Interview with the Klawock Mayor [Part 2] - P.O.W. Report

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Interview with the Klawock Mayor [Part 2]

POW Report sat down with the new mayor of Klawock Don "Nick" Nickerson in a far ranging discussion on many different topics. You may read [Part 1 here].

What is your opinion on the PFD fiasco this year?

The Legislature violated the Constitution. The PFD belongs to the residents of Alaska and it doesn't belong to the legislature to do with what they want. They should have sat down with the governor and said, “Okay, let's take a look at our oil and taxes, should we implement a state tax?” The governor tried to take a big cut to balance the budget in one year and I feel the government should have looked at a three year plan and chipped away at that budget.

How many states have state income tax or sales tax?

I wouldn't mind paying a tax if it was going to benefit transportation and education. Why not? Look at the summer season, we have these tourists that come in by the thousands, if they paid a tax we could raise millions.

How about the Alaska Marine Highway?

This is Southeast Alaska we have a lot of small communities here. I was saying a while ago, federal highways in Southeast, Alaska and our tribes consider waterways “transportation” and these federal waterways belong under the United States Department of Agriculture. We had an MOA and we say, "we have to have mileage in our inventory that secures federal funding." So if all the tribes utilized their federal highway funds and asked the Federal government, "can we put these waterways in our inventory?" Let's say it's just 90 miles, we could add it to the inventory and work with the AMHS with this additional federal funding. Especially in towns like Angoon and Kake if we put them in the transportation program they could all have access and all that money that is sitting there could be used.

I worked with the chairman of the transportation department down here and he brought in 18 million dollars in 6 years. Hydaburg, Craig and Klawock tribes if they could get that inventory they could help the IFA from Hollis to Ketchikan.

On the political climate in our country:

Two months ago I was called racist because I made a comment when a Republican was bashing a Democrat on Facebook. The guy that was supporting the Republican called me a racist and I was floored.

Of course he was probably just venting because he didn’t like my opinion and I said, “why do we bash each other for being a Republican, Democrat or independent, we're all Americans? We all have to work together. We do not need to be bashing anyone."

The last thing I am is racist, there could be a Democrat or Republican living next to me and if they're screaming for help I’m going to go help them. I don’t divide people by Democrat or Republican because we're all human beings. This country is so divided by politics and media is propaganda. The media has divided this country into a “Corporate America” which is Washington DC.

“You know, the definition of racist? It’s me waking up thinking I’m better than you.”

I helped many people in this community with a lot, I would go out and get halibut and herring and make sure our elders and our widows are taken care of. I’ve raised a bunch of young men to do that as well, which they continue with because that's how I was raised.

I had a “Traditional Uncle” and my dad didn't teach me how to get food and live rich. He designated a friend of our family to be my traditional uncle. The reason why I say that is if you look at your dad or my dad, sometimes they don't have the patience to explain stuff to you. But a traditional uncle, takes it as their responsibility and he'll take the time to explain everything right down to a tee because the more you understand, the more you're going to eat and the more you're going to have.

So, I had a traditional uncle, raise me up—evolve—and I passed it on. I’ll give you an example; I had arthritis in my hip and had to have it cut out. Through July and August I was so worried about sockeye because my wife and I really live on our salmon. One day there was a knock on my back door…here I am using my walker to get back there and open up the door with three little guys standing there smiling.

They say, “Uncle we brought you your sockeye” and they're just so proud because the fish was clean—spotless! Little things like that help a lot in the community and the expressions and joy that people receive from these gifts is priceless.

On Elders and Life Wisdom

One of the first things I remember the “Old Timers” telling me growing up was, “sit down and pay attention…remember who you are and where you come from.” It may not sound like much but think about it…when you think about it, you're going to think about your mom and your dad and your grandma. You're going to think about your great grandfather, your great grandma and all the challenges they had to go through to get you where you are at today.

They also said to share stories, what did you learn from the stories? Stories is knowledge and that’s why knowledge is wealth.

One of the other things that I grew up being taught is to feel comfortable and to trust the person whenever you are speaking. I think they said that because a lot of things went wrong when they were kids. They lost their culture and their smoke houses were burned down. They always said be careful how you speak and make sure you trust, importantly, don’t tell people what they want to hear, let people know what you are best at and what you can do.

You can’t keep everybody happy but the people that are happy are the ones that agree with what you’re doing. Of course there will be a handful of people that are mad but it’s the majority that are happy. Also, it’s important to have respect, that was the only law our culture ever had, which was respect.

I was raised to show respect and I hope that the residents of Klawock are happy and respect that I will do my best for them as mayor of Klawock.

Share, like and subscribe to this site
Send a tip or a story or a classified or hatemail to
Support this site and make a small donation (and you'll receive the POW Court Report in an email)
Ads just 10$ a month

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.