Regarding July 21, 2020, Barbara Haney’s My Turn that Ballot Measure 1 would be “deleterious” to Alaska’s future, my first thought was wow, someone finally sees how eliminating the oil industry has been to Alaska’s Indigenous communities and year-round public residents. Wrong. Root-word here is delete: to wipe out, destroy, eliminate or erase.
Adding the word “public” also has several divisive meanings that indeed delete others for convenience under policymaking. Does Ballot Measure 1 benefit the affected people, rather than private “outside” capital interests? Public also means common, general, popular, vulgar, free-for-all, unrestricted, open rather than restricted. How do Alaskans “equally” fit into the corporate oil scheme?
Vote for which best describes Alaska today in history where people outnumber corporate Wall Street interests. Examine who is who in Alaska’s Legislature and on “our” congressional seats in Washington. It’s self-indicting who is bought and paid for by the dominant rich lobbyists. Very few, in my opinion, are actual public servants.
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, 1971, only came about by industrial discovery of oil in Alaska in the 1960s, or you can bet we would still be fighting for a “just, fair” land claims settlement. Republican-dominated Congress accommodated huge business by placing Indigenous claims settlement into the hands of state banking and securities jurisdiction explicitly for exploitation of Alaska’s vast and beautiful natural resource extraction. The state of Alaska explicitly deletes tribal laws, voices, and historic existence out of the state government because, guess what, the state Constitution does not accommodate for such.
Yet, the millions dollars of Alaska Native capital and acres of Alaska Native land surrounding traditionally used and occupied village-based tribal governments has deleteriously affected Alaska Native health, wellbeing, economy, spiritual and cultural existence. The ANCSA law, and its spawn, Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act 1980, was to belong to the Alaska Native’s toolbox of hard-earned assets. How can we now be the poorest population?
Alaska’s Indigenous ancestors did not sacrifice so much for so many decades to place our people into perpetual poverty. Today, village Alaska suffers the lack of public services at an emergency level as corporate businesses are well provided for to maximum benefit by the state of Alaska. What an insult saying oil revenue “is the lifeblood of Alaska’s economy” rather than off the blood of Alaska Natives. Eliminate. Erase. Delete Alaskans. Minimize the public as policy.
No more of that.
Vote yes on the Alaska Fair Share Act in November.
• Wanda Culp is a Hoonah resident. She is Tlingit and an ANCSA shareholder.