Monday, February 27, 2012

Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry

Only letters from the fringes of Alaska, and maybe some other underdogs, get my blogging juices flowing these days. Alaskans living on the islands and rugged coasts live a precarious existence, not that they can't get to the 'outside' somehow and live on welfare at any time. Sometimes that's problematic too, but sometimes I think purveyors of the modern version of the Golden Rule (He who holds the gold, makes the rules.) wouldn't mind so much if there were fewer folk to contend with. Notice I didn't say 'do for,' 'assist,' or 'feed,' or anything like that.

There are reasons that there are pockets of real hunger and cold in Western Alaska, just like there are definite reasons why the U.S. economy tanked in 2008. I applaud the new generation of Alaska media movers and shakers for their courage. And that they cover each other's backsides. They do form a network now. And as they bond, the resource extractors ramp up their grabbing at a more furious pace. It's a race to be sure and a race to leave nothing behind.

The following letter from way out in the bush is in response to a response in Alaska Dispatch to a recent blog post of mine. That's what the writer meant when he said they get real touchy when you put a light on them. Meaning the new Golden Rule types. I gotta hand it to them, they close ranks real well. But that's about all they do well. As help for Alaska Natives has poured in, especially under Sen. Ted Stevens 'pork pipeline,' the industries they had going started closing down all over the state,; their canneries closed, subsistence opportunities dwindled, and the entrepreneurial spirit waned, in just about a direct ratio. Without further gum smacking, here's the latest cry I've heard from someone not very willing 'to go quietly into the night.'

"You hit a nerve going after Harrelson and our inept version of Blackwater, the VPSO Program. Where an ANCSA police farce holds sway over perhaps 90% of Alaska's area, or more. Be that as it may, CDQ's are legitimized by the rationalization (think nationalization) of fish, and ANCSA's 8a corruption is unfettered because they are a great economic asset to election campaigns. You're nibbling at the edges of the aboriginal industry of the north.

 Parallel tribal corruption in the lower 48 brought down Abramoff. But in Alaska, mountains high, king distant, always dicey anyway politically, nobody has taken it on. Probably out of an acute sense of self-preservation. Here's a Canadian take on it :
 The harder you hit it the greater the reaction. Indigenous people as individuals are exploited more ruthlessly and systematically by their purported corporations (managed by caucasians) than by any overt discrimination. And as a result are in many ways worse off today on their home lands than they have ever been."