Our Man In Knik

Straight from the horses mouth:

DURING 73-74 WINTER WHILE SERVING ON THE IDITAROD TRAIL COMMITTEE I FIRST HEARD OF ONE TIM WHITE. HE TELEGRAPHED PROBLEMS CROSSING THE CANADIAN BORDER WITH HIS DOGS AND A SIDE OF BEEF. WE WERE HAPPY WHEN TIM MADE IT AS HE WAS OUR FIRST MUSHER FROM OUTSIDE ALASKA AND WITH LUCK OF THE DRAW WAS THE FIRST MUSHER OUT OF THE CHUTE. I CAUGHT UP WITH HIM AT THE FAREWELL CHECKPOINT WHICH IS SHOWN IN MY 74 RACE FILM WITH EVEN A SHORT VOICE-OVER.. HE WAS DOING WELL UNTIL HIT BY AN ERRING SNOW MACHINE.

AS FOR MY EARLIER YEARS IN 1944 ON MY 17TH BIRTHDAY I ENLISTED IN THE US NAVY SERVING IN THE PACIFIC INCLUDING MY INTRODUCTION TO ALASKA IN 1945 PREPARING FOR OUR INVASION OF JAPAN. WHEN OUR PRES, HARRY TRUMAN ORDERED THE USE OF THE BOMB OUR MISSION WAS CHANGED FROM ATTACK TO OCCUPY WHICH MOST LIKELY SAVED MY LIFE.

AFTER DISCHARGE I TOOK ADVANTAGED OF THE GI BILL AND BEGAN MY HIGHER EDUCATION IN PARIS.

ON THE SIDE I HAVE I HAVE HAD A GREAT LIFE AND RIGHT AT THE TOP IS MY RICH EXPERIENCES IN THE SLED DOG WORLD

Larry’s pivotal role in the settlement of Alaska Native Land Claims:

“After the injunction, the state came down hard on Stevens Village. They sent a representative to the village to say, “Look, we wanted to give you guys freezers and hire your kids but because you got this injunction, we can’t do that now.” The chief of Stevens, Gus Evan, relented. The next day’s Fairbanks Daily News-Miner headlines read, “Stevens Village Doesn’t Want the Injunction.”
Al was flying back in from Washington, D.C., but DeLois was at home when Tim Wallis, Ruby Tansy and others began calling her on the phone, upset. Larry Brayton, our press agent, was mad too because Al “hadn’t told him anything”.

That night after Al got home, the Ketzlers agreed, “Okay, Stevens is giving up but we’re not. The other villages and us, we’re standing. Our position was that we had an agreement with the oil companies, they broke it but–we’re still standing.”

The next morning, the Ketzlers met Larry, now working with SkyRiver Films, for breakfast, who wanted to know what was going on. After they informed him, Larry said, “I tell you what! We’ll go back into Stevens with our cameras and film them giving up! And, we’ll get all the other villages to go in too!” The Ketzlers began organizing. They called Beaver, “We’ll have a meeting with all the people, tell them what’s going on and ask them, ‘Is this what you really want?’” Sam Kito and Tim Wallis flew up the Koyukuk River to bring villagers into town. In Stevens, we told them, ‘TAPS wants to give you freezers and jobs but to protect the land, you have to hold their feet to the fire. Do not give them right-of-way.’” After all was said, Stevens kicked everyone out so they could talk in private. They voted to stay with the injunction. “That was very pivotal,” DeLois pointed out.

“However,” Al added, “on the way back from Stevens Village after dropping someone off at Beaver, the engine on our plane quit. Although no one was hurt, we had to spend the night on a mountain. Kito and Wallis flew over, saw our predicament, and dropped three sleeping bags out. However, there were four of us. Guess who was the one without a bag. It was colder than hell and I thought I might freeze to death!”

Al continued, “Kito and Wallis brought Bettles Chief Charlie Evans and the chief of Beaver in to meet with Chief Peter John of Minto, who was solid. There had to be a consensus among the villages to block the oil companies’ right-of-way. They took a vote and together, they stood against TAPS getting venue.”

After the injunction—particularly when the courts backed it up–things happened really fast. The delay was costing TAPS a lot of money which caused pressure to accelerate to resolve Alaska Native land claims.”

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