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

by

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.

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4 Responses to “Update: Good News From the Yukon, Sad News From Anchorage”

  1. booboodog Says:

    It sickened me when I heard about the beating in Anchorage. The only thing worse was the punishment these idiots got (or didn’t get). Add one more reason natives choose not to move to the cities. I know what I would choose and I am not even native.

  2. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    Prepare to open your heart to the depth of Eddie Barr’s soul. Writing Raven did an outstanding post on this situation in Anchorage – it was hard for me to read, and watch the video, but it’s so worth it and I’m so glad I did.

    http://alaskareal.blogspot.com/2009/08/native-man-wants-to-forgive-attackers.html

  3. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    Regarding the Anchorage Mayor’s override of Ordinance 64, which prevents discrimination based on sexual preference, here is the Mayor’s statement (pretty lame if you ask me):

    http://media.adn.com/smedia/2009/08/17/15/Assembly_ordinance_veto.source.prod_affiliate.7.pdf

    “My review shows that there is clearly a lack of quantifiable evidence necessitating this ordinance. My review also shows that the vast majority of those who communicated their position on the ordinance are in opposition.

    As elected officials, we are charged with reflecting the will of the community in our decisions, particularly in the absence of compelling data that would supersede that will. Therefore, I hereby veto AO2009-64(S-2) as amended.”

    The majority of those who communicated their position on the ordinance, Mr Mayor? Do you mean all of those people who bussed in from outlying areas to testify to their fear and loathing of people not just like them?

    We would like to see what information you based this statement on. Did your office record phone calls, faxes and letters? We aren’t really trusting your “views” right now because you give us no quantifiable evidence that you reviewed accurately or fairly. We would also like to know if the same weight was given to testifiers or correspondents who were not Anchorage residents? If not, we would like to know how you distinguished between Anchorage residents and non. Was there testimony and correspondence on this issue from non Alaskans, and if so, were those counted as legitimate contacts?

    The ADN is reporting that an override is unlikely. Whether or not that is true, I invite everyone reading this to send a quick email to the Mayor and Assembly if you have questions or statements on this. Even a one liner. Whether you are Alaskan or not. This is very much tied into the ongoing discrimination of our First People in Anchorage, which is the commercial hub of much or most of Bush Alaska. Bush Alaska supports Anchorage every day, but it doesn’t look mutual, does it?

    Mayor Sullivan: mayor@muni.org
    Anchorage Assembly group: wwmas@muni.org

    Letters to the Editors would be very effective, but at least take five minutes to send an email to the Mayor and Assembly. Thank you!

  4. Gramiam Says:

    Mr.Barr will be in my prayers and I wish him well. As for the other news, I am gratified to see that all our collective ranting has achieved some attention. Please keep telling us what we need to do to keep the pressure on, and we’ll keep the fires stoked to receive their feet!!

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