Jan 26, 2009
I think we all have realized there’s a great divide between urban and rural Alaska, physically, culturally and politically. Sadly the urban dwellers resent the money rural Alaskans receive to subsidize the high cost of fuel and food outside the cities. We’ve seen it in negative comments toward rural Alaskans in blogs following this situation.
A reader sent a note that she called an oversimplified example of the real problem:
“It is the one-size-fits-all way Americans have come to run their affairs in terms of ideas. An oversimplified example is that we-cannot-afford-to-run-roads-there-so-why-don’t-you-people-just-move-near-a-road. Cementing connections between regionally sensible approaches (ferries, bits of road, barges, rail, air) to transportation gets talked about some but mostly gets shouted down by the one-sizers.“
I find it sad that people are expected to leave their native land and ancient customs and adapt to urban ways. Those who choose to leave the villages should be welcomed and given the opportunities all Americans enjoy but we should also support those who prefer remaining in their villages and keeping native traditions alive.
The Yupik people are struggling this winter because our urban ways have drawn them too far from their traditional ways of life. We must fight for the subsidies they need to survive this winter and beyond but also fight for government assistance to maintain the chosen tradition of subsistance living for those who are striving to keep their life skills alive. These skills, for the most part, are being lost but could be reintroduced via a school system that addresses local needs. It’s a long shot.
This could be a pilot program:
This is a a perfect world setting, a village within a wildlife refuge where resources haven’t been plundered as they have in other villages where over-hunting and over-fishing have taken their toll, but it might be an idea worth pursuing.