September 27, 2008

Palin out of touch with reality

An Athabascan’s responseUnlike Mr. [Ben Nighthorse] Campbell, who remarks that he is Northern Cheyenne, a former senator, and a leader in the McCain campaign, I am an Athabascan Indian, I have lived in Alaska all my life, and I actually know firsthand what Gov. Sarah Palin has done.

Contrary to the former senator’s remarks, Alaska subsistence hunting and fishing issues are not complicated. As the former senator concedes, however, they are deeply “political.” My point exactly: consistently, Sarah Palin has politicized subsistence and sought to advantage urban hunters and fishers over the rural people who actually live a subsistence way of life. It is a stunning hostility, given that subsistence fishing, as one example, consumes a mere 2 percent of all consumptive uses of fish in our state.

Nor are Alaska Native people “divided” on this issue. To the contrary, in the late 1990s Alaska Natives held a special statewide convention in Alaska and overwhelmingly reaffirmed their support for rural subsistence.

Palin cannot dodge her responsibility for continuing lawsuits that her predecessor began. She is against federal agency protection for subsistence. She is against subsistence fishing in many navigable waters that are critical to Native people. She is against subsistence hunting in many areas our Native people depend upon for their survival. She is against subsistence rights that prefer rural users as the federal law favored by Alaska Natives demands over urban users.
Rosenfeld:  Alaska is a disasterAfter 11 years working in rural Alaska, I feel obligated to share my observations regarding the Third World living conditions facing more than 200 rural Native communities, and the state of Alaska’s lack of attention to the many inequities they suffer.

While Governor Palin claims “exemplary leadership” and attempts to become vice president of the United States, the truth is that rural Alaska is a disaster in multiple areas: its human health, lack of infrastructure, environment and economy are equal to that of Third World countries. Sarah Palin is a single-issue governor who fails to effectively address these critical needs.

Alaska has one of the highest rates of homelessness per capita in the U.S., overflowing sewage lagoons in dozens of communities and no running water in more than 150 villages--that’s almost 25 percent of the population without running water.

Governor Palin has demonstrated how out of touch she is with Alaska while she continues to ignore the needs of the homeless; fails to recognize Third World living conditions in her home state; and ignores climate change victims, polluted waters, village health hazards and unattended military contaminant sites.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Palin Attacks Native Rights.

Below:  "Look at the pretty eagle. Ignore the polluted dump site."

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