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
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.