History of FNANewspaper Stories People and Elders

John Sackett

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John Sackett was born June 3, 1944 at spring camp, up the Huslia River, a tributary of the Koyukuk River. When he was six, he attended St. Mark's mission in Nenana for a year. Later he went to Sheldon Jackson High School in Sitka and graduated in 1963.

His first college year was at Ohio University. He graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1972 with a major in Business Admistration (Accounting) and a minor in Political Science.

In the mid-1960s he became involved with the Fairbanks Native Association and the Tanana Chiefs Conference. In 1966 when he was 21, he ran for the Alaska State House of Representatives. He is the youngest member ever elected to the Alaska State Legislature. He began an 18-year career in the House and Senate on all the Finance Committee and as a memeber of the Majority.

For ten years, he served as the chairman and co-chair of the Finance Committees. He was one of the most powerful members of the legislature. He accomplished much for his constituents and the entire state through the formation of infrastructure and social programs and he endowed the educational, social, and economic development of rural Alaska.

Senator Sackett also served as a president of Tanana Chiefs and in 1972 was the founding president and chairman of Doyon Ltd.

John Sackett spoke with Bernice Joseph on 13 December 1991 in offices at the Doyon building in Fairbanks. John has been involved in Native affairs and state politics since he was in his early 20s, and the discussion ranged from the history of the FNA to the rise of Native political power in Alaska.

This interview is housed on tape at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library, Oral History Collection, Tape H92-05-11

Background and Personal History
Fairbanks Native Association - vice president/ Huslia/ Koyukuk/ St. Mark's Mission/ Territory of Alaska/ education/ Sheldon Jackson High School/ Ohio University/ Athens, Ohio/ University of Alaska|

His involvement with the Fairbanks Native Association
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Fairbanks/ Fairbanks Native Association - history/ Perdue, Ralph/ Carlo, Poldine/ Carlo, William/ Cook Inlet Native Association/ Alaska Native Brotherhood/ Southeast Alaska/ politics/ social services - lack of/ discrimination/ amenities - lack of/ Mount Edgecumbe boarding school/ education - regional schools/ land issues/ Tanana Chiefs Conference/ outsiders/ hunting - regulations/ traplines|

His election to the Alaska State Legislature and efforts to help villages
Fairbanks/ University of Alaska - Native movement/ Tanana Chiefs Conference/ Fairbanks Native Association/ Alaska House of Representatives - election/ Hensley, Willie/ Legislative Finance Committee - chairman/ Alaska Senate/ oil - royalties and taxes/ Prudhoe Bay/ airports/ health facilities/ roads/ schools|

Revival of Tanana Chiefs Conference and formation of other Native organizations
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Ketzler, Al/ Perdue, Ralph/ Tanana/ Tanana Chiefs Conference - president/ St. Matthew's Episcopal Church - meetings/ Tanana Chiefs Conference - funding/ Tanana Chiefs Conference - barriers/ Doyon/ Fairbanks Native Association/ volunteers/ Tanana Chiefs Conference - employment/ Fairbanks/ Bureau of Indian Affairs - contracts/ bureaucracy - dangers of/ villages - needs|

Responsibility of Native corporations and state government to provide services
Native corporations/ shareholders/ services/ state government|

The role of Rampart Dam project in spurring the Native movement
Rampart Dam/ Gruening, Ernest/ hydropower/ Native movement|

How the Fairbanks Native Association potlatch encouraged Native pride
Fairbanks Native Association - potlatch/ culture - pride/ discrimination/ dance - Stick Dance/ church - oppression/ traditional beliefs/ Alaskan attitudes - changes|

Factors influencing Native political power
Juneau/ land claims settlement - economics/ social structures/ Native politics/ legislative representation - loss/ Tanana Chiefs Conference/ fishing - quotas/ Kuskokwim River/ Bristol Bay/ Yukon River/ False Pass/ salmon - reduction/ Hensley, Willie/ Ferguson, Frank/ education/ village - improvements|

Importance of avoiding complacency in Native affairs
elders/ complacency/ militancy/ Fairbanks Native Association - services/ Tanana Chiefs Conference - services|