(Juneau Empire File)

Letter: Thankful to see the construction by local Native organiztions

Sitting in my living room listening to nails pounding into the old DEC building under renovation by the Tlingit Haida Central Council (CCTHITA) I want to acknowledge the investments Native organizations are making in Juneau and the benefits I see as a non-Native resident.

In this case, I don’t mean investment in the seasonal tourism industry or spectacular cultural enrichment.

I’m referring to remodeling of decrepit buildings, expansion of programs that create year-round jobs and increased access to healthcare for non-Native as well as Native residents.

I don’t know all the reasons for the surge in activity by CCTHITA, THRHA, SEARHC and SHI, and there are probably complexities and some controversies.

But I do know that when I see construction happening downtown that will serve Juneau residents, those organizations are often involved.

State government jobs continue to leave Juneau, but employment in Native nonprofits is increasing and I have non-Native and Native friends who have gotten good jobs with them.

I found it almost impossible to help low-income neighbors get a dentist appointment they could afford until the SEARHC Front Street Clinic began serving all Juneau residents with fees based on ability to pay.

The retired technocrat I am wants to say — I appreciate the contributions to solving our community challenges in affordable housing, economic diversification and healthcare.

The 60-year-old woman I am just wants to say — thanks!

Catherine Reardon