I recently wrote two obituaries that make reference to the City of Haines and Haines Borough. The City ceased to exist when the two governments unified in 2002.At that time, the old City boundaries— the airport, ferry terminal and Carr’s Cove— became the Townsite Service Area. No wonder it is confusing, and people still say the “City” when referring to the core of Haines. The Townsite Service Area has existed for over 20 years, yet I don’t believe anyone can claim a sentimental, historical, or cultural attachment to the name.

Most residents don’t even know what it is. I’d like the Assembly to return the Townsite Service Area to its original local name, Deishú. That does have significance to many, and it means something: Deishú roughly translates to “the beginning and the end of the road, eternal journey” in Tlingit.

Using the Townsite Service Area’s proper name would also link Haines to our sister communities of Juneau and Skagway in the region-wide Tlingit renaissance, exemplified in Crystal Worl’s formline design and Tlingit name on an Alaska Airlines jet. The Assembly is the Townsite Service Area board, and by code, service area boards decide their own names.

It’s very easy to make the switch. No addresses would be changed. Haines Borough would still be Haines Borough—this would simply make Deishú the name of the Townsite Service Area (using local experts to get the spelling correct, as mine may not be.) Please contact the Borough if you agree.

Heather Lende