You might have thought that recalling three Palmer City Council members last year would dampen the Democratic leftist, socialist ideology being pushed in some influential circles around the Mat-Su. But these four council members (including one who lost her reelection) were part of a much larger network of progressive influencers who coordinated through the private Facebook page, Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice.

The broad goal remains the same – take over influential boards and commissions, and strategical stack key non-profits with leftist allies. The end game is to fundamental change a small town in the heart of conservative Mat-Su.

But Palmer is just an incubator for what this coalition intends to do to the rest of the Valley. Many of them have long-standing connections to some of the most radical assembly members who are now ruining Anchorage, and they take pages from their official playbook. We must pay attention.

The foundational ideas guiding this leftist movement are inspired by critical race theory. The basic premise is that white-skinned people are born racists, who then consciously or unconsciously subjugate all others, while non-whites are revered, entitled, and deserving of reparations from historical grievances.

Several states have banned this teaching in public schools. But there’s a lot of money on the line.

President Biden and the last Democratic-led U.S. Congress heavily pushed this agenda with their trillion dollar spending bills. Some of that money came home to roost right here in Palmer.

Ever heard of the Mat-Su Health Foundation? Rasmussen Foundation? ROCK Mat-Su? Palmer Greater Chamber of Commerce? Chickaloon Tribe? They all push a progressive leftist ideology in the Mat-Su through grants, programs and events. This is done by empowering and amplifying agenda-driven non-profit foundations, charities, contractors and closed social media groups. They use the non-profit Palmer Museum of History and Art (PMHA), because history must be altered.  They have also enlisted failed Democrat U.S. Senatorial Candidate Pat Chesbro, along with numerous other progressive movers and shakers.

THE PLOT: Part 1

Remember the failed attempt last year to rename Palmer’s two premier community celebrations – Colony Days and Colony Christmas? Key leftist leaders and groups wanted to ditch the term “colony,” and replace it with the rebranded, “Braided River Festival” and “Hometown Holidays.”

Lisa Wade, who serves as vice chair of the Mat-Su Health Foundation, as well as the Health & Social Services Director for Chickaloon Village, supported a $15,000 grant to the Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce to rename both popular celebrations by dropping the term “colony,” which was deemed offensive and hurtful.

Screen capture of May 21, 2021, Facebook post on Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice’s page.

Who exactly was offended?

Let’s go back to the closed Facebook group, Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice (MSM4SJ), which organizes activists for left-leaning political initiatives in Palmer. Numerous posts from this group allege that the word colony “feels ick” (quoting Crystal Howard) and “hurtful” (courtesy of posting member Janel Gagnon). These criticisms surfaced on the MSM4SJ Facebook feed in May of 2021.

The membership of this closed Facebook group includes the three now recalled Palmer city council members, Sabrena Combs, Jill Valerius and Brian Daniels as well as the council member who lost her seat in October 2021, Julie Berberich.

Other members include board members and volunteers from the following entities: the Chamber of Commerce, The Palmer Arts Council and The Palmer Community Foundation.

The Palmer Museum of History & Art has a number of leaders associated with MSM4SJ. This includes former Executive Director Sam Dinges, President Mary Jo Parks, Treasurer Margaret Adsit, Director Pat Chesbro, and a lot of sub-committee members and volunteers.

Screen capture of June 10, 2021, Facebook post on Palmer Museum of History & Art.

The Mat-Su Health Foundation’s grant to rename Colony Days was intended to be gently introduced to the public in 2021, with the “full rebrand” slated for 2022.  The “slow rollout” started with a Facebook post on June 10, 2021 by the Palmer Museum of History & Art, which included this historical fiction:

“When thinking of Palmer’s history, it is unfortunately easy to believe the narrative that it began in 1935. That the Matanuska Colony Project came and cleared farms out of an empty wilderness … but the lands weren’t empty. The town of Palmer was built on the unceded territory of the Ahtna Athabascan people, whose story goes back thousands of years and continues to this day.  People came in 1935 and occupied land depopulated by violence and disease and displaced by colonizing forces.”  

The Palmer Museum made this statement without one shred of documented archeological proof.  None.

The next bit of “slow rollout” took place the following day, June 11, 2021, on the Palmer Museum grounds in the form of a quasi-religious land acknowledgment ceremony with speakers Sam Dinges and Lisa Wade. This was just before the start of Colony Days. Dinges spoke about how they were standing on traditional “unceded” native lands. That statement is a legal falsehood, but he continued on, saying they recognize that the word colony has hurtful connotations. He then mentioned the term “braided rivers.”

Lisa Wade followed by commenting on the open hearts and minds of the Palmer Chamber of Commerce, the very group the Mat-Su Health Foundation gave $15,000 to for the rebranding of Colony Days and Colony Christmas.

A few months later, after Palmer residents roundly rejected the name-change plan, Wade seemed to feel responsible for the fiasco. After those involved realized the residents of greater Palmer were not remotely amenable to a name change, Wade spoke at the March 26, 2022 chamber meeting where she apologized for everything the chamber endured, and said she would support any decision they made to change the name back.

Goal statement for the newly formed Palmer Coalition for Art and Culture.

THE PLOT – Part 2

The abysmal name-change failure was not the end of the story. The Palmer Museum of History & Art, which contracts with the city to run the town’s museum, was conspiring with the Palmer Chamber of Commerce, the Palmer Museum and the Palmer Arts Council (PAC) to form a new non-profit organization called The Palmer Coalition for Art and Culture (PCAC).  This new entity is difficult to pin down.  It’s impossible to find any information online, but I did get a copy of the group’s draft bylaws, as well as its vision statement – both of which came from Palmer Chamber of Commerce meetings.

The new group’s goal statement claims “Palmer needs a large Museum space to display and store the City’s historic artifacts.”  Further down the document notes an intention to “build an art and culture hub that will include an expanded and updated museum…”

I believe this group plans to exhibit and push a dark, altered history of Palmer in order to construe Mat-Su colonists as intruders who forced their way onto a land that had a “long history of excellent and sustainable land stewardship by the Deni’ina before the miners came, and before the New Deal colonists,” to quote Janel Gagnon from a Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice post.

A May 21, 2021, post from Janel Gagnon, which appeared in the Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice Facebook page.

I believe the new museum group will push the notion that white colonists occupied land which natives lost through violence, disease, and colonizing forces, and without one hint of paying for it. There will be little attention paid to the 1971 Alaska Native Lands Settlement Act.

With an altered history, systemic racism can gain a toehold and, in time, become accepted as actual history. In time, there will be buildings and complexes and lots of exhibits and programs addressing critical race theory in Palmer – paid for with grant money.

I recently sent a letter to every Palmer City Council member, the mayor, manager, and deputy mayor, warning about this plot to alter, shade and outright fabricate Palmer’s history. I highlighted the Palmer Museum of History & Art’s conflict of Interest, its failure to fulfill duties as required, and its breach of public trust.

I specifically noted my concerns that since the prior museum director Sam Dingles had resigned, the museum group had conveniently selected Amber Lindstrom to replace him.  Lindstrom served as a board member of the Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce throughout the entire colony name change fiasco.  Official chamber minutes list her comment as: “In for a wild ride next couple of months. Name change will test us.” A survey was done of those chamber board members in which the president openly stated that it was a unanimous decision to rename the festival. 


Recent events have stirred Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice back into action. They can’t afford to let all their plans be thwarted by a conservative city council trying to right the wrongs of the prior reign of leftist agitators. The hole is deep, the tangled plots numerous, but the 203 colony families who arrived in Palmer in 1935 to established and build an agricultural frontier town need our help to preserve their unique legacy.

The contract between the City of Palmer and the Palmer Museum of History & Art is on the Palmer City Council’s Feb. 28 agenda. This is just the beginning for us. Mayor Steve Carrington said it will be discussed at the meeting. Now is the chance to push back against this attempt to alter our history.


— Click here to contact the Palmer mayor and city council members.

— Click here for information on how to participate in the Feb. 28 city council meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at Palmer City Hall.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

OPINION: Mat-Su must resist organized leftist plot to rewrite its rich history

Jacquelyn Ivie Goforth
The author is highly active in Mat-Su politics and served as chairperson of the "Recall Palmer Three" campaign, which successfully recalled three left-leaning city council members in 2022. She is also an award winning fiction writer who now lives in Palmer with her husband and very spoiled pets.


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    If you take this article and look at the whole USA you’d see this everywhere. Look at the statues tgat we’re taken down. The writings on buildings. the constitution. All the thing our military fought for being destroyed by the few. We’ve fought, bleed and died for this country and it is our history. Be it good. bad or indifferent it’s our history. As it’s been said history repeats itself. Well. I see were getting to that point again if things don’t change and fast. The liberals want everything changes and it’s not for anyone’s good! Palmer, get a handle on this and fast. Look at Trapper Creek. a family from California moved into this little place and he works fir the state and she was the chair of the community counsel. She implemented her ideas and a peaceful nice little community has no peace anymore. This is how it starts. small outlined communities then closer to home,Palmer. Make good decisions and vet the people you vote for. know what their hidden agenda is before you put them in a seat. Look at the RINO from was it district 27? Did he get recalled? I didn’t hear the outcome other than he was to big of a coward to show up to the merting!

    • ML Moore says:

      Your spot on Neil. Regarding Californians, they are an infestation that has spread to Oregon, Washington, Montana, and is working it’s way here in Alaska. Your warnings are valid! Great comment!

  • Ruth Ewig says:

    Go for it, Mat-Su! We are proud that you recognize the dangers and expose them!
    These subtle moves by the leftists are “Marxists.” These anti-god movements are meant to bury the true history in order to replace it with their own version of the past. Then our children do not know how to be patriotic and proud of the community, etc. This is just as Marxists have done with slavery which the leftists history was changed to attack America’s Greatness. Brilliant Black economist Thomas Sowell wrote an essay titled: “Facts About Slavery Never Mentioned in School.” You can google this essay.
    These movements to alter history have been going on since before we were born. Read more at “Wallbuilders.” Get to know the true history of our country. We are following and appreciate your efforts here in Fairbanks.

    • Jackie Ivie Goforth says:

      You are so right! This also begs the questions:
      Who is going to be responsible for the artifacts as they are moved to storage at the “planned facility” that will be owned and operated by the Palmer Coalition of Art and Culture? – and – How soon before all the real history (pictures and letters and articles) will get “inadvertently misplaced” and never found again?

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Thank you for writing about this Ms. Goforth. You are absolutely right that we need to challenge the globalist attempt to rewrite our history. The world is waking up!
    “2.23.23: Prayers GROWING in many Universities, Trump shows TRUE leadership, Young Gen Z rising, PRAY”

  • Jennifer says:

    If you follow the money the entire social justice movement was fabricated and paid for by the CCP.

  • Ceak says:

    none of it even makes sense. They want to rewrite history, but to what end? Do they want to move back where their own family originated from? That’s impossible to even do, because of generations of people moving. Who was in Palmer before indigenous people? Should we replant all the trees and let the bears and moose have their land back? I mean it’s all nonsense at the point.

    While looking at homeschool options, I noticed a disclaimer at the bottom of Mat-Su Central School’s website, “Throughout the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (MSBSD), we are living in the ancestral territory of the Dena’ina and Ahtna Peoples, and we offer our respect to their elders past and present. Mat-Su Central School (MSC) is committed to honoring the land, culture, and language of the Alaskan Native people and all Indigenous people.” It goes on, but I just wonder who are they trying to convince and why it’s necessary to say these things.

    • Steve P Peterson says:

      It is ALL virtue signaling in order to make themselves look like they are more righteous than their slovenly and intolerant ancestors (who were probably 10 times better than their soy soaked selves will ever be).

    • Kathy L. says:

      The underlying thing is the destabilization of the country. As another comment mentioned, this is going on across the nation. To remove a country’s history so people no longer know who they are, where they came from and what happened. Then you can re-write history to whatever you want people to believe as the old generation dies out, statues and plaques are removed etc. leaving no reminders. Then it’s in perfect position for a “Great Re-Set.” They are preparing a different national anthem as we’ve seen in the last couple of Super Bowls. Probably have a new flag on the way too. Trashing our American Flag b/c it represents racism. So in Palmer, the Colonies have got to GO! Strong, determined people who worked with their hands to develop agriculture in the Mat-Su Valley before Alaska was even a state! But this is American pride…can’t have that!

  • Jennifer says:

    Alaska author Chantelle Pence wrote elegantly about the complexities of white people homesteading on Native occupied land in her Copper River Valley memoire Homestead Girl

    • Jackie Ivie Goforth says:

      The problem is – NOBODY in Palmer homesteaded on Native occupied land so I don’t understand your comment.

  • J Barry Stan says:

    500 years ago, is the earliest recognized human use of this area, that I’ve been able to find reference to.
    This really is the end of the pleistocene.
    “Modern Women in a Contemporary Society,”
    Social Feminist Theory.
    In our local political scene.
    It was all a Five Credit elective to a guy graduating from a school of management while
    women were making up Sixty Five percent of the Labor Force.
    I was assigned, Marx. smdh

  • Mary says:

    We want God in our country.

    • Mayo says:

      Where did he go?

      • Steve P Peterson says:

        Psalm 2:1-3- “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together
        against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains
        and throw off their shackles.”

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Wow great responses
    Stay diligent

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Coming back to this article. First, does anyone else feel that Mat-Su Health Foundation is into more things that it should be into? Second, I have heard of huge museums, such as The Smithsonian, that say that they are going to take artifacts of historical value for safekeeping. How many artifacts have never been seen again? I think that building a bigger museum is going to mean a lot of artifacts going into “safekeeping” to never be seen again and then when we go to reclaim the true history, it will be gone. A bigger museum is a dangerous thing these days. Lastly, notice how there are getting to be a lot of committees and “non-profit organizations” that want to take the reigns? Non-profits, as I have been seeing lately, are run by globalist groups with the intent of wiping out our history and us.
    I know of someone that knows the history of Mat-Su Valley and many other places around the state very well. Would be interesting to see what their political affiliation is because I know that their history record-keeping has been honest and true. I hope that if they are still alive and reading these things going on, that they speak out in preservation of the true history.

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      Yes it needs to be defunded

    • Jackie Ivie Goforth says:

      Well said!

    • Mary says:

      The president of MatSu Health Foundation is a past Asst Superintendent of Schools in Mat Su who was pushing hisiberal agenda years ago. Was he poorly veted or did the School Board choose him for his liberal ideology? We need to pay more attention to who we fill those local spots with. We need to do our own careful vetting. Exame:. How many on thiberal Anchorage Assembly came from California in the past ten years or less?

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Isn’t the president/CEO of the Mat-Su Health Foundation Elizabeth Ripley (
        Talk about that group, anyone read their mission statement? Always good to be aware.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Go check out the ROCK Mat-Su (listed at beginning of article) website. Look at the pre-workshop list (sound any alarms?):
    Workshop Materials

    Letter to Participants
    White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
    Diversity Training: Good for Business but Insufficient for Social Change
    Defining Racism
    Intro to Workshop Bag & Binder

  • Herman Nelson says:

    Chickaloon tribe..? They were a non-landed tribe from the lower 48 that moved up here and declared the Chickloon area as their tribal land. Then they started creating their own drivers licenses. They would come into Carrs in Palmer to write checks and use the license as ID. Those ID’s were rejected because they were not recognized. When pulled over by the troopers, they would get a ticket for whatever traffic violation along with another ticket for driving without a valid license. Somehow they managed to get federally recognized. They added a “police department”.
    The “police” got bolder, to the point of pulling over motorists on the highway and issuing tickets. I know someone who was pulled over by the “police” as they were on their way to Anchorage, the “officer” attempted to issue a ticket. The motorist got suspicious and questioned the “officer” to what department they worked for. “Chickaloon tribal police” was their answer. “You are out of your jurisdiction”, the motorist put the truck in drive and drove off.
    Give them an inch and they take a mile.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I am not sure about Chickaloon tribe’s “real history.” In researching US and BIA censuses, there are records of Alaskan natives (Indians) living in Chickaloon. I know some of the names listed in 1939 and earlier are same last names of some of the families living there now. I think that this tribe was there and are legit from the looks of the records.

  • Steve P Peterson says:

    Part (if not all) of the answer for this marxist take-over is revival in the churches which dot the landscape of Mat-Su and even Anchorage. When people seek God, great things happen, including renewed involvement in local government and resistance to satanic leftism. Pray for revival! But also, watch out for infiltration of churches and coopting of the message of salvation, because they are good at doing that too.

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      Steve please capitalise your comments! Why, because I wholeheartedly agree with you! It’s my way of turning up the volume of your message!
      A message for the church. WAKE UP!!!! YOU AND YOU AlONE have answers and observations that society desperately needs. GET TO WORK! RISK YOUR COMFORT! GO AND Make DISCIPLES!!!

  • Terry says:

    Thank you for bringing this to light We knew about The Colony Days/Christmas name change and a few other attempts but it really runs very deep all over the US AND the Matsu… Dark money throughout Alaska. What else are we missing? I also saw the Braided River Workshop series for CHILDREN which is CRT in disguise. The Palmer Library (Wasilla etc too?) has those porn-filled books disguised as children’s books too now thanks to these Socialists in our community pushing their evil agendas… And that’s just a small number of names involved in ruining this area/state, children, etc! Plus State Fair had their drag queen strip show this summer. Anchorage is long gone and it’s seeping into the Valley. What’s next? I hope the Matsu makes this more of a priority, gets louder, and regularly packs School Board, City Council, Borough meetings etc. We do need more involvement against the well-funded, evil “Democratic Socialists” trying to turn Alaska far-leftist. Thank you so much again, Mrs Goforth!

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I agree Terry! I have not seen much from Anchorage Republicans or other parties that are being affected by all of this and that is scary. I sure hope that the Mat-Su People spread themselves far and wide in this political arena and fight back on all sides. It cannot just be on one topic because the globalist are hitting us from many angles, so people need to be diverse and be involved in several issues at a time (wear several different hats). It is tiring, but it is the only way that we are going to win this fight for humanity.

  • Penny Johnson says:

    “You cannot make more than 3 comments per hour”. Please try again later.” I emailed the first 3 on the list. These are emails, NOT social media comments. What a load of anti-First Amendment crap! This ALL needs to STOP!
    61 year AK resident

  • Kathy L. says:

    Here’s what it says on the Arctic Winter Games (2024) web site: Acknowledging the Land:
    We would like to acknowledge that the 2024 Arctic Winter Games are taking place on the ancestral land of the Dena’ina’ and Ahtna Dene who have stewarded this area of Benteh and Nuutah for thousands of years. Our community thrives thanks to their continued sharing of vision, wisdom, values, and leadership. We offer our respect to their Elders past and present and to current Tribal leaders.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Sad that the Native leaders have sold out the Alaskan Natives and sold them a bill of goods that is mostly lies. The globalists sure got that figured out a long time ago how to win over the native population (and get rid of them at the same time through the jabs). I wonder how much of Alaska history is even true since we can now see that the globalists are rewriting our entire country’s history, state-by-state.

      • Blaine in Camelot says:

        Yes, Friend,you are right to question reality when your reality contradicts the reality of established defensible scientifically derived facts. You should question your reality. When your snow blower doesn’t start, do you check for fuel and spark or do you blame it on the godless liberal democrat communist socialist LBGT homo anchorage assembly?

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Blaine, when my snowblower does not start, I blame my spouse. Lol Interesting comparison to say the least.
        Funny how you are trying to convince me to question my reality and to second guess my beliefs. This is a very frequent tactic that the globalists and their minions (including you) use and it is easy to spot. Say what you will, but I believe in what I write and I have faith in my Father in Heaven.

  • Blaine in Camelot says:

    FoH. Indeed, DO question your beliefs! It’s the best way to develop character and establish a foundation of evidence-based reality. If you do so with an open heart and mind, you may conclude that god won’t fix your snowblower, you need the scientific method.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Blaine you really need to work on your word pictures and applications ! Seriously that was embarrassing

  • Blaine in Camelot says:

    My “word pictures and applications “? What the are you referring to?