Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/06/2003 08:05 AM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HCR  5-LEGIS. TASK FORCE ON DESIGN OF STATE SEAL                                                                              
CHAIR MORGAN announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION  NO. 5, Establishing a  task force to                                                               
make  recommendations regarding  a  new design  for the  official                                                               
seal of the State of Alaska.                                                                                                    
Number 0070                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE REGGIE  JOULE, Alaska State  Legislature, speaking                                                               
as the  sponsor of  HCR 5, presented  a slide  presentation which                                                               
was accompanied by the following testimony:                                                                                     
     Slide 1:  The case for modernization.                                                                                    
     When it comes to symbols  of Alaska, none is older than                                                                    
     our official  seal.  A  question that arises  from that                                                                    
     fact is:  Is  it time to modernize our state  seal?   I                                                                    
     believe the answer is yes.                                                                                                 
     Slide 2:  Introduction to HCR 5                                                                                          
     The  vehicle for  modernizing the  seal is  HCR 5.   It                                                                    
     creates a  task force  of eight  citizens to  provide a                                                                    
     focal point  for public involvement in  designing a new                                                                    
     seal.    The  task  force   will  report  back  to  the                                                                    
     legislature and  the legislature  will make  a decision                                                                    
     whether  to  adopt  a new  design  and  commission  its                                                                    
     Slide 3:  Alaska's First Seal                                                                                            
     Most Alaskans  probably aren't aware  that the  seal in                                                                    
     use  today   is  the  second   one  to   represent  the                                                                    
     government  of Alaska.   In  1885, the  first appointed                                                                    
     governor of  Alaska, John Kincaid, designed  a seal for                                                                    
     the  military district  of  Alaska.   Kincaid's  design                                                                    
     depicted the  northern lights, icebergs, and  an Alaska                                                                    
     Native or two amongst other things.                                                                                        
     Slide 4:  District Seal                                                                                                  
     Here is  a slide  of that  first state  seal.   What we                                                                    
     would  probably  interpret  as   the  sunlight  is  the                                                                    
     northern lights.   You can see a fellow  with a harpoon                                                                    
     there on the bottom ... and  also an Alaska Native in a                                                                    
     kayak.  Now  this is the seal of  the military district                                                                    
     of Alaska.   It was in use for about  25 years.  Today,                                                                    
     the  only  place that  we're  aware  of where  the  ...                                                                    
     district seal still  is in use is on the  mantel of the                                                                    
     fireplace at the  Governor's mansion.    When the House                                                                    
     was  restored  in  the 1980's  the  district  seal  was                                                                    
     uncovered from under many, many layers of paint.                                                                           
     Slide 5:  Territorial Seal                                                                                               
     One of  the first men  to live in that  house, Governor                                                                    
     Walter Clark,  decided in 1910  that the  district seal                                                                    
     was  inappropriate for  several reasons,  including its                                                                    
     depiction  of  icebergs,  northern lights,  and  Alaska                                                                    
     Natives.  So  Clark hired a draftsman in  Juneau, a man                                                                    
     named William  Rugg, to  draw a  rough sketch  based on                                                                    
     his directions  to include more modern  developments in                                                                    
     Slide 6:  Official Seal of Alaska                                                                                        
     What we  see in this  slide is basically  what Governor                                                                    
     Clark sent  to Washington, D.C., for  approval in 1910.                                                                    
     The first Alaska  civil code of 1900  required that any                                                                    
     official acts  of the military district  be approved by                                                                    
     the Interior Department and the  Attorney General.  The                                                                    
     rough sketch  sent by Governor  Clark for the  new seal                                                                    
     was  approved by  Attorney General  Fowler on  July 25,                                                                    
     1910.    But sometime  between  then  and November  10,                                                                    
     1910, somebody in  the Interior Department commissioned                                                                    
     a more  refined drawing and  sent that back  to Alaska.                                                                    
     Governor Clark  then commissioned  an engraver  to cast                                                                    
     the  new seal;  it was  delivered to  the Secretary  of                                                                    
     Alaska February  25, 1911.   Two years later,  in 1913,                                                                    
     the  seal was  changed again  when the  word "district"                                                                    
     was changed to  "territory."   At  statehood, this seal                                                                    
     became the official state seal  and remains so today as                                                                    
     part of statute, AS 44.08.                                                                                                 
     Slide 7:  Elements of the seal                                                                                           
     Now I'd like to turn  to the individual elements of the                                                                    
     seal and why the  Governor [Clark] chose these symbols.                                                                    
     While   we    don't   have   any    extensive   written                                                                    
     documentation, there  was an  article that came  out in                                                                    
     April  1911   in  an  edition  of   the  "Alaska  Yukon                                                                    
     Magazine" which described the [new] seal in this way:                                                                      
     "The  Territory of  Alaska will  not  permit anyone  to                                                                    
     forget  that development  and  industrial progress  are                                                                    
     its  chief concern.   Not  even will  public documents,                                                                    
     bearing   the  signature   of  the   territorial  chief                                                                    
     executive,  be  permitted  longer  to  convey  ...  the                                                                    
     ancient conception of  the country as a  land of arctic                                                                    
     temperature  and   the  home  of  an   unique  race  of                                                                    
     "Governor  Walter [E.]  Clark  has had  prepared a  new                                                                    
     official  seal  for  the  territory  that  will  typify                                                                    
     modern Alaska,  as he  conceives it  ... The  center of                                                                    
     the seal  shows a range  of mountains in  the distance,                                                                    
     above which  appears the rising sun,  typifying in this                                                                    
     instance the dawn of the  commercial and industrial era                                                                    
     in Alaska.   In the  middle distance  on the left  is a                                                                    
     large ore mill  and a wharf, with a train  of ore carts                                                                    
     and a spur track leading toward the mill.                                                                                  
     "In  the   harbor  adjacent   is  a   large  steamship,                                                                    
     typifying commerce,  and in another part  of the harbor                                                                    
     is  a fishing  vessel,  representing one  of the  great                                                                    
     industries.   The  forests also  appear  in the  middle                                                                    
     distance on the left,  to represent the lumber industry                                                                    
     and resources, and  there is a harvest  scene to typify                                                                    
     agriculture.   Around  the  circumference  of the  seal                                                                    
     [are]  a  salmon [and]  a  fur  seal  in place  of  the                                                                    
     conventional   stars  that   are   employed  for   this                                                                    
     And  these were  the words  from that  article in  1911                                                                    
     that explained  why the official  seal of  Alaska looks                                                                    
     the way that it does today.                                                                                                
     Slide 8:  Why change the seal?                                                                                           
     Today, however, Alaska  is a far different  place.  And                                                                    
     that  brings us  to the  question, again:   Should  the                                                                    
     official seal of  the state be designed  to reflect the                                                                    
     changes of the last 93 years?                                                                                              
     Consider these facts:                                                                                                      
     In 1910,  Anchorage did not  exist.  Does  urban Alaska                                                                    
     deserve a place on the seal?                                                                                               
     Since  1910,  Alaska  has grown  and  outgrown  several                                                                    
     industries.   Does the oil  and gas industry  deserve a                                                                    
     place on  the seal,  perhaps in place  of the  fur seal                                                                    
     industry?     Are   the  horse   and   plow  the   best                                                                    
     representation of agriculture in Alaska?                                                                                   
     In  1910, the  population  of Alaska  was half  Native.                                                                    
     But  despite  that  fact, any  depiction  of  them  was                                                                    
     dropped from  the seal by  Governor Clark.  Can  we fix                                                                    
     that omission?                                                                                                             
     In 1885 and in 1910,  the idea of public involvement in                                                                    
     designing a  seal was  overlooked.   Public involvement                                                                    
     through  the Alaska  Legislature wouldn't  happen until                                                                    
     1913.   This  legislature  can fix  that oversight  and                                                                    
     provide  a valuable  learning experience  for residents                                                                    
     ... of all ages.                                                                                                           
     And last  but not least, HCR  5 asks us all  to use our                                                                    
     imaginations.  Governor Clark looked  out his window in                                                                    
     1910 and saw  a dream of Alaska in the  future.  Can we                                                                    
     do the same thing and  ask ourselves what might be some                                                                    
     of the symbols  that not only would  reflect the Alaska                                                                    
     of today but Alaska of 100 years from now.                                                                                 
     Slide 9:  Fish and Game logos                                                                                            
     I  will  conclude  this  slide  presentation  and  this                                                                    
     testimony with  a quick look  at some other  symbols in                                                                    
     use today - inside and outside Alaska.                                                                                     
     Here is the  logo of the Alaska Department  of Fish and                                                                    
     Game.  Actually,  this slide depicts the  logo that was                                                                    
     in use from 1962 until about 1977.                                                                                         
     Slide 10:  New logo                                                                                                      
     Then about  1977 or 78,  this black and white  logo was                                                                    
     developed  for Fish  and Game.   It  dropped the  totem                                                                    
     that was prominent in the first logo.                                                                                      
     Slide 11:  Current logo                                                                                                
     The design changed again in  2001.  It was altered, the                                                                    
     lines were changed and then they added color.                                                                              
     Slide 12:  H&SS logo                                                                                                     
     This slide  shows the  logo used  by the  Department of                                                                    
     Health  and Social  Services.   It was  commissioned by                                                                    
     the department  in the early 1990's  after an extensive                                                                    
     public involvement.                                                                                                        
     Slide 13:  Hawaii seal                                                                                                   
     Here's  an example  of another  state.  ... This  slide                                                                    
     shows the  great seal of Hawaii.   On the left  side is                                                                    
     an image of King Kamehameha.   On the right is an image                                                                    
     of Liberty holding  the Hawaii flag.  On  the bottom of                                                                    
     the seal  - in the  Native Hawaiian language -  are the                                                                    
     words:    "The  life  of the  land  is  perpetuated  in                                                                    
     righteousness."  This  seal was adopted at  the time of                                                                    
     Slide 14:  Montana                                                                                                       
     Here is the  seal of Montana.   Or  rather, this is the                                                                    
     latest version  of their seal.   It has been  changed a                                                                    
     dozen times since  territorial days.  The  last time it                                                                    
     was changed,  the engraver decided to  reverse the flow                                                                    
     of the  Missouri River  and the Great  Falls.   He also                                                                    
     changed  some trees  and reshaped  the  mountains.   He                                                                    
     obviously  didn't care  what  the legislature  thought;                                                                    
     and the legislature hasn't changed it since.                                                                               
     Slide 15:  Idaho                                                                                                         
     The next  one is  Idaho.   The State  of Idaho  has the                                                                    
     distinction of  having the only official  seal designed                                                                    
     by  a woman.    Shortly after  statehood  in 1890,  the                                                                    
     Idaho  legislature sponsored  a  contest  for the  best                                                                    
     design.   The winner  was a  young woman,  Emma Edwards                                                                    
     Green, who  was given $100  as a  prize.  More  than 60                                                                    
     years  later, in  1957, the  Idaho legislature  updated                                                                    
     the  seal  by  adding   symbols  of  the  state's  main                                                                    
     industries:  mining, agriculture, and forestry.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE said  that  the  aforementioned provides  a                                                               
background explaining  why HCR  5 was  introduced. He  noted that                                                               
there are probably certain things  [already included on the seal]                                                               
that should be  maintained.  Alaska has evolved over  the last 93                                                               
years and  Representative Joule  charged that  it's time  to show                                                               
[through the  state seal] how Alaska  has evolved as well  as the                                                               
state's vision for the future.                                                                                                  
Number 1161                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF related the following:   "The only way we can                                                               
know the  direction that we're  supposed to go and  the direction                                                               
we  should  go  in  the  future  is  by  remembering  our  past."                                                               
Representative  Wolf  expressed  concern with  changing  Alaska's                                                               
state seal because it is part of Alaska's history.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE surmised that some  of the components of the                                                               
[current  seal] would  remain [on  an  updated seal]  due to  the                                                               
heritage  aspect.   However,  there is  the  opportunity for  the                                                               
people of Alaska  to become engaged with Alaska's  vision for the                                                               
next 100 years.  He pointed out  that much of what is depicted on                                                               
the [current]  seal have come  to pass,  but there are  things in                                                               
which  it is  lacking such  as  [the depiction  of] aviation  and                                                               
Alaska Natives.   The aforementioned  was of concern for  some of                                                               
the  Alaska Natives  who attended  the  Tolerance Commission  and                                                               
ultimately   [changing    the   seal]   was   forwarded    as   a                                                               
Number 1496                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA recalled  her  time  in Washington,  D.C.,                                                               
with her family in the late 1970s.   She said that she spent most                                                               
of her  time in  the national archives  where she  found Alaska's                                                               
territorial  government  records.    Those  records  reflect  the                                                               
period of time, which she characterized as adversarial.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  agreed  that   both  seals  are  part  of                                                               
Alaska's history.  However, in  order to move forward the [state]                                                               
must  embrace the  stages it  has  passed through  and will  pass                                                               
Number 1648                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS  said, "I  support where you're  trying to                                                               
go,  Representative  Joule.   I  wholeheartedly  agree  that  the                                                               
history should be embodied in things  we put forward as a state."                                                               
However, he expressed concern with  the fiscal note.  He inquired                                                               
as to the  possibility of corporate sponsorship  or other options                                                               
for funding.   Representative Samuels offered to  give staff time                                                               
during the interim  [to work on this project] in  order to reduce                                                               
the cost.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE acknowledged  that  the fiscal  note was  a                                                               
concern  for him  as well.    Representative Joule  characterized                                                               
[this resolution] as  a work in progress for which  there will be                                                               
attempts to find partners [to share the cost].                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS offered his assistance.                                                                                  
Number 1800                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  said that this [discussion]  reminds him                                                               
of the  debate over  [HB 45]  which added a  second verse  to the                                                               
official state song.  He noted  that although he was a co-sponsor                                                               
of [HB  45] and  voted in  favor of its  passage, he  did believe                                                               
that the  representatives from the  Matanuska Susitna  Valley did                                                               
have some  meritorious arguments.   Representative  Anderson said                                                               
that there  is merit to bringing  in other elements to  the seal,                                                               
however he  cautioned that  one can  only speculate  so far.   He                                                               
inquired as to how many states  have changed their seal and added                                                               
indigenous peoples.  Representative  Anderson concluded by saying                                                               
that he wasn't opposed to changing the state seal.                                                                              
Number 2012                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KOOKESH  recalled  the  debate  over  adding  the                                                               
second verse to  the official state song and  noted his amazement                                                               
that   [the   legislature]   would    even   have   the   debate.                                                               
Representative Kookesh  related his belief that  subsistence, the                                                               
second verse  of the  official state  song, and  a change  in the                                                               
state seal  such that Alaska  Natives are depicted would  pass if                                                               
placed  before the  voters of  Alaska.    However,  these matters                                                               
have to  go through  the legislature,  which includes  people who                                                               
aren't very  sympathetic toward  Alaska Natives.   Representative                                                               
Kookesh  stressed that  he was  willing  to review  the seal  and                                                               
change it even if it  doesn't ultimately include an Alaska Native                                                               
depiction.  He also stressed the  need for people to realize that                                                               
no  matter what  else changes  in 100  years Alaska  Natives will                                                               
remain [in Alaska].                                                                                                             
CHAIR MORGAN expressed  interest in the depiction of  the rays of                                                               
northern  lights  being changed  to  represent  sun light,  which                                                               
every state has.   He pointed out that state  seals depict things                                                               
that are unique and different from the other states.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH turned to the  fiscal note and said he was                                                               
sure  that  the  First  Alaskans  Institute,  with  which  he  is                                                               
affiliated,  is willing  to participate  in order  to reduce  the                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
Number 2221                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE said that he  thought of going the [route of                                                               
garnering   support  to   do  this   project   form  the   Native                                                               
organizations.   However, in doing so  the contributions wouldn't                                                               
be  realized.   Therefore, he  felt  that the  discussion of  the                                                               
fiscal  note  was  necessary  when   forming  partnerships.    He                                                               
stressed  the need  for the  State of  Alaska to  be part  of the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS noted his  agreement that the state should                                                               
be part of this.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF requested  that if  HCR 5  passes, that  the                                                               
seal not  be divided  with corporate support.   He  indicated his                                                               
preference to  return to the territorial  seal of the state.   He                                                               
reiterated the need  to know where one has been  in order to move                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE agreed that Alaska  has a rich heritage that                                                               
should  be  continued and  illustrated  to  others via  the  seal                                                               
[along with the changes the state has seen].                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  mentioned that  Representative Kookesh's                                                               
comment that  Alaska Natives will  always be present  has brought                                                               
him to support [HCR 5].   Representative Anderson urged that some                                                               
Alaska  Native symbolism  be placed  on the  state seal,  if this                                                               
resolution is to pass.                                                                                                          
CHAIR  MORGAN   pointed  out  that   the  fiscal   note  analysis                                                               
erroneously  says that  "HCR  5 establishes  a  six member"  task                                                               
force; it should really refer to eight members.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE  agreed and informed the  committee that the                                                               
Alaska Humanities  Forum may not  be able to participate  in this                                                               
task  force and  thus  the  task force  may  become a  six-member                                                               
group.    He noted  that  as  the  resolution moves  through  the                                                               
process other players  may be considered to  participate with the                                                               
task force.                                                                                                                     
Number 2580                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  moved to report  HCR 5 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no  objection, HCR  5 was reported  from the                                                               
House Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                        

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