Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 211
04/14/2009 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS
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|Confirmation Hearing for Joseph Schmidt as the Successor to the Alaska Lieutenant Governor.|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 14-ALASKAN MALAMUTE AS STATE DOG 9:10:26 AM CHAIR MENARD announced the consideration of HB 14. [CSHB 14(STA) was before the committee.] REPRESENTATIVE BERTA GARDNER, Alaska State Legislature, said HB 14 was brought to her by students of Polaris K-12 School. It was entirely their idea. "Everything in here was written by them or elicited by those kids." They did the sponsor statement, the request for hearing, and all of the testimony. She asked the students why they chose the Malamute as the state dog. They persuaded her with their answers. 9:12:21 AM CHAIR MENARD said she has been in the school system for a long time, and this group of students has articulated their position well. She loves the idea of having a state dog. Alaska is young and, doesn't have the traditions and "the symbolic things that I would like to see in our state." Some states have 180 different things on their calendar. About 20 percent of Alaska's population is in kindergarten through 12th grade. Students get excited about celebrating state dog day or Seward's Day. It stimulates history discussions with teachers. 9:14:45 AM PAIGE HILL, second grade, Polaris School, Anchorage, said her grandmother from North Carolina visited Ms. Hill when she was in kindergarten. Her grandmother went to her classroom and said North Carolina had a state dog. Ms. Hill then learned that Alaska didn't have one. This is where it all began. The teacher helped her students investigate how to get a state dog. After lots of discussion, the students narrowed the dog down to two types: husky and Malamute. They voted for the Alaska Malamute. It has been in Alaska for thousands of years and is one of the 12 ancient breeds. It is the only dog native to the United States. Two other classes joined her class in researching the Malamute. Once people understand this dog's history, they will realize it should be the official state dog. "Thank you for taking our bill seriously." CIARA BRADY, fourth grade, Polaris School, said some people feel that the Alaska husky should be the state dog, but all the students were convinced that it should be the Malamute. The Malamute was developed for a particular purpose. Arctic settlers as long ago as 5,000 years or more had heavy sleds loaded with supplies. Arctic explorers could travel for weeks on end. Malamutes helped during the gold rush. Throughout Alaska's history people have needed animals to help. "They got all that and more from the Alaska Malamute." They are smart, loyal, and work well with people. They were treated as part of the family, and often helped raise the children. Theoretically, today's Malamutes can do the same job as their ancestors. They continue to be the same amazing dogs. The Malamute represents the Alaskan character: proud, independent, and sometimes even stubborn. The Malamute is huge, just like Alaska. 9:19:05 AM SANNE CASSEE, second grade, Polaris School, said the Malamute is named after the Malamute tribe from the shores of Kotzebue Sound. Archeologists have found ancient bone and ivory carvings showing the Malamute from up to 20,000 years ago. Recent DNA analysis confirms that the Alaska Malamute is one of the oldest breeds of dogs. It is the only one out of 150 breeds that is native to the United States. The Alaska Malamute was used for pulling thousands of pounds and not as a racing dog. The Inuit used them for hunting seals and tracking polar bears. The Malamute was so widely respected that Eskimos who lived inland traveled to Kotzebue Sound to trade furs for the dogs. This is how the Alaska Malamute found its way to other regions of Alaska. Gold miners wanted big dogs to freight their supplies, and no other dog, no matter how big, could come close to the strength and ability of the Alaska Malamute. 9:21:59 AM MAEVE WILEY, third grade, Polaris School, said the Alaska Malamute babysat children while their Inuit parents were out hunting. This is one of the reasons they make good pets, unlike many other northern breeds. They are so gentle human babies snuggled up with puppies. This partnership was used for survival. Malamutes helped with hunting and hauling supplies between camps. They looked out for bears and guarded caribou herds. Russian and European explorers saw this amazing connection between the people and their dogs. Malamutes have affectionate dispositions. Early explorers often reported this superior type of dog. They were easy going and capable of an enormous amount of work. When Captain Cook was looking for a trading route, he was very impressed by the hard-working Malamute that got along with humans. Prospectors would pay $500 for one. Many dogs were being brought to Alaska during the gold rush. In an effort to make them bigger and stronger, miners crossed them with Malamutes. The breed was almost lost during that era, but a few enthusiasts did their best to save the breed. By 1908 dog racing was becoming popular. The Siberian husky was imported in 1908. In an effort to get faster dogs people continued to mix them. The concept of the Alaska husky emerged. Dog mushing with huskies is the official state sport. Huskies are already recognized by this, but the husky cannot match the long history of the Malamute. 9:26:30 AM RYAN TERRY, fifth grade, Polaris School, said long after the gold rush the Malamute was still valued for hauling freight. They were easy to care for and could carry heavy loads. They helped haul mail and bush supplies. Native and white Alaskans continued use them for travel, hunting, and mail delivery. When ships couldn't reach Alaska's harbors in winter, dog teams carried mail through 1,000 miles of Alaskan terrain in relays of 300 miles each. Malamutes were the Big Mac trucks of their day. During the 1925 serum run to Nome, about 150 sled dogs relayed diphtheria antitoxin 674 miles in a record-breaking 5.5 days, saving Nome from a terrible epidemic. In World War I, the Malamute was called into service by the French government. The Nome kennel club shipped 450 Alaska Malamutes, sleds, harnesses, and two tons of dried salmon to France where the dogs easily tackled the harsh conditions and moved troops that were cut off from mountain passes in far reaching outposts. The dogs pulled weapons across frozen ground. They served as search and rescue dogs and sniffed out mines. The military tried to use them as guard dogs but they failed that test because they just liked people too much to attack someone. 9:29:30 AM DUNCAN WRIGHT, fifth grade, Polaris School, asked people to set aside biases about their favorite breed of dog and consider the intent behind HB 14. The Alaska Malamute has been here for 5,000 years, representing the entire history of Alaska. It has been here since the first people arrived. They survived and thrived in one of the harshest environments on earth. The Malamute lived as part of their human family, helping to hunt, haul, and care for children. He read of Malamutes snuggling and sleeping with children to keep them warm and sometimes staying back to babysit the children when adults went to hunt. The Malamute went on to impress explorers, settlers, and miners. They participated in Arctic and Antarctic explorations, were heroes in the world wars, helped in the serum run, and hauled massive amounts of freight and mail to remote parts of Alaska. The Malamute has been involved in Alaska's history every step of the way. Huskies were bred by outsiders and came mostly from outside stock. Thank goodness that a few good people saved the Malamute breed. The legacy of the Alaska Malamute speaks for itself. 9:33:12 AM REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER said it tickled her when Representative Joule from Kotzebue said people in Bethel called him a Malamute, an ancient name of some of the Inuit people. So the term is still used. SENATOR PASKVAN moved to report HB 14 from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). There being no objection, the motion carried. REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER clarified that there is a CS from the House State Affairs committee. It capitalizes Malamute. SENATOR FRENCH moved to rescind the action to move HB 14 from committee. There was no objection. SENATOR PASKVAN moved to report CS for HB 14 from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). There being no objection, CSHB 14(STA) moved out of committee.