Time to take this thing to the next level…



PIP Tribal Council President Sophie opening boxes

Feb 25, 2009

Everyone, pat yourselves on the back!

Food is arriving in Nunam Iqua and Ugashik/Pilot Point and Ann and Victoria are doing an incredible job of getting it to the people who need it. We can’t thank them enough for what they are doing for their villages and also for bringing us an understanding of the bigger picture of the crisis!!

Ann takes her Aunt along to translate when she delivers food. She told me it’s very hard to explain to people that the food is coming from people all over the world who want to help them. These are people who can’t believe she is using her own gasoline to make deliveries. She doesn’t even try to explain the Internet and e-mail and how we even know about them.

Victoria reported this yesterday:

We got a good sized bag, with some True Value canvas type bags – THAT person goes to ‘bush heaven’ in my book :-) in it to help with distribution. We  got a bag of some type out to each of ‘truly needy’ as I think of the ones that I know have kids who are eating only at school, or adults who are looking REALLY frail and thin, elders I KNOW are helping their kids so much they are not eating right. I did a big pot of soup for the community center today and told everyone to try it out as it was a new recipe :-) It FLEW out of there. (during the day when kids are in school most adults will stop by sometime during the day.)

Cooking fuel in Ugashik and Pilot Point is still a problem. At $400 for a 100# cylinder, people can’t afford to buy it!

Both have been in touch with representatives from Samaritan’s Purse who will be sending boxes of food similar to the ones Sarah Palin delivered to Russian Mission and Marshall last week.

Ann has made personal contact with Alaska’s new Rural Advisor, Jon Moller, and is expecting him to visit Nunam Iqua in the near future.

Victoria has described the fishing industry in Bristol Bay. A “bad salmon run” is just the end of a series of events that have crippled the village fishermen’s ability to get their fish to market. In Ugashik and Pilot Point the fishermen have formed a co-op and they are working with the various villagers and others to start to find ways to secure markets for their fishermen.

We will soon be starting discussions seeking ways to start Native-based coops. I have put up pages challenging people to suggest ways to use flat rate boxes to send unique, Native produced goods to market. Also, a cold weather gardening page. Chime in!

If you have more ideas or would like to suggest a discussion topic and stick around to, moderate it, please let us know!

This is just the beginning…


11 Responses to “Time to take this thing to the next level…”

  1. kj Says:

    Out of adversity comes solidarity and triumph! Ann and Dennis Z and all the bloggers and photographers sharing their life stories with all of us have no idea how much they have done and continue to do to protect and project the idea and reality of Alaska, its physical beauty, its diversity, its challenges.

    When we in the “lower 48” have a bad hay year or loss of timber to fire or a wheat crop to drought or disease, nobody (who we’d have any respect for) says we should all pull up stakes and run to the nearest city from our small towns.

    Ann and everybody, keep up the good work. It takes just one match to foil the darkness in a room, small or large, and you guys are that match. As fascinating a soap opera as your governing entities are, you guys and your efforts and your stories are much more substantial and rewarding. You really do Alaska proud.

    Its too bad entire villages couldn’t be transported to Juneau for a week at a time for a little revolving R&R at the state B&B. I hear there is a dandy empty mansion there with hot and cold running water, electricity, heat, a tanning bed. Its just going to waste, and I’m sure the folks from Western AK villages wouldn’t mind the minor imperfections that seem to keep its current intended tenants from using it, especially if they just had to stay a week.

    I think it is supremely interesting that SP suggests folks from the outer villages may need to leave home and go to work in the city when she won’t leave home to go to work where her job is supposed to be located. Very interesting.

  2. the problem child (an aunt, also) Says:

    Thank you for the update, anoymousblogger! And thank you for the first, pithy comment, kj.

  3. Alaska Pi ∆ Says:

    We are in hopes of opening up discussions about viable options for villages to meet their own needs.
    There are folks who are looking at co-ops for buying to ship in and folks who are talking about co-ops within villages to pool talent and skills to make saleable goods to ship out- from fisheries to hard goods.
    There are folks who want to explore possibilities in raising food . People grow food in almost every climate on earth… What would work in Western Alaska?
    There are advocates of building the interties needed to transport goods around the state and Outside. We have a very spotty transportation system here… we need to work on tying the bits of road with bits of barge traffic with bits of rail with bits of ferry service…
    There are folks who want to look carefully at how mineral resources are developed and where the jobs related to that go…
    Lots of work…

  4. Jim Says:

    Villages know a lot more than we outsiders about their own needs. We can’t articulate any better solutions from our distant perspectives; human beings who live there, who are just like us, can rationalize their own solutions.

    I communicated with John Moller and suggested a concept I call “micro grant,” where ideas would be tried on smaller experimental scales before larger amounts of money get invested. Haven’t heard back yet, but we”ll try this concept on our own– if it works, it may provide a rational basis for a larger deployment and investment. Oppositely, if the idea fails, we’ll be happy we hadn’t wasted more money, and we’ll go back to the drawing board and try option B . . . we’ll know in a half year or so if our initial idea warrants further pursuit . . .

    I think the total “micro grant” budget will be 400 bucks or less. Hope it works!

  5. Alaska Pi ∆ Says:

    One of the biggest chores is to amplify the voices of our neighbors… they get drowned out too often.
    Micro grants… cool idea.
    Value added products… If folks manage a co-op fish processing plant… can Alaska provide a market for fertilizers made from fish waste?
    There is a village in Southeast which is trying a variety of methods to help small businesses gat going including a clothing manufacturing co-op- (in it’s infancy at this point)

  6. LiladyNY Says:


    Eliot Coleman and his wife, Barbara Damrosch, live in Harborside, ME. They have a nationally televised program on PBS. They have been gardening over 40 years and possibly could provide some positive information regarding raising food crops in your villages. While Maine is not Alaska, obviously, the growing season is just as short and some ideas could transplant there (no pun intended).


  7. Secret TalkerΔ Says:

    I know of Damrosch….what a great idea!

  8. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Secret Talker –

    Could you try to make contact?

    I just put up a page to start a discussion about cold weather gardening — maybe you could ask them to take a look and make suggestions.



  9. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    It warms my heart to see the picture of the boxes and Sophie, the Tribal President. You probably have no idea what you will find inside – I just hope we have all been listening well, and reading between the lines, so that we are sending truly useful items!

    Please tell Sophie that I hope she gets BURIED in little boxes! She’s about my size, and the size of my Aleut grandma. Short people rule the world!

  10. Greytdog Δ Says:

    Hi – in re to microgrants – I think a program similar to the microloans (SE Asia, Central Asia, Central/South America, and Caribbean (- often administered by World Bank – see Obama biography – his mom help set up and administer a microloan program in indonesia – world bank, wcc, and ucc have been doing this for decades) might be the way to go. This is literally “seed” money to grow small businesses, set up co-ops, etc. What needs to happen, IMO, is to look at how a microloan program is set up (protocols, etc) in comparison to a microgrant program in comparison to the SBA loans. Seems to me that a program needs to cut through red tape, not create it (as with the SBA loans), and my sense is that grants tend to be too easily manipulated for political or theo-political agendas. Microloans are administered strictly by viable & sustainable economic need – that is, who benefits? How far reaching are those benefits? Will this grow other economic means for people in the immediate area? In today’s world, sustainability has to be a key ingredient – any thoughts from folks in Alaska? What would work? I think any economic program must be created in full voice of the villagers who know what they need – who know what would work, etc

  11. Secret TalkerΔ Says:

    I will contact Damrosch ASAP

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