenn returned to San Francisco to face court martial. He was found guilty and relieved of his command for an entire month, and fined all of $50.

“Further, Glen’s conviction as a war criminal should disqualify him on being the namesake for one of Alaska’s longest highways,” Fields said in his explanation for wanting to change the name.

“Alaska has more Native American language speakers than any other state, and over 200 existing languages today. In combination with precedent in state and federal law for tribal consultation, the State should consider consulting with local communities and tribes along the highway to consider a more appropriate name for the Alaskans who live there,” Fields said.

So far, the bill has only Fields as a sponsor and has been referred to the House Transportation Committee, where it was heard on March 1, with invited public testimony from groups and individuals supportive of the change, including Anchorage Daily News columnist David Reamer, who has written about what he sees as a problematic name.

73 COMMENTS

  1. You are wasting valuable time and taxpayers money! Get your head out of the past and look at our future. Stop bickering about the stupid stuff. Get to work on our PFD and budget!!!!

  2. It might be wise to hold this bill until at least the third special session..?? or perhaps at least appoint a committee to think about doing so..??

  3. Does anyone know what the name of Barrow is now or can pronounce it? Another good move by the woke left!

    • Actually, I do know how to pronounce Utqiaġvik. I also know that Iñupiat means “real people”. The real people I know among the Iñupiat still call it Barrow.

      • This is TRUE! One of the woke, leftist hockey dad’s I know asked one of the team mom’s (she’s Inupiat) how to pronounce the new name and she said: ‘you mean Barrow?’ 😮 Only leftists/markists wants to re-name everything with woke monikers, as proven by woketard Fields.

  4. How does any real work get done in Juneau with these little communist dumb-asses getting in the way? What’s next? Tearing down the monument of Captain James Cook at the Anchorage waterfront?
    .
    Zack Fields: call you mommy and ask her if you can go potty. Real men needed in Juneau.

    • Don’t give him any ideas. Berkowitz was considering tearing down the Captain Cook statue, but decided against it.

  5. I wish the “Woke” would just stop with their social tyranny. They self-righteously demand that people think like them or be canceled. They are campaigning for the end of freedom of thought and expression.

  6. When we point our finger to others remember to look close because you will find you have 3 of your own fingers pointing back at you. And Jesus himself taught let him who is free of sin cast the first stone then. And most of all we are to love one another as Jesus loves us. Who was more wronged than Jesus and he still taught love and forgiveness. The show must go on all let it go move on.

    • Thanks, chris you’re a real socialist tool. Funny a communist like you would be reading this blog. Apparently chris thinks All of this nation’s soldiers are evil.

  7. Open question:
    Why are there so many sissy boys in the Alaska Legislature? Good grief. Can’t the voters put real men into office anymore?

  8. There is a book titled, “Indestructible” by a John R Bruning. It’s the true story about a US military family assigned to the Philippines during WWII. The husband is off on assignment and the family is unable to evacuate in time to avoid capture by the Japanese. The Japanese had many Fillipino operatives who sold their country out and worked alongside the occupiers. Very brutal methods were used to control the population. One can imagine Edwin Glenn needed brutal measures to find the real war criminals and torturers/murderers. He believed in “equity” for the victims.

    • As Paul Harvey says, “and that’s rest of the story.”

      Unfortunately, with social media the way it is we don’t get most of the story nowadays…
      bits and pieces.

    • Agreed! Very good book, hell of a man & family! How the Mom kept her family alive during their imprisonment was amazing! Not surprised commie Hollywood hasn’t made a movie based on this family! Maybe they could get Winnie The Pooh Xi in China to fund it!

  9. Apparently Zack has nothing better to do than pursue feckless activities and fulfill his virtue signaling in the process. As for Tarr, I wonder if he and Fields will be leg wrestling for the honors of who’s better at pissing away Alaska’s time and money. And, what exactly is “Outdoor Equity.” Will Tarr, Fields and their ilk make sure there aren’t too many pigment challenged individuals outside at any particular time exercising their “privilege” to the detriment of all others?

  10. “Fields provides documentation from the Anchorage Daily News, The New Yorker Magazine, and his own reasoning … ” Yeah, ADN and the New Yorker two stainless pinnacles of truth. Where did these retards like Fields and Tarr come from and how do we send them back?

  11. I don’t mind a name change, i just don’t want a name i can’t pronouce. Else it stays the glenn for me. Its just like barrow. Can’t even pronouce its new name. You are crazy! Trying to change place names to a foriegn language when we can’t even read and write proper english. What makes this crowd think alaska will appreciate a foriegn language when we struggle with english and reading.

    • Raise the reading score. Read to your child no matter his age and/or children around you, although not easy nor encouraging trying to read aloud to a child not use to books being read to her.

      The read aloud prepares him to accept other languages. Not many Americans were raised immersed in another country’s language.

      If Alaska Native language speakers want to be taken seriously, the reading scores need to be raised. They can start by raising their own community’s children reading profiency. Changing place names isn’t going to change anything when adults and youth struggle reading.

      • First off, the primary (or was it only?) legislative accomplishment of JKT was the “20 official languages” bill. In a legal sense, your assertion of “foreign language” is incorrect. As for “Not many Americans were raised immersed in another country’s language”, ever read the story of Lawrence Welk? In early-20th-century North Dakota, he was one of a great many people who were born in the United States but learned English as a second language.

    • Excuse me. Alaska is from the Aleut language–do you have a hard time with that? It was also known at one time as Alyeska, which means the Great Land. I bet you don’t have a problem pronouncing that. And many other states are named after indigenous places. It doesn’t take long to learn how to say Utqiagvik if you try a couple of times. I bet you had the same problem saying Hawaii at one time.

      • CA, even with that, it always amuses me how essentially EVERYONE in Alaska mispronounces the name “Alyeska”. It is properly NOT “Al-ee-esk-ah” (four syllables), but “Al-yes-ka” (three syllables).

      • Exactly how long does a language have to be in use in a land for it to be considered native to the land?
        .
        And, please answer the reverse as well. How long does a language have to be out of common usage before it is considered foreign?
        .
        Don’t know? If you cannot answer that question, your comment is… well, basically wishful thinking.

  12. Maybe MLKJr. Highway. After all, his contributions to Alaska were so great. Or maybe the Joe Biden Hwy. For the same reasons. Or maybe Zack ought to not judge a WW2 veteran who has already been tried for his wartime actions and was still chosen to name a road after because of his contributions to getting it done. Speaking of getting it done, is this how you spend our money when you are not playing beer pong? Try working on a realistic budget and taking that perdiem to buy your own meals instead of the freebies offered by lobbyists. And what about that PFD? You are supposed to be representing your constituents, most of whom are broke, not woke. Quit being such a goofball and get to the business of the State.

  13. This is what our legislature is pushing and not balancing our budget?

    No wonder why we are doomed.

  14. A waste of space, a waste of time, a waste of breathable air, this is what we get out of knuckle heads advertised as Democrats!

  15. Geez, that’s important and surely must have been in my “deep thinker” list somewhere.such a simple fix for everything that is going wrong in this country. Pure genius NOT

  16. i.e. Virginia guy colonizes Alaska and now wants to erase our history to signal his virtue. How do we know he didn’t descend from slave owners and ought to be changing his own name? He should take the Glenn north in its entirety and never come back.

  17. Totally makes sense. Re name it .
    No Alaska natives ever burned anything or tortured any one .
    Innocent as daisies!
    The only viable reason to rename it is if it attracts tourists. $
    Let’s rename it the “Highway of Rainbows”

  18. Certainly Chris Tuck will want to hold some hearings on just who uses the Parks and look into why the Roosevelt did not have him shot as a war criminal and bring to light if he was paid while being suspended from Command for that month..and find out is he was somehow related to David Eastman

  19. To me War criminals are those who do not join the military. If not for the American Indian code talkers, the Eskimo scouts and many other American tribes, the Japanese would have overrun North America and committed Genocide on a grand scale. But a good white do-gooder thinks he knows something.

    • Oh Dot, that is so overstated. I never joined the military, I stayed here and GAVE to my community rather than TAKE from it. Am I a war criminal?

  20. Wow got time for that but not the PFD. Wasteful politicians. The Glenn has been fine for over 70 years, now it is not. You bunch of little kids need to grow up.

  21. History is not there for you do like or dislike, it is there for you to learn from it, and if it offends you, even better because you are less likely to repeat it.
    It is not yours to erase or destroy. It belongs to all of us.

  22. Like these idiots in Juneau don’t have anything else to do but try and find the next person(s) who supposedly had a bad thought, possibly looked cross-eyed at someone with colored skin, maybe even said the “N” word when they were 7 years old. What a crock of BS.

  23. With the myriad of serious issues that need to be addressed, time is being wasted on changing a highway name. And was this even lobbied for
    by a group of citizens? It sounds
    like Mr Fields is just looking for something to give the impression he has accomplished something. In reality he is grossly wasting time.

  24. Glenn was a major trail and road developer in Alaska and is worthy of that highway’s name. Nearly every person of fame, MLK Jr. or John Kennedy for instance, has some skeletons in their closet that we should probably leave alone. I’m really sick of all this PC crap that only drives people apart. Zack Fields is a divisive, spoiled little rat, just like Constant, Rivera, Dunbar and a bunch of other leftist crybabies.
    But then I thought McKinley was a good name too.

  25. I remember the governor saying all Alaskans will be getting a check after our last covid checks then nothing at all. I remember all the oath takers saying we will get our full dividend checks and sold out souls is all we got once again. Now this all oath takers for the people of the people by the people you swore to GOD to. Can we get some OATH INTEGRITY that’s all we the citizens want from our oath takers oath integrity

  26. Several comments show evidence of seriously crossed wires, or at the very least deficient comprehension. Capt. Glenn and Lt. Allen made their famous expedition of Alaska in 1885. Obviously, Glenn wasn’t doing anything in an official capacity in WWII (specifically, he died in 1926). Besides WWII, the United States military was also involved in the Philippines at the end of the 19th century. The Philippines became a U.S. possession for a number of years as a result. The reference to WWII was in regard to the spur route constructed in conjunction with the Alaska Highway construction, the road we know today as the Glenn Highway.

    • Growing up, the Glenn Highway name never bothered me. I never considered it was named after anyone. Maybe the thought flitted through my mind at one time that it was just a fancy spelling of ‘glen’ and let it go at that. Just like the Parks Highway had something to do with getting to Denali State Park.

      I was always proud of the name of my town Chugiak, as it really meant something and it reflected the heritage of the folks that originally passed through, as well as I was glad to know Eklutna retained its identity.

      I was initially astonished at the idea of changing the name of Glenn Highway, but if someone can come up with a catchy name easy to remember, means something that evokes its existence as a thoroughfare through moose country along a route that brings awe-inspiring beauty of nature alongside rivers, lakes, ocean shore, and breathtaking views of the mountain ranges along the inlet, I’m all for it.

      If we had to name it ‘after’ someone, I would propose ‘Sylvan Highway’ after Sylvia Jean, my sister who was born in the area a year after Statehood, grew up in the area, lived the life of a true Alaskan as a biologist for the Fish & Game, and University of Alaska Anchorage, volunteered with Anchorage Ski Patrol and Rescue, as well as many local activities which Alaskans are well-known, hiking, bushwhacking trails, skiing, skating, marathoning, folkdancing, glacier and climber of ‘other mountains besides Denali’ in the Brooks and Chugach Mountains. She died in 1988 ascending Mt M Baker, which had previously been known as St Agnes. She epitomizes the modern version of an Alaskan, although I don’t think she ran the iditarod as I recall. But, there are also many honorable leaders from Eklutna Village, Dena’ina heritage and Athabaskan ethnolinguistic cultural history. It’s time we try to find out more of our Alaskan historical greatness and do homage. Instead of token military honors for folks for whom ‘the ends justify the means’.

        • Thank you for your comment. I’m unfamiliar with the particular legal case, but I mentioned it because my sister was born, grew up, graduated from UAF despite an honorary, merit and music scholarship to St Martin’s, worked, volunteered and helped explore the Chugach and local mountain ranges. It would be wonderful if the folks thinking about honoring contributors to the State of Alaska, think beyond the military or politics to the people that made the character of the Great Land what it is.

          But, seriously, there are quite a few true Alaskans like my sister, pioneer spirit and all. Folks that have lived in the area for generations would know who those people are. Just ask the people in the Chugiak Historical Society. I bet not that many people realize some of the historical details in their neck of the woods.

          Sure, John Glenn was a wonderful person, but to tell the truth I was visiting my grandparents at their South Dakota ranch at the time his name became a household word, and had just found some shiny special rocks (mica) on a walk, and that was as interesting as hearing about the US space effort at the time. His life story had not made an impression on me before that event, nor since –just that he was an astronaut who pushed the available envelope at the time, and a politician, dedicated to both, I’m sure but not any real ties to that particular stretch of road. Also, there are many lovely words in the Eklutna language and other Athabaskan dialect, that, too have meaningful and descriptive words.

          On the other hand, if we all bite the dust with a nuclear explosion in the Ukraine, it doesn’t really matter much what the road is called.

  27. America is a giant assisted suicide. You have the rich patient (Progressive voters) that wants to die and the doctor (Progressive Politicians) that wants to kill him. Conservatives try to change the mind of the person that wants to kill himself while protecting him from his murderer. Anyone else fee this way?

  28. How about legislation to remove all people names off public roads and buildings – including schools and airports. Quit participating in idolatry of the flesh.
    All highways already are assigned numbers, use them. If a building has a functional designation, use it. Screw these good ‘ole boy reach around clubs.
    Using peoples names only serves to divide people. If you want to dedicate, then put a plaque on it.

    • There you go! As a bonus, he was a Democrat, and nobody ever held it against him because of his great accomplishments.

    • Good Idea, or maybe after Allen Shepard, he came to Anchorage in ’62 or was it ’63? Anyway they had a Parade for him and I bugged my mom to let me go see a man that had been in space!
      Sounds like any war crimes attributed to Glenn would have happened while fighting on Mindanao against the Morros. A brutal campaign to be sure. Atrocities committed by both sides. But then History isn’t taught in school anymore. This explains idiots like this Josh. Oh well.

  29. Totally agains renaming schools, roads etc. We should be talking about our history, not trying to bury it. Treatment of indigineous tribes and impacts by road construction should be part of the story. Not sure how renaming a roadway accomplishes that.

  30. We’ve had a homestead on the Glenn since forever and I wouldn’t mind naming it something else since it turns out Glenn was actually a monster. It’s not a big deal. Gesh.

  31. Get over it. Once they start renaming, they’ll never stop. Just call it AK3 or whatever the highway sign for it is. I’ll keep calling it the glenn, just like I still say Barrow and Mt McKinley.

  32. Growing up, the Glenn Highway name never bothered me. I never considered it was named after anyone. Maybe the thought flitted through my mind at one time that it was just a fancy spelling of ‘glen’ and let it go at that. Just like the Parks Highway had something to do with getting to Denali State Park.

    I was always proud of the name of my town Chugiak, as it really meant something and it reflected the heritage of the folks that originally passed through, as well as I was glad to know Eklutna retained its identity.

    I was initially astonished at the idea of changing the name of Glenn Highway, but if someone can come up with a catchy name easy to remember, means something that evokes its existence as a thoroughfare through moose country along a route that brings awe-inspiring beauty of nature alongside rivers, lakes, ocean shore, and breathtaking views of the mountain ranges along the inlet, I’m all for it.

    If we had to name it ‘after’ someone, I would propose ‘Sylvan Highway’ after Sylvia Jean, my sister who was born in the area a year after Statehood, grew up in the area, lived the life of a true Alaskan as a biologist for the Fish & Game, and University of Alaska Anchorage, volunteered with Anchorage Ski Patrol and Rescue, as well as many local activities which Alaskans are well-known, hiking, bushwhacking trails, skiing, skating, marathoning, folkdancing, glacier and climber of ‘other mountains besides Denali’ in the Brooks and Chugach Mountains. She died in 1988 ascending Mt M Baker, which had previously been known as St Agnes. She epitomizes the modern version of an Alaskan, although I don’t think she ran the iditarod as I recall. But, there are also many honorable leaders from Eklutna Village, Dena’ina heritage and Athabaskan ethnolinguistic cultural history. It’s time we try to find out more of our Alaskan historical greatness and do homage. Instead of token military honors for folks for whom ‘the ends justify the means’.

  33. I do not think debating the
    Pros and cons of this bill is the issue. The avalanche of woke renaming and statue destruction is extremely divisive.
    In this time of economic crisis, this bill is the best Zack Fields could offer? It appears he is out of touch with the economic realities facing Alaskans and could make better use of his time. No wonder the legislature runs into 2nd and 3rd sessions.

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