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Alaska ‘slave auction’ fundraiser to be renamed

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska » Organizers of an annual charity event in an Alaska town will stop calling it a "slavery auction" after an NAACP complaint.

The event in Sitka involves people bidding on a few hours of a volunteer’s time. It’s part of the town’s Alaska Day festivities, which commemorate the state’s transfer of ownership from Russia to the U.S.

This year’s fundraiser happened Sunday. Anchorage NAACP President Wanda Laws says calling it a "slavery auction" is offensive and inappropriate.

Auction organizer Rita Ledbetter says officials are changing the name to the "Alaska Day Auction."

Alaska Days chairman Ted Allio says it’s been blown out of proportion. Allio noted Russians enslaved Natives living in Sitka before the U.S. purchased Alaska in 1887. But he says, "You don’t hear them yelling" about the name.

Sitka Tribe of Alaska general manager Lawrence SpottedBird says the old name wasn’t OK and people need to be more respectful.

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