Tag Archives: juneau

Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

Alaska Native civil rights icon Elizabeth Peratrovich

Today Alaska celebrates the life and dedication of Elizabeth Peratrovich.

In 1945, the Anti-Discrimination Act came before the Alaska Territorial Senate. The bill had already passed the House, and Peratrovich was slated to testify on the bill’s behalf. The State Legislative Building was packed to the rafters, and the doors were left open so that those in the hallways could hear the proceedings.

A Juneau senator cemented his place in Alaska history with this question: “Who are these people, barely out of savagery, who want to associate with us whites, with 5,000 years of recorded civilization behind us?”

When Elizabeth Peratrovich testified, she responded with, “I would not have expected that I, who am barely out of savagery, would have to remind gentlemen with five thousand years of recorded civilization behind them, of our Bill of Rights.” She went on a passionate plea calling for equal treatment for Indigenous peoples in the state.

The bill passed the Senate 11-5 and was signed by Governor Gruening on February 16, 1945. Alaska was still a territory, and its Anti-Discrimination Act passed almost 20 years before the United States passed the Civil Rights Act.

Elizabeth Peratrovich mural in downtown Juneau

One and Done

After what was described as a successful inauguration of the Ironman Triathlon in Alaska, the governing body has cancelled plans to return to Alaska’s capital city. By all accounts Juneau put on a decent event, and athletes enjoyed the setting, but logistics were a problem. Bikes, in particular, were more difficult to get to Juneau than anticipated, although with the practice, I expect Alaska Airlines would be able to cut down on those issues, considering how many coolers of salmon and moose racks they transport with ease.

Admittedly, getting to Alaska isn’t exactly a cheap ticket, and once you get here, warm waters to swim in are pretty hard to come by, but I feel for the city of Juneau, because I know the effort Alaskan communities put in, to get an event like the Ironman.

I won’t even get started on Alaska’s attempt to get these two:

Full Circle Totem

The 360 degree totem pole in Juneau; Photo credit:Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon

The first 360 degree totem pole in Alaska was dedicated on Wednesday, June 8. The pole is 22′ tall, and 4′ wide at the base. It is between 7-8 feet across at the raven and eagle.

The totem was erected at the Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau, and is only the fourth of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. Carved out of a red cedar log, by Haida artist Sgwaayaans (TJ Young), his brother Gidaawaan (Joe Young) as well as several other carvers. The totem pole represents the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures.

Overdoing the mead…

… in downtown Juneau.

At least they took it outside.

Some summer numbers

Map credit: ACCAP/UAF/NOAA

Wildfires within Alaska burned less than half the usual acreage in 2020, which is not really a surprise with an unusually wet summer.

Fairbanks had its 12th warmest and 20th wettest summer in the past 90 years.

Anchorage saw its 23rd warmest and 28th wettest in the past 70 years.

Juneau had its 10th warmest and 15th wettest in the past 81 years.

The western coast of Alaska was just plain wet.

Bristol Bay had some very rough seas during the fishing season, but that didn’t keep them from setting a record year for sockeye salmon.

The Yukon River drainage had no salmon in 2020. No chums. No kings. Nada. The entire fishery was closed.

One bright spot was the amount of sea ice in the Chukchi Sea in August. It was the most we have seen in 15 years.

Denali National Park has already seen 6″ of the white stuff.

Fairbanks has already seen frost.

Ironman goes Alaskan

Docked at Auke Lake

For the first time, the Ironman Triathlon will be taking place in Alaska in August of 2022. The capital city of Juneau will host the event.

The 2.4 mile swim will take place in Auke Lake, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and finishing up with the 26.2 mile marathon.

Juneau does not have a road that is 112 miles long, but a course around Auke Bay has been planned by Ironman officials. The marathon will take place in the Mendenhall Valley.

The race often attracts 1500 athletes, along with their families and friends. Juneau is pretty excited about the event, and it’s a beautiful location to hold a triathlon.

Registration opens on August 16, 2021.

Raven Story

The USPS released the Raven Story forever stamp on Friday. The stamp was designed by Juneau artist Rico Lanáat’ Worl. Worl is the co-owner of, appropriately Trickster Company, which uses traditional Northwest Coast art in their designs.

The postal service gets tens of thousands of designs for their stamps, and Worl is the first Lingít artist to have his work featured on a stamp. A ceremony was held in Juneau to commemorate the release.

It’s quite the feat to try to tell the Raven’s story on such a small canvas, but Worl manages to catch the magic. In the story, the Raven steals the sun from a box to release to the world, aka The Trickster. On the stamp, the Raven is depicted as escaping through the smokehole in a long house, surrounded by stars, with the sun in its beak.

If you receive letters from me, expect the Trickster to be on the envelope.

Cruising the Inside Passage

An UnCruise ship looking to sail Alaskan waters in 2021

The cruise ship industry has been arguably the hardest hit industry in Alaska. 2020 saw no cruise ships dock at state ports, and 2021 is shaping up to see limited options.

One business based out of Seattle, Un-Cruise, will bring ships through the Inside Passage with passenger numbers of less than 100 people. They hope to have six ships sailing into the Alaska market, bringing some 6000 passengers to coastal communities like Juneau.

Due to the pandemic, Un-Cruise already had to reshuffle when a scheduled stop in Ketchikan was skipped due to a spike in the town of Covid-19 cases.

I’ve traveled the Inside Passage once, although not on a cruise. It is a remarkable experience, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. Personally, I can see the smaller cruise ships as being far more enjoyable for this experience than the large ones.

Guests leaving the UnCruise Legacy

The Passenger Service Vessels Act states that no foreign ship can carry passengers only between U.S. ports. Since the fleet of large cruise ships are foreign owned, a cruise ship from Seattle will stop at a Canadian port before getting to Alaska. With the pandemic, Canada has closed its ports to the large cruise ships, leaving Alaska high and dry. This situation left an opening for the smaller companies like Un-Cruise.

The United States Senate voted last week to temporarily bypass the act for the remainder of the 2021 season. That bill now goes to the U.S. House. If passed, it would allow some large cruise ships to return to Alaska ports this summer.

For an industry that really plans things out long in advance, I’m not sure how much of a boost this will be for Alaska’s coastal communities, although I imagine they are grateful for anything they can get at this point. There will be a scramble for employees and inventory if/when the bill passes. At any rate, it appears that some large cruise ships will be seen at Alaska ports in the second half of July.

Photos credit: Un-Cruise Adventures

A bear walks into a liquor store…

Roger Thibodeau posted this video of a bear walking into his Juneau liquor store around 8:30am Friday morning. I appreciate the bruin taking its time to make a decision at the candy rack: “Do I feel like a Kit-Kat, or am I hungry for a Snickers? I can be a real bear to be around when I’m hungry.”
Unfortunately, the bear was shooed off before he decided.

After leaving the liquor store, the bear wandered over to Harri Plumbing and Heating, next door.

Juneau Snowfall

Juneau gets snow

Juneau received 5.1″ of snow over the weekend. It’s a bit early for Alaska’s capital city, as November 3 is the average first day of measurable snow. What makes this snowfall notable, is that it is the first time since 1940, that Juneau received recordable snow before both Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Not to be left out, the coastal community of Haines, received a foot of fresh snow from the same system.