It actually reminded me of something I haven't been talking about when I say that Palin hasn't done anything for Alaska Native people - what it is she could have been doing. As an Alaskan Native, it is obvious to me - but then I live it, and see it every day.
I am generally loathe to just report bad news, bad news, and more bad news, and some bad statistics thrown in. Especially since I don't believe the Alaska Native people need to hear again and again what we get slammed in the face with at every turn - not to mention we just live it. I have heard the stats for a lifetime now - one in five below the poverty line, infant mortality is double that of white Americans, turburculosis is twenty times over, twelve percent of the public school population, but a quarter of the drop out rate, and on and on and on.
There's a lot of that in the article, and more, and it does paint a pretty rough picture of Alaska Native people. I won't deny, we are in serious trouble, and have serious social and health issues that require an unbelievable amount of change. Some things have gotten better, some are worse, some stay most unfortunately the same.
I love my people, and though I am not as familiar with the other Native cultures as my own, I love learning more about them every day. I am proud to be from a group that has given so much to the world, and am proud of the way we are already addressing these issues. There is so much about the people and cultures that you don't see reported, wonderful, good things. I am proud to be here in a state with such beautiful and intelligent people.
I will be prouder still when we really see a movement of change, a fire lit beneath us to "be the change you want to see in the world." I know this time is coming, and many of us can sense the match getting struck already.
From the article:
In a report on the plight of Native Alaskans, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission called for massive increases in spending on job and skills training and programs to boost employment, improve education and public services. The commission called for sweeping reforms in the criminal justice and health care systems. The recommendations were made four years before Palin took office. Other than a brief mention of diversity in her gubernatorial campaign speech in 2006, there is no evidence that Palin has said or done anything about the commission’s recommendations. If she had it would have put a beam on the faces of thousands of Yup’ik Eskimos who aren’t named Todd Palin.
The point of the article is not saying that all these issues, this is all Sarah or Todd Palin's fault. The point of the article is to show what I have said in about 20 different ways - Despite being the governor of this state, with nearly 20% of the population being Native, Sarah Palin has done absolutely nothing to address any of these issues. There are plenty to choose from.
Record cancer rates. Record suicide rates. Record abuse rates. Record child mortality rates. Record victims of hate crime. Record imprisonment, with an extremely disproportionate representation of Native men.
These are the statistics I hate, the statistics I hear over and over, and know to be true, but also know there is a bigger truth than just a bunch of statistics. These are the kind of statistics that make me get up in the morning and do whatever I can for the people behind the numbers.
I wish my governor felt the same way.