Jan 24, 2011
If you haven’t watched or heard about the new Discovery Channel reality, show Flying Wild Alaska, look it up!! I know you are thinking …’another Alaska reality show???’ but hold on for a few more sentences at least, THIS ONE is worth it!
It is on Fridays and it is about REAL Alaskans, the Tweto family, with REAL jobs and issues. It is serious but has some cute/funny parts. It shows a family, strong working women, and respectful teenagers. OK the daughter, Ariel, is probably somewhat older than a ‘teenager’ and is a little ‘mouthy’, BUT only by my grandma’s standards! She is also cute and seems to actually work at a job in the family business without a lot of crap being flung about.
It is based in Unalakleet, which is north of Bethel and deals with the largest regional airline, Era Airlines, that serves many parts of ‘bush’ Alaska.
The show just aired its second episode this past Friday night. The weather and circumstances are real, little to nothing seems made up or ‘staged’ about those things, as many Alaskans can tell you.
On this second episode toward the end they get a phone call about getting a casket delivered in a timely manner to a village north of their base. It is due to a young person’s death, by suicide.
This IS a real part of the life in the ‘bush’ and there is no need for it. They talk about the cost in airfare, lost lives and what made an impression in this household…Ariel says ‘she almost got use to it”, meaning the large number of suicide deaths. To imagine ‘getting used to’ something like suicide!
In Alaska we have TWICE the national average!! We have heard about the teens that are killing themselves at an alarming rate but now we are hearing that ELDERS are a part of this. As reported in the Juneau Empire :
The report by the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council for fiscal year 2010 says Alaska’s overall suicide rate is twice the national average, and that Alaska Natives continue to account for an even more disproportionate number.
It also notes that an alarming suicide rate among the state’s elderly residents warrants further scrutiny.
When Flying Wild Alaska shows this part, the reaction of Ariel, a local radio man, and others it important in our eyes.
To show how it affects people, to open up the discussion and make it more talked about it just one of the things that needs to happen. It is part of the ‘solution’ that needs to happen to help work out ways to reduce this.
In February there is to be meeting in Juneau by the 15-member council, established by lawmakers in 2001, to launch the councils goal for a multiyear prevention plan. We as a state, and nation need to come to better understand and work on ways to prevent this.
Please let this ‘plan’ bring some tangible, measurable goals. Please keep the conversation going until it does. There are no immediate answers here but we hope to keep the focus on the issue. With continued discussion hopefully it will bring things to a sooner decrease of the ‘statistics’.
Flying Wild Alaska, the Discovery Channel, Era Airlines and the Tweto family did a big thing this past Friday…it brought the subject up on a national show!! Thank you!!!