Archive for August, 2009

Following up on the letter to Governor Parnell

August 31, 2009

Meeting anouncement

Meeting announcement

I wrote a letter to Governor Parnell and others.  Not only did I email it to many government officials but also to the media and posted it HERE on Anonymous Bloggers.

We were putting up the responses that we received and here is another one that I received from Mr. John Moller, Governor Parnell’s Rural Advisor:

Ms. Ann Strongheart:

First let me say how sorry I am to hear about your recent loss of your husband.  My thoughts and prayers go to you and your family.

If the below responses (from the Dept of Commerce) don’t fully answer your questions or you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to call me.  If I don’t have the answer, I will get it.  You’ve called me in the past on my cell phone so please feel free to continue.  Direct email is also another preferred means of communication for me.  If it takes awhile for me to respond, it is probably because I am in one of our rural communities.

With respect to your August 14, email I have attached responses from Mr. Black and Ms. Jollie that hopefully answers your questions.  These emails were in response to another Alaskan with similar questions as you.

Deputy Commissioner Black is the Chairman of the Rural Subcabinet Advisory Panel.  Directly below is an August 13, email response from Mr. Black to questions about the rural advisory panel:

1.      When has the advisory panel met? Are meeting minutes available?  We meet once a quarter beginning in March of this year.  Notes are taken and available if requested through Angelina Burney at the Commissioners Office

2.      Has the advisory panel held any public meetings?  The meeting is open to the public but no public announcements have been posted except at the day of the meeting in the Atwood building.

3.      How was the advisory panel selected? Did the State publish any announcements inviting Alaskans to apply to serve on this panel?  The advisory panel was selected from a list of names suggested by vario us rural organizations and vetted through the Commissioner’s Office and Governor’s Office.  There were no published announcements for candidates but each member was approached to ensure they wanted to participate and that they represented a diversity of backgrounds that the Commissioner thought was appropriate.

4.      Will the advisory panel be meeting with NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco? Also, do you know if the subcabinet will be meeting with Ms. Lubchenco? (Jon Katchen in the Department of Law might be able to answer the subcabinet portion of this question but he is currently on leave).  I do not believe that either the subcabinet or advisory group will be meeting with Ms. Lubchenco as a group.  I am not sure if individual members plan to meet with her.

5.      Are any of your advisory panel members involved with NOAA’s Community Development Quota program, or do any of your panel members have any other interests with NOAA? Yes we have members that represent CDQ programs.  Billie Charles of Emmonak is the Chair of the Yukon Delta Economic Development Corporation and Robin Samuelson is CEO of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation.  “

I have one correction to #5 of Mr. Blacks above response:  Billy Charles is no longer the Chairman of the Yukon Delta CDQ.

Tara Jollie is the Director of Department of Community and Regional Affairs.  I have attached two separate email responses from Ms. Jollie that hopefully answers your questions regarding fuel in communities.

The First:

Providing fuel is a private section function.  DCRA is not a fuel provider.  In many communities, for-profit businesses run the fuel service and do not want state government intervention in their private business.  In other communities fuel supplies are the responsibility of City or Tribal government.

DCRA helps these local entities develop their capacity to manage their businesses and/or government.  That is the role DCRA plays.

When requested, local capacity is developed through offering technical assistance to communities on accounting, rate setting, or management of utility facilities.  Financial technical assistance is offered via municipal budgeting, applying for state and federal shared revenue programs, applying for loans for purchasing bulk fuel, or to residents to apply for individual fuel assistance programs.  DCRA collects and publishes information on rural fuel challenges to inform communities, agencies, legislatures, and the public of fuel supply issues.  We also work with other state agencies, the Governor’s office, and Legislature on ways to address problems.

DCRA continues to work with rural communities as they request assistance.  The resources we have are limited, both in staffing and programs.  Fuel in rural Alaska is one of many programs that DCRA is charged with.  Others include Flood Assistance, Climate Change, Local Boundary Decisions, ANCSA Land Trust and land conveyances, and the administration of approximately $750 million in more than 2000 grants to individual rural entities,  $100 million in shared revenue programs, and assistance to communities in preparing for managing piped water/sewer projects.  DCRA has 60 staff in 7 regional offices to do this work.

We deal with more than 466 entities.  If you have specific communities that you are concerned about, please let me know so I can provide more specific information.


Tara Jollie, Director

Division of Community and Regional Affairs

Department of Commerce

And Second:

On Aug 13, 2009, at 3:54 PM, Jollie, Tara L (CED) wrote:

The Division of Community and Regional Affairs implemented the Fuel Watch initiative last spring.  Fuel Watch consists of three DCRA staff that coordinates the information between fuel providers, fuel buyers, loan programs, regional non profits, and communities that get their fuel via barge delivery.  We will use the information gathered via Fuel Watch to identify critical needs in remote communities.  It is our goal to mitigate fuel supply emergencies in remote  Alaska this winter.

Best Regards,

Tara Jollie, Director

Division of Community and Regional Affairs

Department of Commerce,

Community, and Economic Development


I am following up on getting minutes from the meetings. Some other things that really bug me about these answers are:

1.  The meeting is open to the public but no public announcements have been posted except at the day of the meeting in the Atwood building.

Unless I live in Anchorage  or have someone who lives there and is willing to go to the Atwood building every single day to see if there is a notice posted for a meeting that same day, there is no way for me to know that they are meeting.  Plus lets not even mention the fact that if I did have someone tell me the meeting was today I’d need to have several hundred dollars and pray that I could get a commercial flight to Anchorage that would actually make it there in time.  Well we know that wouldn’t happen so I’d have to spend thousands of dollars to charter a plane and again pray that I could make it to the meeting.

How is this going to work?  How do they justify that this some how makes it open to the public?  Don’t worry I have someone doing research on the laws and requirements of making this information open to the public and how they aren’t meeting the minimum notice requirements.

The meetings were held on the twelfth floor of the Acme ...oops Atwood Building...

The meetings were held on the twelfth floor of the Acme ...oops Atwood Building...

2.  The advisory panel was selected from a list of names suggested by various rural organizations and vetted through the Commissioner’s Office and Governor’s Office.  There were no published announcements for candidates but each member was approached to ensure they wanted to participate and that they represented a diversity of backgrounds that the Commissioner thought was appropriate.

I have seen the list of the rural sub-cabinet and if I remember correctly out of the 13 members only 6 were in fact rural Alaskans.   It seems like to me they picked people who they already liked or maybe who they knew wouldn’t put up much of a fight?  Not that I know many of the sub-cabinet members but I find it a little worrisome that neither Nick Tucker or I were approached.

3.  I am not even going to go into my thoughts on Ms. Jollies email and the DCRA information b/c I think if I had time I could go on and on for pages and pages about just what a run around I think that sounds like.

4.  Did anyone else besides me notice that Mr. Black and Ms. Jollie didn’t personally respond to me??  Obviously they must have discussed the letter if the emails were provided to Mr. Moller to give to me..right?   So is this still considered a response? or a run around blow off?  It’s not like they didn’t know how to reach me.  Maybe that is part of Mr. Mollers job to answer for them?  Seems like that would sure pull him away from rural issues if he is responsible for answering for them too?

Before this post gets any longer I am going to wrap it up.  Here is a response I got about the request I put in for the minutes of the meetings:

Ms. Strongheart:

Thank you for contacting the Department of Commerce Commissioner’s office.  At your request, we will mail copies of the notes taken from the quarterly advisory group meetings by the end of this week.

Thank you for your interest. Have a good day.


Angelina Estrada-Burney

Special Assistant

Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development

In loving memory of Segundo Strongheart

August 19, 2009

In loving memory of Segundo Strongheart

11-27-1970 to 8-18-2009

Doctors assured the family that if Segundo had been in the world’s most well-equipped hospital, the heart attack would have taken him.  It was just too severe.

We all extend our deepest condolences to Ann, Cecelia and the new little one who will never know her father. Thank you for helping us get to know Segundo through the pages of this blog. We will miss him.



Segundo was preceded in death by two brothers, Paul and John Jay Strongheart, and two previous unborn children. He is survived by his wife, Ann Strongheart, daughter Cecelia, his yet-to-be-born child, father Joseph “Peter” Strongheart, mother Mary Strongheart, brothers Francis and John C. Strongheart and sisters Elizabeth Strongheart, Lucy Strongheart, Mary Shorty, and Savanna Strongheart.

Funeral arrangements are underway and plans are being made to transport Segundo to Nunam Iqua. Victoria will travel with Ann to Nunam Iqua where the funeral will be held.


All of us at Anonymous Bloggers can’t thank Linda Kellen (Celtic Diva) enough for acting on Ann and Vic’s behalf and making all the arrangements with the funeral home in Anchorage. She also made phone calls and ran dozens of errands gathering items that would be needed for the funeral and things Ann and Vic will need as they empty the house in Nunam Iqua.  She is also sending fresh vegetables and herbs from her garden – you can see pictures on her blog.

It sounds like Segundo will get a large and loving send off.  On Ann and Vic’s list of things that needed to be shipped to Nunam Iqua was a request for enough paper and plastic ware to serve food to 500 people.

Thanks to Linda, Segundo arrived home in Nunam Iqua yesterday.

Many from the outside suggested sending Yup’ik totems along on the journey. Ann explained that for Yup’ik people it is more important that his spirit have the strength to make the journey. She suggested instead we keep him nourished while he traveled. After a Yup’ik person passes on, those left behind put a small piece of food in a crack in the floor or someplace outside each time they eat for the spirit to find.  Segundo found nourishment at many of our homes.

Update: Good News From the Yukon, Sad News From Anchorage

August 18, 2009

Aug 18, 2009

Last week we reported a few stories that seem like good news for our friends and neighbors in rural Alaska.

Governor Sean Parnell requested that U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke declare a disaster in the Yukon salmon fishery, a clear signal that he sees the signs of another winter fuel/food crisis and is getting in front of it. He also accepted stimulus money from the Federal government for weatherization that the former governor vetoed

The DOA Rural Tour stopped in Bethel and, although their visit was short, they left residents with hope that the Federal government is going to start paying attention to rural Alaska’s unique challenges.

There was also news that the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council voted at their annual meeting to urge Secretary Locke to invoke his emergency regulatory authority and order the pollock industry to reduce its annual bycatch to zero.

Followed by this good news from the Alaska Dispatch:

Yukon River group granted UN status

Josh Saul
Aug 16, 2009

Earlier this month, Jon Waterhouse, director of the Alaska region for the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, received an interesting e-mail from the United Nations.

The YRITWC is an organization dedicated to keeping the Yukon River clean enough to drink, and three years ago the group began seeking special consultative status to the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council.

The YRITWC succeeded and will now join the 3,284 other non-governmental associations that currently enjoy that consultative status.

“It’s one of the largest rivers in the world, and one of the cleanest,” said Waterhouse. “And we want to keep it that way.”

Native voices are speaking up and making a difference. Ann Strongheart and Nicholas Tucker took it to the national airwaves on Native America Calling recently. Ann’s voice is loud and clear here at Anonymous Bloggers and one of her recent posts was picked up by the Alaska Dispatch – Don’t blow us off in rural Alaska.

She has a radio interview scheduled today with Alaska National Public Radio.

Things are looking up for the future of rural residents and Native Alaskans who choose to live a traditional life off the grid, keeping their cultural traditions alive.

So we report this story with sadness.

Anchorage police seize 2 in racist attack posted on YouTube

By James Halpin | Anchorage Daily News

ANCHORAGE — With their video camera rolling, a young white couple threw eggs at an Alaska Native man and kicked him, slinging slurs in what appears to have been a racially motivated assault, police said Thursday. During the attack, the victim held his hand out trying to shake the hands of his aggressors, police said.

The assailants, who were arrested Thursday night, recorded the downtown assault in two short clips and posted them on the video-sharing site YouTube, where detectives downloaded them after getting a tip Aug. 5, police Lt. Dave Parker said. The only apparent motive for the attack was that the man was Native.

This is why Native People are unwilling to leave their villages and work on the slopes or live in urban cities. It’s cruel to expect them to adapt to Western life when their life is based on trusting, caring and sharing all with everyone.

There was another indication of how heartless life in the big city can be yesterday.

After days of testimony before the Anchorage Assembly, much of it from Evangelical Christians shipped in from hither and yon to deliver outrageous testimony opposing a ban against discrimination against gays in the city, the Anchorage Assembly voted 7-4 to oppose discrimination only to have the measure vetoed by Mayor Dan Sullivan. It will take eight votes to override the veto – we hope it happens.

Bravo Ann and Nick!!

We’re glad to see strong voices working to preserve a way of life that allows people to live and let live. Let’s hope the powers that be can restore the Yukon and the salmon will return in abundance allowing people to live along its banks for a thousand more years.

Anonymous Bloggers reaches 50,000 visitors

August 17, 2009

Aug 17, 2009

Anonymous Bloggers  has now received over 50,000 hits  which we find simply wonderful.

Let’s do the math.  AB has been up since January of this year.   January through August, aprox. 240 days,  or 5760 hours, divided by 50,000  equals 9.  On average, 9 people visit this website every hour!

Search terms which brought visitors to AB:

medicine cart with basin

truck abuse

earthworm casting collection and compost

cant see


huge pregnant belly

red toy dump truck for sale

lap people

we can see you

honey buckets yupik

boat towing car texas

whats this?

cut and come again cauliflower

lol pictures

dirty sink creatures

+tails +sad

cat sick from salmon

oh my god keiths feet. i cant breathe. s

cow like this suggest fish

i’m 6’1 does that mean i’m not going to

We had fun with these as you might, too!

*Update* Alaskan and Canadian First Nations and Tribes Along the Yukon Call For ZERO Salmon Bycatch

August 16, 2009


Aug 16, 2009

It’s too bad Commerce Secretary Gary Locke didn’t join the other Cabinet Secretaries when they visited bush Alaska as part of the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Tour. Residents could have explained to him in person a couple of recent requests he has received from Alaska.

The first request was from Governor Sean Parnell asking him to declare a fishing disaster along the Yukon. Everyone reading this blog knows this is a year overdue and we are very glad Governor Parnell is trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s crisis. Thank you  Governor Parnell!!

The second message is from the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) urging Secretary Locke to invoke his emergency regulatory authority and order the pollock industry to reduce its annual bycatch to ZERO!

At its annual meeting held recently at Lake Laberge in Canada’s Yukon Territory, the Council voted for a resolution asking Secretary Locke to stop the pollock industry’s wasteful practice of killing and throwing back Chinook/King Salmon that is snared in the trawl nets of huge floating pollock processing factories. Pollock is commonly used in fish sandwiches, fish sticks and imitation crab.

From the Whitehorse Daily Star:

Under current practice, when salmon are caught in the huge pollock trawler nets, the dead kings are counted and most are thrown back into the ocean, while some are donated to the needy.

“We do know for a fact that the pollock fishery is slaughtering wholesale and wiping out the king salmon stocks out there that are coming into all the major tributaries,” Nick Andrew Jr., executive director of the Ohagamuit Traditional Council in Alaska, told The Associated Press this month.

“The pollock fishery is taking away our way of living.”

YRITWC is an Indigenous grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of the Yukon River Watershed. Made up of 66 First Nations and Tribes from Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory, it is dedicated to protecting and preserving the river that for thousands of years has provided sustenance for those living along its banks.

This advocacy group also protects the river from numerous Alaskan, U.S. and Canadian agencies charged with regulation of the river.

The Roy and Lila Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University recognized this in 2005.

While at least eleven federal, state, and/or provincial agencies have some regulatory responsibility for managing the River and its watershed, no advocacy group existed that was singularly dedicated to the well-being of this watershed. Recognizing the need to preserve the River for the health of their communities, tribal nations, leaders and citizens along the River initiated the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC or “Council”). The YRITWC is the first organization solely dedicated to the responsible management, use, protection, and enhancement of this resource.

The Ash Institute recognizes part of the success of the programs has been its non-Western approach to its internal workings.

The Council maintains external effectiveness in part, because of the authenticity of its internal relations. Its operational procedures are grounded in traditions common to the membership. A previous attempt to use Western-style committees failed. The organization succeeds now because its guiding principles are culturally appropriate and explicitly based on the desired traits of an elder-modeling inclusiveness, listening, patience, knowledge, wisdom, and tenacity in all activities. These traditional norms and procedures help maintain the Council’s relevance to, and re-affirm its authority with, the citizens it serves.

This is the voice the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) should be listening to. Pandering to industry and special interest has led to deep mistrust and resentment of the NPFMC among citizens along the Yukon.

YRITWC is an organization formed solely for the wellbeing of the Yukon and its Peoples. It is important that Secretary Locke understands the importance of this request.

The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council has a mission:

We, the Indigenous Tribes/First Nations from the headwaters to the mouth of the Yukon River, having been placed here by our Creator, do hereby agree to initiate and continue the clean up and preservation of the Yukon River for the protection of our own and future generations of our Tribes/First Nations and for the continuation of our traditional Native way of life.

We join the Council in urging Secretary Locke to consider the request sent forward by the YRITWC concerning eliminating bycatch in Alaska’s pollock fishery.


Yukon River group granted UN status

Josh Saul
Aug 16, 2009

Earlier this month, Jon Waterhouse, director of the Alaska region for the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, received an interesting e-mail from the United Nations.

The YRITWC is an organization dedicated to keeping the Yukon River clean enough to drink, and three years ago the group began seeking special consultative status to the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council.

The YRITWC succeeded and will now join the 3,284 other non-governmental associations that currently enjoy that consultative status.

“It’s one of the largest rivers in the world, and one of the cleanest,” said Waterhouse. “And we want to keep it that way.”

Read the rest in Alaska Dispatch here.


The Natives are RESTLESS and NO ONE cares!

August 14, 2009

Dear Governor Parnell, Mr. Moller, Ms. Jollie and Others*

My name is Ann Strongheart.  I am from the village of Nunam Iqua on the Yukon Delta.  I am certain most of you already know who I am, if not I invite you to visit my blog to learn more about me.

Like Mr. Nicholas Tucker Sr., I have become an advocate of sorts for the people of bush Alaska.  After last winter’s crisis not only on the Yukon but also across bush Alaska I along with a group of wonderfully generous hardworking individuals have been trying to keep this winter from turning out like last year’s.

Although with another non existent salmon fishing season on the Yukon and winter fast approaching I am worried that this winter will in fact be worse than last winter.  I was happy to see that Governor Parnell made a disaster declaration for the Salmon Fisheries on the Yukon, although I fear that this will not be enough.

We at Anonymous Bloggers have been trying, in vain, to find out if the rural villages have enough fuel for the winter.  We have contacted, with little to no response, the Rural Advisory Panel and the Rural Sub cabinet and Rural Advisor Moller and the Attorney General and I could keep going and going with our attempts to get answers to the following questions:

Are the meetings for both the Advisory Panel and the Rural Sub cabinet open to the public? If so can we get a 1-800 so we might listen in?

Also, is it possible to get an agenda for both?

If we see something either on the agenda or missing from the agenda that concerns us is it possible to speak to the issue? If not who would we direct our concerns to?

As rural Alaskan citizens we have a number of concerns that are specific to our areas and are looking for a forum in which to have those issues addressed.

Those are just a few of the questions we have asked and had ignored.

I am curious about a few things, and I am hoping that SOMEONE that receives this email will help me learn.

Are rural Alaskans time and respect worth less than yours??  As rural Alaskans we take time out of our busy schedules trying to put away enough food for the winter to contact you all with our concerns.

Instead of prompt courteous responses we are either ignored or referred to someone else who in turn refers us to another and another.

Is this something that our Government officials take a special class on and learn how to placate their constituents?  It seems like to me that y’all figure if you ignore us enough or give us enough of a run around that maybe just maybe we’ll go away??

Are our concerns less important than urban Alaskans because it is so hard for us to make it into Anchorage or Juneau due to the cost of travel?  Does this make it easier to ignore our legitimate questions?

Is it your hope that eventually we will just all give up and move to Anchorage so y’all can take over the resources in rural Alaska ?

Let me assure you that will NEVER happen.  Alaskan Natives and Native Americans across not only Alaska but the entire United States are tired of being ignored, used, abused, discarded and manipulated!  We have been knocked down, and told what to do and not do for hundreds of years.  We, all Natives, are very proud people.  We may have been ignored and pushed around but no longer.  We are learning that we do have voices and that we can be not only heard but also listened to.  We will not give up what little land and resources we have now nor in the future.  We have already had too much taken away from us.  So don’t think that by placating and ignoring us that we’ll just give up.  We have just gotten started.  The “Natives” are restless and tired of being ignored and stepped on.

We have the same rights as every U.S. Citizen granted to us by the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence among others.  We won’t go quietly into the bush and continue to be ignored and taken advantage of.  I am quite certain that we, Native Alaskans and Native Americans, have earned more respect than we have been allotted by our Government Officials.   But what have you done to earn our respect?  I don’t think respect is earned by placating and ignoring someone, do you?

I know y’all are busy, but last time I checked everyone is.  I think our time is just as precious as yours.  I think if we can take the time out of subsistence fishing and gathering etc. to contact you that the least y’all could do would be to reply saying “I received your letter/call/etc. and I am busy but will respond to you when I can or forward your inquiry to someone who can respond.

At least take the time to blow us off properly by responding that you did in fact receive our letters rather than completely ignoring us.

It seems like the only way we, Alaskan Native and Rural Alaskans, can get your attention is to get the media involved.  We have to step up on our soap boxes and yell loud enough for y’all in Anchorage and Juneau to hear us.  Why in the world is it so hard for OUR elected and non elected officials, who are supposed to represent us, to address our questions?

So can anyone who received this email answer my questions?  At this point since the meeting is on Monday I’d even be happy to hear back from the Anchorage Daily News or the Alaska Dispatch, or any other media or individual since I doubt I will receive a response from any Government Officials.

Quyana Cakneq in advance for your time in reading and hopefully responding to this inquiry.

Ann Strongheart

(Attn:  Any MSM/newspapers whom are receipients of this letter have my permission to publish it.  Please feel to contact me if you have any questions)

*Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 2:30 PM
Cc: Annie Feidt; Art Nelson; beth skabar; Wesley ADN; Dennis Zaki –; Linda Biegel; Rep John Coghill; Cora Crome; Rep Nancy Dahlstrom; Sen Hollis French; Rep Carl Gatto; Karen Gillis; Rep Max Gruenberg; Rep Lindsey Holmes; TONY HOPFINGER; Kyle Hopkins; wesley loy; Rep Bob Lynn; Simon Mallory; Sen Lesil McGuire; Philip Munger; Harlan Native America Calling; Rep Jay Ramras; Neva Reece; Harley Sundown; Sen Gene Therriault; Nick Tucker; Sen Bill Wielechowski;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
Subject: The Natives are RESTLESS and NO ONE cares!

Note: I’m posting this for Ann because she’s spent much of her valuable time today rebooting her computer just to  get this letter out.

In Bethel, Ethan Berkowitz, a former state legislator who lost a bid for Congress last year, joined the meeting to push for $180 million in stimulus money to create the infrastructure for broadband Internet in rural Alaska. I second that!

Also, Ann neglected to mention that both she and Nick took time from their busy lives to be guests on nationally-aired Native America Calling on  public radio recently. John Moller was invited to participate and didn’t reply.

~ Jane


Warm-Heart smallEagle Warm Hearts Fund

Buy gift cards for residents of Eagle who lost everything including their survival gear in the Yukon breakup!

Big Ray’s  is offering a 20% discount to Eagle Village residents and distributing gift cards to those who need them most. Gift cards are $10 – increase the quantity to donate more.

Get the latest from Eagle here.


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Nicholas Tucker is in Bethel Waiting to Talk to Rural Tour About Bycatch

August 12, 2009


Aug 12, 2009

Waiting game: AVCP Regional Housing President Ron Hoffman tells a dissapointed crowd that the Obama team hasn’t left Anchorage — as of about 10 a.m. I’m told the meeting won’t begin until about noon, meaning the Bethel visit is going to be razor thin. — Kyle Hopkins

Kyle Hopkins of the Anchorage Daily news is in Bethel waiting for Senator Mark Begich and members of President Obama’s Rural Tour to make a stop there.

Foggy weather and a mechanical problem has delayed their arrival but the plane has now been fixed and they are on their way – officials in a smaller plane, staff in the repaired one.

Kyle sent this disappointing tweet:

ADN Village The Obama cabinet members probably won’t hit the stage here in Bethel until noon. Lot of disappointment. they’ll have to leave right away.

He’s written more about the atmosphere in Bethel on ADN’s Rural Blog including this important piece of information:

Nick Tucker, the Emmonak man who became a regional spokesman last winter during a food and fuel crisis, wants to talk to the secretaries about the lack king salmon fishing on the Yukon River.

You can follow tweets from the Rural Tour here and The Village Rural Blog here.

Kyle Hopkins is also posting updates on The Village.

Follow the Rural Tour on Twitter!

August 12, 2009

rural tour


Aug 12, 2009

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Governor Parnell to Feds: Send the Money!

August 11, 2009

Aug 11, 2009

Last week Alaska’s new Acting Governor, Sean Parnell, wrote to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke asking him to declare a fishery disaster for the Yukon.

Yesterday, after Alaska legislators voted to override ex-Gov. Sarah Palin’s veto of accepting stimulus funds for weatherization, Gov. Parnell sent off a letter to the Federal Government accepting the money.

Alaska lawmakers override Palin veto from AP:

Gov. Sean Parnell announced Monday he had sent a letter to the federal government saying the state will accept the federal stimulus money that Palin vetoed. Parnell said he wants to use the money to reduce energy costs for public facilities and to support ongoing programs.

Many thanks Governor Parnell!!

Valuable Lessons and Wise Words from Our Respected Elder Nicholas Tucker!

August 11, 2009

Nicholas Tucker, Yup'ik Elder, Emmonak, Alaska

Nicholas Tucker, Yup’ik Elder, Emmonak, Alaska

Aug 11, 2009

As many of you know,  Nick Tucker is one of Western Alaska’s respected Yup’ik Elders.

Recently he included me as a recipient of an email he sent to a Tribal Administrator.  It was a very heartfelt and honest letter about lessons that we should all learn and respect.  With his permission, we would like to share his letter with you.

*  *  *

Dear (Friend):

Look who’s writing! You have just touched a heart that is in pain. Thank you! I recall you as an infant being fed by your Mom.

I do not want you to have to go through what my generation, the many generations before us and your Mom and Dad had to endure us to stay alive from one year to the next. I do not want your cousins in here having to go through the same. How many more generations are we going to cry out. Will the generations of those who rule and make laws continue to be the generations of those for the last too hundred yearss, and for our State, the last 50 years?

Look at your dad. He is over 70 years old and is still struggling to feed his grandchildren, great grandchildren and your mother who is the same age as I am, failing some in health. At his age, your dad is resorting to work working many hours a day plus commercial fishing. He and your mom should be enjoying their senior years. But, the preventable, ever-existing high fuel prices, groceries and you name it prevent just have us keep going so that everyone else around us wouldn’t go hungry and cold. Yoiu know too well it got so bad this winter for many villages that great number of us had to choose between heating fuel or food on the table, and saddest of all, some without one or the other or both and, in case of food, some just one meal a day and some without days.

(Friend), remember us.  In our pain and struggles, we raised your generation. We had the best of hopes for you all while we had our own social problems that had been seeded and spawned from generations ago when the first non-Native stepped on our land. It could have been a beautiful, caring country – us having been accepted, trusted, respected, and honored – with our backyard resources generously shared with us. We did, but the recipients want more and more, and eventually all.

Your dad and I, as was with many generations well ahead of us, never held grudges, revolted, nor revenged no matter the treatment, but always wish well of our oppressors with kindness, care, and generosity – like our elders say, even if you only have a cup of tea, and, continue to treat them with open arms that we did  two hundred years ago. I want you, your children and grandchildren get education. We’ve always been strong, intelligent, and wise, particularly our culture precious with values and teachings. Take that for us for our next generations. But, keep your heads up, your whole generation. We will have been a forced to be reckoned with, because I think, many of us are beginning to turn to God, and we might just rule with justice, goodness, fairness, and generosity again, but educated.

Remember, Israelites were under oppression 400 years. The Pharaoh was given opportunity to work with God. He refused. Then from the lowliest of Israelites came Moses.

You are all from strong men and women. Know that. Your Dad, even barely able to see and having to use a magnifying glass to read, having been hospitalized number of times, and enduring much like rest of us, is telling you all who you really are. Young men and women of great strength. Tell your generation. My family is a family of veterans – we’re doing our part so those we leave behind will be free to treat each other as they feel. But, for your generation, look to ours. It is precious.

I’ve never talked this way to you. But, it is time to pass on some things. We’ve always shared and protected our resources. Now, they have been allowed to be squandered elsewhere, dishonored, and even in one case, literally thrown overboard while we cry for it.

Thank you so much for rising up.Please  look back at your ancestors and your elders today. Be patience, kind, generous, compassionate, caring, and sacrificing, but with one formidable tool: education. Use it with wisdom.  Make sure our future administration knows who you are. You equal to the rest of the esteemed citizens and do not have the right to be denied our country’s promised benefits and privileges. The generations ahead of you sat quietly in a cage, in a corner. Someone from the outside has opened the door. It is up to you all to walk out, men and women to be reckoned with -without revenge, without violence, and without ill-feelings, but with confidence that you can contribute in making our state better, even for former oppressors. Some didn’t know. Forgive them. Together, you will get the Alaska you want.