Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Native groups vote to oppose Palin's AG pick

From the ADN rural blog, The Village:
AFN votes to oppose Ross appointment

AFN is the Alaska Federation of Natives - Native representatives from all around the state.The Association of Village Council Presidents also voted to oppose the appointment - Western Alaska representatives (the area you may have heard about lately with fuel shortages.)

In case you need a catch up - Palin appointed Wayne Anthony Ross to the attorney general position. Anti-sovereignty, anti-subsistence (not to mention very anti-gay,) Ross seems to be the last straw in Palin's long series of decisions against strong Native issues.

Yet she's never one to disappoint me with her irony. In her statement about Ross:

Now more than ever, it is essential that Alaska’s sovereignty be protected...

Alaska sovereignty good. Native sovereignty - eh, not so much. It's almost like she can't help but mention those key words that make it so ironic. Native attorney Heather Kendall-Miller on Palin:

Heather Kendall-Miller, a Native American Rights Fund attorney in Anchorage, said Palin picked an attorney general that represents her values rather than the most qualified person. She said it reflects more on Palin than on Ross.

"She's shown no interest in trying to work with the Native community on important issues of subsistence or tribal sovereignty."

The Village post cites another 1997 ADN article about Alaskan Indian country. Ross' quote about Native sovereignty:

''It's a giant leap backwards into the 19th century,'' said Anchorage attorney Wayne Anthony Ross, who represented sport hunters in the 1989 lawsuit that overturned as unconstitutional the state's subsistence preference for rural residents. ''They want to see Alaska balkanized into little fiefdoms where these self-proclaimed Native leaders will reign supreme with help from the Great White Father.''

The Great White Father? Can we at least try and pretend we didn't learn everything we know about Native sovereignty from old John Wayne movies?

The argument from Ross now that all this is out is that those comments he made on anti-soereignty, anti-subsistence were from another time. Not to mention that the anti-subsistence stance is that is wasn't anti-subsistence, but "pro-constitutional." Furthermore, these issues aren't as big a deal as they were.


Only if you've had your head in the sand for the last couple years.

Palin's asserts that the protests are from a "few" vocal critics who may have a "different opinion."

First - it's not just a "few." Two major Alaska Native groups have now voted to oppose her appointment (and more individuals have spoken out), and though I don't know the vote count, I'm willing to bet it wasn't close.

Second - subsistence and sovereignty issues are not idle opinions about things that barely touch these people's lives. It's not an opinion about whether or not your favorite American Idol guy is better. It's an entire way of life.

Her response reminded me of (non-Native) friends that, once we were talking politics, said, "You always bring up the Native issues. We aren't talking about Native issues."

It's only outside the comfort of my own home and family that it becomes "Native issues." Within, it's just life. It's the stuff that makes up every day, not some subsect of my life.

I'm glad that these Native groups and leaders are finally taking a stand on the increasingly anti-rural break the government is taking... not that it was ever really "pro-rural." As even the Native groups say, they don't think there's a real chance he won't get affirmed, but there's a point that comes when you have to say enough is enough.


hello said...

Great news, and not just for the AK Native community!

teal said...

SarahPAC don't give a dime...if she did, he would never have been suggested for AG.

Stay on the case, seems like there's a chance that he won't make it....

Elena said...

I am curious about to what extent WAR's appointment flies in the face of Palin's assertion that she is killing wolves and black bears and brown bears, and etc... in the name of native subsistence hunters.

Doesn't look like she's all that concerned about subsistence rights after all now does it? Does WAR's anti-subsistence stance mean that the wolf hunt can be permanently called off? Doubt it.

I hate the way Palin is using subsistence rights as an excuse to kill wildlife wholesale and in a cruel manner. It flies in the face of what I understand about Native hunter's ethics as well.

I've asked before and I'll ask again, I would like to find a representative of the native community who could speak on this issue as it pertains to environnmental and hunting issues. I know there's a lot on the Native group's plate right now, but please keep it in mind. I would like to write about this issue, or other's to write about it, with a guest spot on my blog - or not! I just don't want this particular hypocrisy to get lost in the shuffle. Perhaps with the backlash against WAR, it won't.



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