17 AUGUST 1978

Hopson Warning: Don’t Vote for Hickel

A warning to all my Alaskan friends: Democrats and Republicans, Indians, Eskimos and Aleuts, blacks and whites, Catholics and Protestants.

Recalling the last few days of the Hickel vs. Egan race in 1965 when Hickel won the election, he promised that, during the last week of the campaign, he would create an Office of Native Affairs for all the Natives and, as a direct result, he mustered an overwhelming support from the Native population. As everyone knows, he did not live up to that promise. As a matter of fact, as Governor, he did damned little for the native people.

He not only failed in this area but he also broke his promise to serve four years as Governor when he accepted an appointment as Secretary of Interior.

Ten years ago, in 1968, then-Governor Hickel created a national scandal by sending law enforcement agents to Bethel to stop the Kuskokwim Fish Coop from selling salmon directly to Japanese buyers at a higher price. Hickel wanted to force Bethel area fishermen to sell to Seattle middlemen at a lower price so they could resell the fish themselves to Japanese buyers at a higher price. Hickel behaved badly when he was Governor. The Kuskokwim Fish Coop Raid was just one reason why nobody in rural Alaska should give Hickel another chance to use his Governor ship to reach for federal power in Washington D.C. again.

Hickel also worked to lift Secretary Udall’s Federal Land Freeze, which protected our land until our Native Land Claims could be settled. When he suddenly quit his job as Governor to join Richard Nixon in Washington D.C. as Secretary of Interior, he tried to use his new job to defeat our land claims by again trying to lift the Federal land freeze. He tried to give our land to the oil industry to build the oil pipeline before the land claims were settled. Had Walter Hickel gotten his way, our Native land claims would never have been settled before resource development was begun on our land.

Using the State people as a stepping-stone to higher office is again taking place and, very frankly, because of such other treatment we received in international relations, I am personally getting tired of being the stepping-stone for someone who will repeat history by ignoring our rural problems after the man is elected. Think about it.