National

Alaska Natives excluded from secret military intelligence program






Members of the Alaska Territorial Guard, an all-Native military unit. Undated photo from University of Alaska-Fairbanks

The U.S. military recruited nearly 90 agents to provide intelligence in the unlikely event of a Russian invasion of Alaska, the Associated Press reports.

Alaska's first inhabitants, however, were not allowed in the secret Air Force Office of Special Investigations program. A declassified document indicates some stereotyping and racism was at work.

"The selection of agents from the Eskimo, Indian and Aleut groups in the Territory should be avoided in view of their propensities to drink to excess and their fundamental indifference to constituted governments and political philosophies," the document stated. "It is pointed out that their prime concern is with survival and their allegiance would easily shift to any power in control."

Alaska Natives make up 14.7 percent of the state population, according to the U.S Census Bureau. Many served in World War II even though Alaska was not yet a state and more than 6,300 served in a special all-Native unit in the military known as the Alaska Territorial Guard.

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Fearing invasion, the U.S. once trained Alaskans as "stay-behind agents" (AP 9/1)