Honoring the Alaska Territorial Guard

How a dream turned into a statue memorializing the service of the Alaska Territorial Guard
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Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 8:55 AM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - November is Native American Heritage month and Pete Peter, an Alaska Native veteran is proud to have served his country.

Peter, who served in the National Guard dreamt of a memorial to honor those that came before him and served the same state and nation he served. “In 2003, the State of Alaska recognized them and the federal government also recognized them.” said Peter.

The Alaska Territorial Guard was created in World War II and served as the protective force for the last frontier from 1942 to 1947. “Alaska was left with practically no defense, so the Alaska Natives stepped up to the plate,” said Peter. Honorary Brigadier General Marvin “Muktuk” Marston issued rifles and other weapons to the residents of the territory that answered the call of duty, many of whom were Alaska Natives.

In downtown Fairbanks, a statue in Veterans Memorial Park preserves the memory of their service. Peter says the statue is meant to remind younger generations of the service that protected the freedoms they enjoy today and who contributed to protecting those freedoms. “I felt we needed to do something about our veterans,” said Peter, who drew the original design for the statue.

After gathering support for the statue, Peter met with James Grant who redesigned the statue, incorporating some of the original features into his design. Collaborators then molded a wax model that was sent to Utah where the 5-foot-6, bronze statue was completed. However, some of the original design elements were eliminated in the creation of the original statue such as a pair of snowshoes.

8 statues were made in total, each located in the most populace locality for each region in the state.