The mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough thinks the statue of Captain Cook, which stands at Resolution Park in Anchorage, would look fine in Kenai.
If Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is going to take down the statue of the famous explorer, Kenai Mayor Charlie Pierce says he will find a place for it.
“As Alaskans, we are strong, independent, and resilient,” he said today. “Eradicating history is not a good idea. Captain James Cook played a crucial role in Alaska’s State history, which we have been proud of over the years.
“A small but loud faction of people demanded the taking down of this statue in Anchorage, and their Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has the consideration ‘under review.'”
If the Anchorage Mayor wants to throw away history to appease the media and a small group of folks, please don’t throw this statue away. The Kenai Penisula Borough will take it. – Mayor Charlie Pierce
The explorer Captain Cook actually never made it to the site of where Anchorage sits today. And he wasn’t the first in the area; as far as anyone knows, a people who became the Dena’ina people had discovered it a thousand years or more before European explorers did. But the Europeans had to cross several oceans to get to what is now Alaska, and that took time and technology. The Dena’ina crossed on a land bridge from the adjacent continent.
Cook’s ship, the Resolution, arrived in what is now called outer Cook Inlet on his third voyage to the Pacific Ocean. A farmhand’s son from Yorkshire, England, he apprenticed on ships built to carry coal to ports along the English coast. When he was 26, he joined the Royal Navy and, due to a talent for math and science, was able to work his way up to captain. He surveyed the coast of Newfoundland and then commanded expeditions to the Pacific Ocean, finding the continent of Australia, as well as Tahiti, New Zealand, New Guinea, and other places unknown to Europeans.
He also explored Antarctica, and on his third voyage set north to find the Northwest Passage, which was thought to link the Pacific with the Atlantic Ocean. His best bet was Cook Inlet, but that turned out to be a dead end. Nevertheless, he and his men explored the entire area and his reputation lives on as the greatest explorer in world history.
A group of Anchorage progressives is asking the Municipality of Anchorage to remove Cook’s statue. It might be a polite request or it might be a threat; across the country historic statues are being removed, desecrated, and destroyed by rioters. Pierce said he’d like to have the statue of Captain Cook moved to Kenai, preferably before it’s desecrated in Anchorage.