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!