claims at the grass roots:
1966 letters and village newsletters
Sept. 8, 1966
the passage of any more time than is necessary, I must write you.
As you can see, I am presently in Kiana visiting the Scheurchs
and doing a little hunting, fishing, and trinking (I won't way
which is taking up more time.)
CINA has mailed out a form letter desiring the attendance of various
association leaders at a meeting down there in October. Did you
receive one? (Oh, by the way, how is Calvin? Rhoda now knows about
her husband's namesake, but doesn't know if the Eskimo name is
the same. She was very pleased.) The hope it will convene in early
October--travel at our own expense. Do you think you'll be able
to make it? (A letter of invitation went to Jerome Trigg.)
have been enjoying the election results out in the toolies for
some time and am about ready to head back to work--whatever that
means in my business. For one thing, it means communicating to
you some of the responsibilities ahead of us.
Taalak has been very communicative and wants to work closely
together--the news items about merging don't mean in the near
future. However there's a lot we can do together. He called from
Barrow one evening concerned about what to do prior to the coming
election. His mind was on Rivers.
Soll also called from Anchorage--the airline strike kept him from
making it up to the meeting. He expressed a deep interest in working
with us--Rabinowitz was visiting him the time he called. He mentioned
that the matter of compensation could be worked out if we decided
to take him on. Sam will also send us some letters Herb wrote.
I also wrote Wm. Paul. Sr. but, of course, with no commitments--just
23rd and 24th I went to Noorvik, Selawik,
Kiana, Kivalina, and Pt. Hope--there is a going interest/in the
organization. We must keep it up. The musts before us, I see,
are the following: 1. Sending out the tapes, 2. Writing each a
letter about the last meeting, 3. Writing up the by-laws for amendment,
4. The referendum on the by-laws in the villages, 5. Election
of officers, 6. Collection of information on the land use. Other
matters are the October meeting in Anc., the natives' store-warehouse/which
I find each village interested in, ASCAP fund, politics, etc.
Foremost also is the Kotzebue lot situation
must be aware now that it is apparent that my winning the candidacy
for the democratic party will lend a great deal of legitimacy
to an already legitimate organization. We cannot fail the people
in attempting to create a strong, reasonable, and effective association.
We cannot forget our interested friends to the South of us--if
possible, in your travels, have some of the guys drop us a line.
In two years we really ought to have a going machine--provided
all goes well. It will be in the hands of those interested in
the welfare of the people, not in the lining of their own pockets
or the protection of special interests.
is the feeling among those you talk to about or winning the nomination?
From the trickle of gossip that comes up about it, most feel that
I'm a "radical" and will be a maverick in the House.
Guess they are not used to someone speaking out and sticking up
for what he believes in.
are you faring? What was your impressions of the news coverage
we received in the Nugget, Miner, Daily News, and T. Times? How
do the Nome people feel about our group? Have you spoken to Nagozruk?
I have written him a week ago requesting copies of association
bylaws--no answer to date.
Am in a quandary as to what to do next? I must get work.
the problem is where would be best? Fai or Otz. Need to go to
Fairbanks to do research on many subjects, talk to many people,
and work at the same time. On the other hand, Should I leave Kotzebue?
It may be that the leadership in Kotzebue could be strengthened
by our absence--they'd have responsibilities to carry through.
What do you think? Will you remain in Nome for the winter. (Stupid
that's how it stacks up. Have been impressed by your carrying
through of the last meeting ever since. More power to you--as
L.A. would say, not too fast though!
my regards to Mary and the kids and little Cal.
William L. Hensley
Alaskool - some items mentioning John Schaeffer:
Quoted in Smithsonian
article, August 1981
in Muktuk Marston's book Men of the Tundra
in early NANA meeting
Alaska Native Commission
by Willie Hensley:
Rights to Land Have the Alaska Natives?: The Primary Issue"
- May 1966
Testimony at pre-ANCSA hearings - October 1969
Speech - "Why the Natives of Alaska
Have a Land Claim" - November 1969
Speech - February, 1981
Founding and Formation of the Northwest Alaska Native Association"
- March, 2000