Metlakatla says 'You're not welcome' to candidate, but she responds with grace - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, January 25, 2022
HomePoliticsMetlakatla says ‘You’re not welcome’ to candidate, but she responds with grace

Metlakatla says ‘You’re not welcome’ to candidate, but she responds with grace

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Leslie Becker of Ketchikan went to Metlakatla to talk to a group of residents about her campaign for House. She is running for House District 36 against Rep. Daniel Ortiz, and went to the Native reserve upon the invitation of a Native veterans group.

But it was a bit of a set up. Before she even left Ketchikan, a protest by local Natives was organized at the ferry terminal, where protesters apparently thought Becker would embark to Metlakatka. Becker took a plane, however.

When Becker arrived at Alaska’s sole Indian reserve, a public broadcasting reporter was there to cover the meeting. And, of course, he had had his transportation arranged by the protesters.

It was a staged event for the public broadcasting audience.

This would be an October surprise for Becker, the former executive director of the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce and member of the school board. She is campaigning as a “champion for change and a more prosperous District 36.” Metlakatla is part of District 36, and is south of Ketchikan on Annette Island, with a population of about 1,500.

The protesters were upset with a prayer that Becker had written over a year ago. Becker is a practicing Christian.

They chanted: “You’re not welcome,’ at her when she entered the longhouse. They had a sign with them, “Re-elect Dan Ortiz.” Other signs had Becker’s name with a slash through it.

Some didn’t even want her in the longhouse, as they said it was sacred space. It was built in 1972 as a traditional Tsimshian-style longhouse.

But Becker was not to be discouraged. She was an invited guest of the Metlakatla Veterans Association. They had permission from the mayor, Reggie Atkinson, to use the longhouse. They wanted to hear from the candidate who traveled to see them — not many politicians make it to Metlakatla.

Public media reporter Eric Stone described prayers that Becker offered in the past as “offensive” and wrote she was met with jeers on Saturday.

The part of the prayer that the protesters did not like was when Becker had prayed to heal the alcoholism in the state, that “hearts will be lifted from alcoholism, drugs and despair.”

Stone also wrote, “Also notable: Becker came out against the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change in favor of a theory she called ‘climate variability’: decades-long cycles. She said repeatedly, ‘I don’t have a position on Pebble Mine,’ but said she supported mining in general.”

“The afternoon concluded with an apparently spontaneous performance from residents — a song written by Metlakatla resident Huk Tgini’itsga Xsgiik (Gavin Hudson) called ‘We Can Speak For Ourselves,” Stone wrote.

The entire protest was anything but spontaneous, and Stone had evidently been given advance playbook about what was going to occur, in addition to having his transportation arranged by the group.

Becker had gone to Metlakatla with tribal Elder Ken Pruitt and Joann Barsic, and was met by Dion Booth, who grew up in Metlakatla. She had been invited by Roy Brendible and Jeff Moran, tribal members. Also traveling was Dr. Steven Becker, Leslie Becker’s husband, who is an orthopedic surgeon in Ketchikan.

Whether the protests at the Ketchikan dock and in Metlakatla are related to the disappearance of most of her campaign signs in Ketchikan is something Becker could not answer. Over the weekend, many of her signs were missing. And she had 300 of them. “The stakes are in the ground but the signs are gone,” she said.

Although the heckling in Metlakatla was rude, it didn’t deter Becker from having a conversation with the people who came to the longhouse. One woman called her racist and asked her to apologize for her racist prayer. Becker did not apologize for her prayer.

“I am so grateful for the people of Metlakatla, such a proud and worthy community. They care. It’s important to recognize how deeply they care about their community and I care about Metlakatla too. I know we all want the same things — healing, hope, and economic opportunity,” Becker said. “I was very moved by the spirit of the people who I met with and their heart for their community.”

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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

  • What a classy Lady. As I ponder this story it seems that the actions of the activists are representative of how far the Democrats have moved to the left. Wasn’t that long ago when Oral Freeman a Democrat held the seat sought by Ms. Becker. Freeman a staunch supporter of limited or at least reasonable Government was the Father of the P fund. Today his party wants to eat his creation while Ms. Becker seeks to preserve it.
    BTW… the residents on the Island in question are imports from Canada, brought there by a Britisher. One named Duncan. Perhaps, given the proximity of this Island to Canada, we should merely give this place back to Canada and save the US taxpayers a bundle?

    • All the current residents are American born citizens. What ethnic background does your family come from? Maybe you should go back to that country?

      • Sondra, perhaps you missed the sarcastic tone in Older’s comments. Learn how this community was founded. The thumbnail sketch is that it’s origins spring from a theological dispute in Canada over the sacraments and canabalism. This story has much to do with whether a prayer was proper or not. Another theological schism? I thought leftist separated Church and State? How is it that a group of Utopian believers , lead by a foreign missionary get special status to own an island and exclude other US citizens?

        • You don’t know much about how sovereign land works do you?

          • Goat, Sovereign Land is generally recognized as a State which is not Dependent upon another State for it’s existence…

            The term also can include submerged lands.

            Perhaps you can expand upon your question?

    • Wow! Bold of you to comment such disgusting things without using your name. Shameful.

      • Please, dear Kyra, do tell what you found so “disgusting” about Older Than Alaska’s comments? Perhaps it is YOU who are shameful and disgusting for lacking respect for your elders?

  • So these protesters are in full-throated support of alcoholism, drugs and despair? Seems like strange things to support, but to each their own…it explains why we see so many problems with all three when people are actively supporting them.

    • God Bless our freedom to want what we want. Even to our detriment!

      • Hear hear!

    • What she said was ”mining and timber will bring natives jobs and their hearts will be lifted from alcoholism, drugs, and despair,” and when she was asked to apologize, she said no and read it aloud again. I guess in case they weren’t thoroughly offended. More selective cutting of a quote by Downing.

      • Ok, and you are opposed to native Alaskans having jobs and not being addicted to drugs and alcohol? You want native Alaskans to be in despair while addicted to drugs and alcohol?
        .
        Would having a job and not being addicted to drugs and alcohol be bad things in your mind?
        .
        Like I said earlier to each their own…

      • Why does the quote you provided and the one SONDRA KIRBY provided not match? The one SONDRA KIRBY provided said “so minds of our Alaska natives who have a wonderful opportunity to benefit from all of these resources. New jobs will come to their communities and hearts will be lifted from alcoholism, drugs and despair.”
        .
        One, or both of you don’t have the correct quote.

  • Class, and bravery. Two words not often associated with Alaskan politics.

  • I feel sorry for those people who said her prayer was racist. Obviously they are not thinking for themselves, since they have been tricked into thinking that prayer was racist in anyway. Apparently the Native folk who think the prayer is racist think that only Natives have problems with drugs and alcohol. Apparently they don’t know about the many people of other races who have drug/alcohol problems. They have been tricked into drinking the leftist koolaid.

    • My thoughts as well.

    • Hm. Did you read the prayer itself or are you taking this wildly out of context article as fact and running with it?

  • The part of the prayer that the protesters did not like was when Becker had prayed to heal the alcoholism in the state, that “hearts will be lifted from alcoholism, drugs and despair.”

    Rarely am I left speechless, but this takes the cake. To be against healing is unfathomable……….

  • They are being anti-white, seems to be a trend on the left.

  • “hearts will be lifted from alcoholism, drugs and despair”

    That’s bad??

    C’MON MAN…

  • A brave woman who gets ten feathers and six votes from our family. Eric Stone is the coward!

  • God bless you Leslie Becker for your strength and courage and God bless the good people of Metlakatla for having her. Of course the set up was in the making but she persevered and broke down a part of the barrier that kept what is good from entering the sacred Longhouse. This is not small stuff as courage under fire is well notice and given respect although differently in the Native American community. 29 years ago I was living on the Tulalip Reservation in Washington State and by the grace of God I began my journey into the world of sobriety. Hand in hand with my Native brothers and sisters. We one day at a time found life through God’s grace in not taking a drink. Fools like Stone who say one word about the healing or the damage that alcohol and drugs do to a small community shows that they are just mouthing worthless puppets to an agenda that does not prosper but a few chosen in the community. Follow the money.

    I commend you Leslie Becker, and your faith and dedication to community will be shown respect as people will see your walk is a true walk… This was shown in your prayer for those who suffer from substance abuse.. God bless you.

  • It’s nice when the Left reveals itself more than it exposes a supposed offense (she prayed for healing for Alaska). If the Left has learned to hate a person so much that nothing good can come from that person, that reveals not so much their object of hate, but their own heart.
    Here’s hoping some thinking Left folks realize this soon. “I may hate the orange man for reasons I can’t quite articulate, but I sure as hell don’t want my country to become Portland, Seattle, SanFran, etc even more. Thus, Trump can be the only answer. Not us much voting for personality now, just voting to preserve what we have.”

  • Can anyone say they are surprised by any of this? This is typical disingenuous conduct by the Left and their allies. The more important part is to recognize what is going on, and, if the spirit moves one, call out the thuggery and other nonsense. Kudos to MRAK. Now the task is to send a campaign contribution to Ms. Becker.

  • In the end, its all about free stuff paid for by others. Once anyone is conditioned to live on the dole it is very difficult to wean them off it. It is a world-wide burden upon those who produce.

  • Ortiz is a nice fellow who does a terrible job for his district. He may be the one fellow in the Capitol Building who actually believes what Edgmon says! In any event, Ketchikan needs much better representation and is very fortunate to have a great alternative. Over the coming 4 weeks, beginning right now, Ketchikan people have to work very hard to elect Leslie Becker.

  • Conservatives have to be tough in todays world and standing up for what is good and right has never been the easy road. Good for her for going forward.

  • What a trash article. Written by someone who wasn’t there, or knows the reasoning behind the protest.

    • I agree. People are clueless. And many of the people commenting on this article are showing their hate too.

      • Oh poor, poor little snowflake, how easily thy melt. Please, do take the time to educate us so we are not, as you say, clueless. Same for you Aerial Leask Leask.

        • I love it when conservatives call anybody advocating for their rights snowflakes. Seems to me like the clueless people commenting on this incredibly out of context article about how offended they are that people on sovereign land asked a politician to choose a less sacred location for her political intentions. Just because someone has a different view point than you they’re wrong? Yikes.

  • Here is an excerpt from the prayer .”.. so minds of our Alaska natives who have a wonderful opportunity to benefit from all of these resources. New jobs will come to their communities and hearts will be lifted from alcoholism, drugs and despair.” Seems to me she labeled Alaska Natives as alcoholics and drug users. Google Leslie Becker prayer offensive and you find it.

    • Why does the quote you provided and the one FOREST PARK provided not match? The one FOREST PARK provided said “mining and timber will bring natives jobs and their hearts will be lifted from alcoholism, drugs, and despair,”
      .
      One, or both of you don’t have the correct quote.

      • Look up the originally prayer that Becker posted on her blog and you will see that the quote Sondra replies is the correct one.

    • Well, a lot of them are alcoholics and drug abusers, apparently you can’t handle the truth like so many lefties in todays world. If you find that prayer offensive that’s your problem. Get help with your hatred, it’s making you come across as an ugly (inside) person.

      • Thank you.

      • Oops, your racism is showing.

        • Wouldn’t be great if “racism” had some kind of meaning again? Instead, it is now the go-to word when something doesn’t sit well with, yes, the Left.

  • And the real reason…?
    Enlighten us all, please. Attacking without evidence isn’t very becoming (even if common) on you.

    • Because she had already lost a majority of Metlakatla’s votes when her so called Prayer had been shared. So we tried to respectfully ask that she doesn’t use our Long House, a place of cultural significance, for her campaign. If she her party had agreed to move the location, there wouldn’t have been a protest! She has maybe 4 supporters here, she didn’t need to use our Long House.

      • Aerial, Thank you for helping us understand how you and your people (we) tried to respectfully ask her to not use the Long House because of a prayer she wrote over a year ago hoping for good things for your people and all of Alaska.

        I know, it was only a “so called prayer” to you. Odd, if it wasn’t a real prayer, then it possibly becomes more offensive. Or maybe you’re just chiding her because “her prayer” wasn’t a real prayer by your definition. That is my speculation.

        It’s also odd that your “respectfully” included, “…They chanted: “You’re not welcome,’ at her when she entered the longhouse. They had a sign with them, “Re-elect Dan Ortiz.” Other signs had Becker’s name with a slash through it.”

        Reporter, Eric Stone (arriving from Texas only a month ago), who arranged to get there, wrote that her prayers were offensive (so nice that he can speak for you) and that she was met with jeers.

        Yet, you have just informed us all that you “tried to respectfully ask …” Jeers?
        It is becoming more apparent why you think someone you have never met praying for the well being of your people and others at large a year ago could now be offensive.

        I hope soon you and others realize how you’re being played as incompetent children who cannot think or form opinions on your own, but instead must be told how to think and who to hate.

        THAT is offensive. But you haven’t realized it….yet!

        Sincerely, I hope you do. No one likes to find out they have been duped. But the sooner it happens, the better.

  • What happened to balanced journalism ? This sounds like a Becker fan describing the events to put poor pitiful her in the best light. If you want to be a politician you need to choose your words carefully. Don’t patronize people and take it personally when they want nothing to do with you.

    • What is so offensive about her wanting the native community to have healing? Get a thicker skin or move to NY where you’ll likely fit in with the woke snowflake crowd.

  • Alcoholism has plagued this state for generations. The horrors of this disease ravage each and every community. The disease does not discriminate. The effects in rural Alaska are profound.
    .
    Praying for lifting people from alcoholism, drugs and despair – framed in any of the supposed quotes so far – is not a bad thing – no matter what the nationality of those people. I’m a bit shocked that there are so many in Metlakatla that believe a kind hearted person is immediately “racist” for wanting good things for people. If Sol Atkinson, who I knew, had said the exact words, would he be labeled the same by the people protesting Becker?
    .
    In the 1980’s, the Anchorage Daily News did a special piece called “A People in Peril”. I still have a copy to this day. I don’t recall protests to the left media for shining a light on that despair in rural Alaska.
    .
    As a native Alaskan raised rurally, I’ve witnessed the alcoholism, drugs and despair that takes away life and hope. It has touched many throughout generations of my family as well as myself.
    .
    For people to be so hell bent on protesting any shred of goodness really reveals how far others will go to be hateful. For those so upset, I pray the grace shown by Ms. Becker rubs off on you a bit and you can practice a bit of the tolerance you so demand.

    • Well stated, Garnet. From the beginning statement of truth: “Alcoholism has plagued this state for generations” to “I pray…you can practice a bit of the tolerance you so demand.”
      Thank you for speaking out despite the hate you’ll receive for stating facts.

    • Thank you, Garnet.

      • Thank you El Hombre of the North, there is iron in your words.

        • Peace, my friend.

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