I like the idea of visiting a First Nations land. I am 25% Cherokee (my grandmother was full-blood) and understand the trauma and poverty that came with being a Native American. Hoonah is Tlingit territory and over the years it has really become a welcome destination. It has prospered and so have the Tlingits.
The walk along the harbor and into the town has to be one of the most beautiful walks in the world. We have traveled to many countries and walked many streets and paths, but the austere natural beauty of the bay is unmatchable. There was the clear water, the touchable clouds, the dark mountains, the Bald Eagles, Humpback whales, and crisp clean air.
We have been to Hoonah many times and each time there is more development. In town I stopped at the local grocery store to buy a drink. There was an old man sitting on the bench and I asked him if the store had WIFI. He did not know. But, he continued to talk to me about the old days before he became blind. It seemed important to him to continue talking with me.
Hoonah has a precious very old Russian Orthodox Church. As I walked into town, I thought that they had torn it down because I could not find it. While talking with Kenny, the blind man, a guy came up and asked Kenny if he needed a ride home. Kenny told him that he had just called a cab. I wondered who would have a cab company in a village of about two hundred people?
I asked the men about the Russian Orthodox Church? To my surprise, I was talking with the new Deacon who offered Kenny a ride. I did not get his name. The young man explained that his father had been the priest at the old church and he had come back home to restore it. How do these things happen? Here I am talking with the Deacon of the church I could not find.
He told me to keep walking and the church was behind trees that should be cut down. He said that he had finally obtained enough wood to fix the old church. Kenny asked him where he was living. He told us that he was living in the small green house overlooking the bay. It did not have water, electricity, air, or heat. I asked if he had a generator and he said he could not afford one.
After the young man left, Kenny turned to me and said, “People change. You wouldn’t believe his earlier life. He is a very kind man.”
Walking into Hoonah, I think I met two angels.
As always this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge
Post about Treadwell Mine is under construction. Coming soon!