Aki and I walk a route through Downtown Juneau. Because it offers rich opportunities to check pee mail as well as good chances to grab a goody dropped by a tourist onto the sidewalk, it is one of the little dog’s favorite walks.
This morning we moved down Gold Street and then up Gastineau, passing the ruins of the old A.J. Mine. Forty years ago Aki would have seen many feral cats. They lived in the relatively warm mine tunnels and scavenged meals in Juneau Cold Storage. But that intuition burned down and parvo virus wiped out the cat population. Tourist shops and homeless have replaced them on the downtown streets of Juneau.
While climbing backup to Chicken Ridge, we stop to study the new statute of William Seward. While Secretary of State Seward engineered the purchase of Alaska from Russia. This mads him one our patron political saints. After the purchase, Seward visited the Alaska panhandle, including the Tlingit village of Saxman. The village residents feasted Seward and gave him valuable, hand made gifts. Unaware of Tlingit cultural rules, he never reciprocated with gifts of his own. After a reasonable time had passed, the Saxman people erected shaming totem pole with an unflattering effigy of Seward at the top. If Seward had satisfied his cultural obligation they would have lowered to pole. But, it stood like a public dunning notice until this summer when, after being attacked by carpenter ants, the section of the pole carved in Seward’s image had to be removed.