By Melinda Munson

For the first time in Skagway history, Mayor Andrew Cremata acknowledged Skagway is on traditional Native Alaskan land before moving on to the Pledge of Allegiance at the May 20 assembly meeting.

“Let us start this assembly meeting by formally acknowledging that we are conducting business on the traditional land of the Chilkoot Tlingit people,” Cremata said. “We honor with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations.”

It was a special moment for Jaime Bricker, president of Skagway Traditional Council (STC), a sovereign tribal government located in the municipality of Skagway, representing approximately 65 enrolled members.

“It’s significant to me and I know I speak on behalf of the Skagway Traditional Council membership that it’s nice to receive that recognition, possibly for the first time ever,” Bricker said. “It speaks to the cooperation that I feel within the assembly and through the administration … It’s just the way that it should be. In the 17 years that I’ve been with the traditional council, it’s not the way that it has always been.”

Bricker said the statement was a team effort as the mayor conferred with STC for advice on how to word the acknowledgment. 

“What he came up with last night, I thought it was perfect,” Bricker said, a day after the historical acknowledgment.