Clean hot and cold running water, flush toilets, hot showers? It’s “a lock” for some Alaskan citizens

by

Sep 21, 2009

Like other states, many of Alaska’s citizens live in modern cities with all the conveniences thereof.  However, hundreds of other families live a subsistence existence, unable to even get fresh water piped directly into their homes.  They also do not enjoy a waste water sewage system that carries human waste away from their homes.

In too many villages, the rural people use buckets to haul fresh water back to their homes from a single community spigot of treated water.  These same villagers will usually have some kind of community “sewage lagoon” or bunkers to which they haul from their homes their 5-gallon buckets of human waste and into which they dump the smelly, unhealthy contents.

Pediatric illness is higher among these residents who lack fresh, treated water piped into their homes and who lack the ordinary waste water and sewer services of much of the rest of Alaska.  In other words, living like that is bad for babies and other children and the rest of the families, as well.

However, in Alaska, one group of people is guaranteed certain basic, human, civil rights.  In their “quarters”, so to speak, lighting, ventilation and temperatures must be carefully maintained.  The law mandates, in each living space, they must be provided one sink with hot and cold running water and an adequate working toilet. Showers must be located nearby with water temperatures maintained at 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Under certain conditions, these people have access to free cable t.v. service, with one t.v. allowed in their “quarters”.  The law also guarantees them free computer usage under certain conditions as part of their education, employment or vocational training.

I’m sure you have figured this out:

According to state law, the Alaska Department of Corrections must meet certain levels of care for its incarcerated population.   http://tinyurl.com/mrvu89

Law-abiding rural Alaskans are not guaranteed these same rights.  The citizens of many Alaskan communities continue to use honey buckets in their homes, in lieu of waste water systems, and the contents must be laboriously hauled away to be dumped in “sewage lagoons”, etc.

Can you visualize the prison population being forced to do this?  Well, maybe not, because those primitive living conditions for state prisoners are AGAINST state law.

And, if a prisoner had to tote his own water from one spigot in the prison yard somewhere, back to his own cell, for his personal drinking and bathing, it would constitute cruel and unusual treatment. That, too, is against state law.

And, piped-in hot showers?  Well, of course, prisoners are guaranteed hot showers.  Absolutely.

How many Alaska prisons have leaky ceilings where rainwater drips down inside the cells? And how many of those residents suffer asthma and other breathing problems from mold due to bad ventilation and chronically wet interior conditions?  That, too, would never be tolerated with all the legal rights afforded the incarcerated in Alaska, but it’s happening today in who-knows-how-many rural homes.

If you are INCARCERATED in Alaska, substandard housing, honey buckets, hauling potable water home in buckets, and cold, damp, moldy living conditions are AGAINST THE LAW.

Something to think about…

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28 Responses to “Clean hot and cold running water, flush toilets, hot showers? It’s “a lock” for some Alaskan citizens”

  1. fromthediagonal Says:

    I am thinking… back… waaay back… to my childhood in post-war Northern Germany. Right on the edge of the North Sea, the winter of 1945-46 was an extremely cold and snowladen one. Bombed-out, we were evacuated to one room on a farm in a nearby village. By nightfall, bedded down on a straw mattress, still terribly cold, I would look at the walls covered with what I thought of as a beautiful fairyscape of glittering green and black frozen mold/mildew. Frostbitten hands and feet bandaged with ox-gall soaked strips of fabric so this 5 year old would not scratch and open the skin, I would eventually drift off. Water was carried in buckets, and so was the waste. I learned at a very early age not to spill anything…
    I feel kinship with all who live in today’s remote areas. My thoughts are with you. Your anger at the neglect of governmental departments to address the needs of subsistence communities is more than justified. The resources of the land which have sustained your lives are being reduced by outside commercial interests and it seems no one in position to do something about it gives a “dime”. ( I would use a stronger term, but I think it would get me banned).
    This does not only afflict Alaska’s outlying native areas, but also many of the reservations of the lower 48. While the climatological differences may be extreme in some instances, the suffering is as similar as it is pervasive.
    No politicians, no governmental departments want to do anything about this. There is too much power in the wrong hands…

  2. lizy Says:

    My question to you would be… WHY do you INSIST on living in substandard conditions when you have the choice to get out????

    Do you really expect the government to bail you out of a choice that you’ve MADE???

    MOVE dammit… i am guessing there are places in Alaska it is impossible to dig out and provide central water and plumbing… OTHERWISE wouldn’t it be in place already??? (ummm guessing the prisons are in CITIES that HAVE utilities, not in REMOTE villages)

    hell I could complain too… I live in FLORIDA, I don’t have any air conditioning, cable tv or an extensive library at my immediate disposal… I can’t get a free education either….

    Not defending the govt for providing that stuff for criminals… but… you DON”T have to stay where you are and you DON”T have to demand the government provide you with things you chose to live without in the first place….

  3. booboodog Says:

    lizy, this is for you. I can’t imagine you are an American. Are you? If you were, you might remember that we purchased Alaska from Russia, The people that inhabit Alaska are Americans. They are AMERICANS, living on land where their ancestors have lived for thousands of years. We moved on to their land, remember? Second, you are unbelievably uncaring for your fellow human beings. I’m too angry to go on, but I am glad I don’t live anywhere near you. And you should be glad, too.

  4. ManxMamma Says:

    Lizy,
    Educating yourself may help your viewpoint, although I doubt it. We are talking about a society – not individuals. This is their life. The government usurped their land and now owe them basic support. Additionally the changes made by recent governor’s has seriously harmed the substinence fishing these people are entitled to.

    Why do you bother posting here when it’s obvious you are not a regular reader?

  5. fawnskin mudpuppy Says:

    my question to you, lizy, is why you insist on insulting a culture different from your own.
    native peoples anywhere deserve the right to remain on their ancestral property…their descendents lived there long before the white man invaded.

    they, also, deserve the same benefits as those of you who chose to live in either urban or rural areas and have the rights to sanitation and utilities. i did not observe that you mentioned that you didn’t have these basic of human needs. and your goverment provides these for you, does it not?

    the rural alaskans should benefit from the knowledge that modern science has given us: the healthy maintence of a community demands the utilization of wastewater systems, etc.
    perhaps, you might revisit your comments.

  6. fromthediagonal Says:

    Yes, Lizy, I also live in Florida, and have since 1968. No a/c until 1984.
    But there is a huge difference: heat, lack of a/c, cable etc. do not kill you.
    Cold will! On short notice! Yes, those in the bush can, and possibly will, have to move, given Global Warming.
    The cold, hard fact is this: Indigenous Peoples in all continents have never been accorded their fair share of the wealth of what used to be their range. They do not reap rewards of the wealth of the soil, nor of the waters, which are exploited by international commercial interests. Not only that,these commercial endeavors are now threatening the subsistence fishing and hunting upon which their very existence relies.
    You admonition of Move Dammit is… I do not not know how to say it…
    If all of us were relying upon subsistence living, there would be no global warming. But maybe you doubt that also.

  7. elsie09 Says:

    “i am guessing there are places in Alaska it is impossible to dig out and provide central water and plumbing… OTHERWISE wouldn’t it be in place already???”

    What a hateful tone. Let me see if I can respond more kindly.

    Well, NO, digging out has absolutely NOTHING to do with ANYTHING. Hundreds of communities have fresh water and wastewater systems, but western Alaska and some of the other rural regions are still way behind in getting these amenities. Probably, the main reason is simply because the governing entities have gotten away with it.

    The villagers survived for thousands of years before they were ordered not to fish, both last season and this one, by an indifferent government, which deprives them not only of winter stockpiles of food, but they are also deprived of the means to sell surplus fish in order to get some cash to buy needed fuel and gasoline year-round..

    My question to you would be…
    WHY do you INSIST on living in a hurricane zone? MOVE, dammit…

    And, stop “GUESSING” about these good people. Try to educate yourself to actually learn and understand what is going on.

  8. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Lizy,

    “If you don’t like it, leave,” is not an option here.

    The people in Rural Alaska that we are advocating for didn’t just pick up and move to these remote villages a year or so ago and start demanding public utilities.

    They are First Americans who have lived on these lands for thousands of years. Their culture has evolved from age-old tradition and the spirits of their ancestors live on.

    Expecting them to leave all this behind is heartless and mean spirited.

    You may be happy in Florida where most cities are generic, if not, you can move to a generic city in another state. There will always be a WalMart within an hour or so’s drive, your brand of church and plenty of fast food chains.

    We want people to be able to remain in their ancestral homes, to create an environment young people want to return to and carry on the traditions. We want to keep these proud people from becoming Native in name only.

    You might be one of the people who just don’t get it.

  9. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    OK Lizy, me too!

    First, it’s obvious that you know nothing about these people and their culture. Most of the elders speak their own language, not ours. They do not use the Internet or email, and they have years long experience in gathering and preparing locally available subsistence foods. Their deepest traditions for survival and their society have been ingrained for over ten thousand years. Theirs stories are passed down verbally to others because they live close together, in small villages, and also interact with other villages for yearly potlatches and other gatherings.

    OK, so let’s move Grandmother Yup’ik to Anchorage. She doesn’t drive, she doesn’t speak the language. She can’t find her berries, salmon, seal or moose meat. She’s maybe living in what? What kind of housing would she be living in if she has no ability to earn a living in a cash based society? What is grandma going to cook for food? She doesn’t recognize most foods in the store, and can’t find the ones she has a lifetime of experience with. With her native foods mostly not within reach, how is Grandmother going to know which foods that are available will be able to meet her nutritional needs as substitutes?

    Who will she share her stories with, knowing that it would be impossible to transplant an entire village to a similar location where they remain close in living and working quarters? Her stories will be lost. Her language will be lost. Traditional knowledge of living from subsistence gathering will be lost, probably for good. Who will she share her knowledge of making crafts from local resources, such as grass and bark baskets, animal bones & teeth?

    How is Grandmother going to learn to ride the bus? And most importantly, will Grandmother be welcome in the closest city of Anchorage, which has a unpleasant history of bigotry, discrimination, harassment and violence toward Alaska Natives, especially if they are from the Bush and do not speak the local language?

    And if Grandmother is fortunate enough to have younger family members find room for her to live with them, how are the younger family members going to find enough full time work as village transplants to support themselves, their children, and their elders who all depend on them? Are they going to be able to find work? Will they be able to take the time and expense to go to school while supporting family young and old?

    Oh wait, I know! Just make all the younger villagers move into the city because they can adapt and learn, and given no choice, forced into living the white man’s life in the city. Just leave the elders out in the villages, they’ll eventually die off – problem solved!

    Another great plan – let’s move ’em all together and make sure that all of them are on social services for everything that they need since it will be years before they can even begin to become self sufficient in this environment.

    Yeah, Lizy – you’re a smart one. I see you’ve really thought this through. And, if you are the type to not think and just pop off comments without depth, find another blog.

  10. Bear Woman Says:

    Lizy is obviously a troll. They love popping off such uninformed, mean-spirited comments and then disappear laughing all the while.

    She is probably from the C4P land and thinks what she has done is hilarious….. Sad person that she is.

    She obviously has no “roots” to land, people, culture. If she did, she would have an inkling of why “just move” does not work. Of course, she does not do without true “basic” services such as clean water, sewage, and heat. Sorry, but you can open windows and use fans even in the most remote parts of Florida. All small towns even if only 60 people have those basic things provided by the state and federal governments. She may get blown out by a hurricane, but then the federal, state and city governments will come in and restore all services. She is another Floridian that has no concept of no roads in a vast sparsely populated land.

    Thank you From the Diagonal for speaking up and sharing your experiences and understanding of cold and being without.

  11. gramiam Says:

    Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:
    September 21, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    OK Lizy, me too!

    **************************************************************Well said, Martha!! You put things in a way that teaches us all something. Thank you for that. As for Lizy, your ignorance and bigotry are obvious. I have come to know a number of First People through this blog, and their grace, dignity, care for others before themselves and pride in their heritage are glorious to behold. They have valuable lessons to teach us about how traditions and shared knowledge have enabled them to adapt and survive in a hostile environment for thousands of years. If you turn up your nose at what they have to offer because they aren’t little clones of “us”, then you are totally missing the point, and that is very sad…….for you.

  12. fawnskin mudpuppy Says:

    well, i guess we got that off of our collected chests

  13. Jim Says:

    When global warming causes the sea level to rise and submerge Lizzy’s house in Florida I’ll tell her to just move dammit. Would she expect the government to bail her out for the choice she MADE? (she probably would). Or what if a hurricane levels her place? After all, she knew she was taking a risk. Why should my government or my insurance company pay for her choices?

    Florida has gotten plenty of help from the federal government. I don’t oppose that– I think it is good Florida has gotten help when needed. Too bad rural Alaska hasn’t been treated as well.

  14. elsie09 Says:

    Okay, getting back to my original point:
    It is AGAINST THE LAW to treat prisoners in Alaska the way the rural people are treated regarding hot-and-cold running water, flush toilets, no moldy cells, no leaking roofs, etc.

  15. booboodog Says:

    Thank you Martha and everyone else here. You said in a much better way what I was too angry to say earlier. I think this just goes to show exactly what Ann and the others are facing. It is an uphill battle for even the basic services the rest of us take for granted. You go Ann! We are with you.

  16. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    Elsie09,

    We did get a little sidetracked, didn’t we? Your post is great, and it’s a unique way to view Rural Alaska conditions when compared to living in a prison. I’m going to add something along that line very quickly – one of the most lovely buildings built in one of most visually stunning places in Alaska is the is the maximum security prison Spring Creek in Seward. It’s just weird about the priorities in this state!

  17. alaskapi Says:

    fawnskin mudpuppy said “well, i guess we got that off of our collected chests”
    ——————–
    not quite neighbor, not quite.

    elsie09, here, is making the point that the law requires basic services to incarcerated folks.
    No matter what or how any of us may feel about people in jail, the law requires we treat prisoners at what is considered a minimum level of decency… one we may NOT lower, or we will have become criminals ourselves.

    Our guest poster here , a few days ago, made some important points about the mission , UNDER LAW, of one of the outfits charged with providing services to the citizens of Alaska.
    In “Creating a new vision for housing in Alaska”
    Mr Jim Crawford reminded us
    “Today, AHFC proudly proclaims its dividends to Alaska. About $1.5 billion in profits have been diverted from housing to state overhead since 1986. While thousands of Alaskans, urban and rural, live in squalor, AHFC’s mission goes unmet. AHFC celebrated $35 million in profits last year.

    AHFC’s mission is “To provide Alaskans access to safe, quality, affordable housing.” Not another dime should be diverted to government overhead until the death traps and fire hazards are gone from Alaska’s housing. About 4,000 homes, all tinderboxes, are just waiting for a match. Bad housing kills people every year.”

    He says, further , that “The Legislature should examine AHFC’s mission. It may be time for a new mission for AHFC. A mission that includes housing solutions defined in dollars, days and contracts to completion: a mission with a strategic plan that eradicates unsafe housing statewide. That might be a mission worthy of our $1.7 billion capital investment in AHFC.”

    Now, Lizy-
    It is the JOB , the WORK of our government , through legislation and administration, to provide for the common welfare, amongst other things. It is the WORK of OUR government. Period.

    We make mistakes and hire a lot of nincompoops, at times, to write laws and we get ourselves off on tangents about who ought to do what in the relationship, but in the end, the polity- the group, has business-politics, to conduct and we hire folks to conduct that business for us.

    We spend too dadgum much time trying to remind some of our Legs and Admins what THEIR mission is , at times, cuz they, far too often, get out of touch with our everyday concerns… and we get pretty down on the notion of our public business.

    However disenchanted we get , your goofball notion that rural Alaskans “… really expect the government to bail you out of a choice that you’ve MADE??? ” is really a slap in the face to fundamental notions of contract entered into by government and the governed in this country in relation to one of the stated purposes of our arrangement- providing for the common welfare.
    And never forget, neighbor- to the extent we consent to be governed, our government is required to serve us…

    The IDEA that what rural Alaskans are asking for is a bailout is horsepunky. They are asking for regional, sensible solutions to basic needs which have been ignored by our state- in contravention of our state’s mandated purpose- our STATE’S BUSINESS-IT’S JOB! Things more urban Alaskans already have…things which are their due.

    Your notion of “choice” is so off base as to be laughable. Lots of folks who DO have the means to make a choice HAVE moved. Many others have stayed because of their perceived responsibility to extended families who cannot move- a choice of sacrifice to the greater good .

    For far too many, the REAL measures of REAL “choice”- clear, OBTAINABLE options, means and method to attain, etc -are simply non existent.

    Your idea is old, you know… pops up everytime some group of folks raises heck with the status quo over sorting out what their place is at our common table. The status quo runs around yammering about special interests and poor people choosing to be poor and all that crap.

    In the end, we usually grow to include yet another set of citizens we’ve been ignoring and we survive it every time…

    But each set of ignored citizens, women before the vote, black Americans before various civil rights battles, on and on, suffers UNDULY because of shortsighted, one-size-fits-all ideas like the ones you have about what constitutes choice and responsibility.
    That unnecessary suffering costs individuals – despair and hopelessness kill many,many people.
    That unnecessary suffering costs us collectively- each group of citizens brings something unique to the table- something we can use to move forward, to make better lives for our children.
    Go ahead, sit and snark in your city living room about this group of folks… go ahead and entirely miss out on the importance of rural v urban divides all across America.

    Notions of economies of scale, economic darwinist attitudes and so on have all contributed to some of the worst problems we have all across America. Your city is supported by the blood sweat and tears of rural America every bit as much as your own…
    The raw goods, especially out here in the west, feed and clothe you and make up bits and pieces of all the stuff you own…
    And , be damned, you city folks also end up with most of the money rural America/Alaska makes from resources too…

    Everytime a village store closes and folks have to send further and further out for supplies, because you think a 20 mile stretch of gravel road from a small airfield to a couple of neighboring villages is a BAILOUT INSTEAD of INFRASTRUCTURE to support citizens who could maybe, maybe just pool more of their numbers and have their own dang self supporting setups, you gather MORE of their dollars…

    The fish, the timber, the minerals, the oil…
    The battles we will fight for the next century here in the west will turn on balancing each of these resources in relation to each other… or failing to do so.
    Every soul who abandons these places, to meet your expectation of responsibility , leaves one less committed set of eyes to serve witness to possible degradation of soils, water, and damage to species … all that we depend on for sustenance.

    Government, in the form of the Fed , and the State of Alaska have done enormous work, some of it pretty shoddy, some of it ok, to sort out competing interests in different resource areas…
    The folks in rural Alaska live and breathe the effects of those laws. They are the the ones we make participate in our shakedown cruise of new law in fisheries, mineral extraction, game management, water quality…
    And we can’t afford some of the basics like clean water, and area appropriate waste disposal for the folks on the front line? PHHHT.

    IF you choose to come back here, MAKE it to be PART of a set of solutions to bring all Alaskans to our common table- in dignity and parity…

    because spinning your wheels in that same old dadgum muddy rut of uneducated one-liner- answer- to -all -questions in the form of the routine of responsibility-choice-bailout -BS will get you flung off into anonymity here…

    We are here, at AB, to work… not to play… and definitely NOT to play games.

  18. elsie09 Says:

    Amen, alaskapi, AMEN.

  19. fromthediagonal Says:

    Alaskapi:
    The fish, the timber, the minerals, the oil…
    That is IT in a nutshell!
    And whohad stewardship over it and adapted to the environment for millennia?
    Who lived in physical and spiritual harmony with the Elements?
    Right… The Original Peoples.
    They were robbed by intruders, driven out of lands considered desirable for all of the above reasons, corralled into reservations and/or “snowed” with phony contracts. All of it for profit, but much of it under the horrendous guise of religious righteousness
    Nothing ever seems to change. Despair would be easy but is not an option.

    All of you write wonderful teaching stories. Please continue.

  20. noneya Says:

    I suggest that the prisoners of AK are some of the most coddled prisoners in the US.
    On the other hand.. and I know I will be labeled a troll , but When you choose not to do for yourself, move for the chance of a better life for you and yours..(my people did, that’s why I’m here to provide a better life for my family.)then deal with it and solve the problem.

  21. fromthediagonal Says:

    Noneya: I am assuming that your capitalization of the word “When” is by design, thus accusing the Native settlements in the bush of choosing “not to do” for themselves.
    Whether trolling or not, you are missing the point of our conversations of a couple of weeks ago: The rights of the Original Owners of the land and its resources, be it oil and gas, solid minerals or fishing rights have been trampled upon by invaders. You probably have problems with that term. But what else can it be called when new arrivals take over lands, waterways and property with contracts hey later refuse to honor. In our posts we were speaking of fundamental principles, even when recounting personal experiences.
    I totally agree that it is wonderful when one can escape a dire situation and better oneself and provide for a more reliable future. Given Global Warming, and the resulting warming of the Artic region, loss of perma frost will eliminate choice sooner rather than later, making mandatory evacuation a certainty.

  22. noneya Says:

    the when was a simple typing mistake, but i thought this was a editorial on the prisoners of AK vs the lifestyle of Native Alaskans and the choices given to both.

  23. alaskapi Says:

    noneya-
    This is a working blog. I am one of the admins.
    As you say nothing to identify yourself or your region and the use of “Native Alaskans” identifies you as less than up-to-speed with Alaskan issues you get a chance … ONE.
    We do not label folks as trolls- we delete them if they come , not to work, but to stall us.
    And quite frankly, starting your comment with your stance that Alaskan criminals are terribly coddled was horse-poo and perhaps drops you to a half a chance…

    This post grew out of frustration that the bare minimum of decency is required by law to be shown the prisoners of this state and yet regular citizens are denied those same bare minimums in their villages far too often.If you come back, read the previous 2 or 3 posts and track down the links and read them too. This is not a 2 dimensional situation, nor a black and white one.

    The notion of moving to better one’s life is part and parcel of American life. It is however not so prevalent in cultures which were here before America came to be and is NOT the choice of most rural Alaskans. Period. Get over it and on to something else.
    Those who live in bush Alaska are primarily Alaska Natives but there are plenty of folks in rural Alaska who are not…
    Parity at the table of our public business is lacking for rural Alaska and the same old tired notions of what constitutes ‘choice” as you wrote here, with no context, don’t operate the same here at anonymousbloggers. We say PHHHTT on those simplistic notions here…
    IF people want and can move- fine.
    Here, at AB, the discussion will remain grounded on what our government is doing right or wrong to meet it’s obligation to citizens…it is OUR government.

    Rural America suffered unduly when notions of economic darwinism in the last 30 years put bottom line above other values. Rural Alaska has as well and the complicated relationship of over 200 recognized tribal entities, outfall of ANSCA, and the very specific relationship Native Americans have with the federal government on top of state issues has made the situation even more difficult to untangle.

    Come back , IF you have ideas, AFTER you catch up some…

    Do not come back if you want to spout one-liner black and white fix-all-one-size fits-all malarkey.

    Hmmm… maybe if ,and I suggest you do, you read the Magnusson-Stevens Act ( concentrate on provisions about bycatch,CDQs, the special section about the Yukon River, the various entities which affect rules ,,,), the Pacific Salmon Treaty, the Alaska State Constitution, specifically the portion which deals with natural resources and the portions which split natural and economic disaster regulations from each other, and peruse ANILCA and ANSCA…
    and dollop Venetie v AK on top…

    Then, maybe we’ll talk, whether we agree with you or not… maybe…

  24. elsie09 Says:

    noneya Says:
    October 7, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    “…i thought this was a editorial on the prisoners of AK vs the lifestyle of Native Alaskans and the choices given to both.”

    Whether or not prisoners haul their own waste out to sewage lagoons in honeybuckets is not a choice. Whether they fetch their own buckets of drinking and wash water is not a choice. Whether their housing is moldy and rotted is not a choice.

    Alaskan prisoners are provided with hot showers, flush toilets and running water. If you are INCARCERATED in Alaska, substandard housing, honeybuckets, hauling potable water home in buckets, and cold, damp, moldy living conditions are AGAINST THE LAW.

    Yet somehow it is okay for other Alaskans, many of whom are babies, children, veterans, pregnant women, and other law-abiding residents, to live in third world conditions. When will the government mandate the same decent living conditions for all of its citizens as those required for its prisoners?

  25. Gramiam Says:

    Well said, alaskapi! A word to you, noneya. I am a non-alaskan, living in Phoenix, AZ. I came here out of curiosity, and stayed to marvel at the culture, knowledge and pure grit of people who have adapted themselves to one of the harshest environments on earth. The Alaskan First People have a culture that was thriving when Europeans were still huddled in caves. What they have to teach us is precious, and all they ask is our respect, and a fair share of the benefits of the civilization that has exploited their land and natural resources but given them precious little in return. You seem to think they sit on their fannies in their villages doing nothing for themselves when nothing can be further from the truth. Subsistance living is the hardest work there is, but the destruction of the environment by those who gobble up game and fish or who pollute water and land with mines and oil spills make it even harder. Not everyone wants to live in an urban environment where one’s culture and native identity is soon lost. Imagine if you were forced by circumstances to live in the bush, among people who had no interest in speaking your language, who had no concept of your culture and weren’t interested in finding out, and who often belittled and mocked you because you were different from them.

  26. fromthediagonal Says:

    Thank you, Alaskapi… please continue sharing your knowledge of economic Darwinism, as you correctly call it, and its impact. By giving the proper legislative backdrop, you are giving us tools with which to educate ourselves further.

  27. alaskapi Says:

    fromthediagonal, Gramiam, and other visitors/helpers-
    in this post a brief overview of federal interaction with Alaska Natives is interwoven in the story of one man’s life…

    http://alaskaindigenous.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/morris-thompson-in-memoriam/

    “From 1969 through 1971, Thompson served Secretary of the Interior Walter J. Hickel as an assistant on Indian affairs. In this position he helped formulate President Richard M. Nixon’s Indian message of 1970. This statement, which strongly emphasized Indian self-determination, has come to be viewed as a milestone in federal Indian policy. In addition, Thompson’s Alaska background was helpful in the preparation of the administration’s position on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act passed in 1971. He also was involved in the negotiations for the return of the Blue Lake area to Taos pueblo and of Mount Adams to the Yakima nation…”

    I encourage everyone to read this blog regularly…
    http://alaskaindigenous.wordpress.com/

    This , along with our Ann and others, is the voice of our future…

    I am on the edge of old age…
    I look back to the generations before me… my grammy sent to boarding school -away from all she knew, to my mother , the lone Native woman in college trying to explain she didn’t grow up in an igloo… to those in front of me-my son trying to find someone who knows enough Alutiq to properly honor his grandmother at his wedding, to my own grands…and what the world we are building now will frame their lives with…
    One liner dippo off-the-cuff answers like we have had pop up lately ( and live and breathe all over urban AK ) have NEVER sufficed except to put an end to meaningful conversation and activity…
    Learning and listening and trying to come up with actions which account for ALL we know and EVERYONE we know MIGHT suffice…
    We’re gonna keep working on that…

    Thank you all for coming to visit…

  28. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    alaskapi – thank you! As your sister, I know how much hard work you put into researching the ultimately confusing structure of Rural Alaska. There is not one person in this state that has the whole picture, or even knows how to weave together the various cultural forces, histories, sciences, and legislation both state and federal which make up the mess of what hinders our progress in Rural Alaska. You give us context, information, and hope. Bless you! I am proud that you are my sister. Wanna run for gov? Just kidding – you’d never have time for the real work that you do.

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