I often think a good example to tell everyone about us Natives is the hospital here in town. Before most every employee was white and had the attitude "You are getting it for free so shut up about the service". I was little but so wished I could talk back and tell them "Free, you steal my country, enslave us and make us out to be drunks so you can steal our natural resources and you think this getting treated badly makes up for it because I don't have to pay you for it?"
I forget how many years ago but the Natives began to get more control over it and set it up for what would best serve Natives. Our nursing program recently won another award of excellence, I forget if this is the second or third one we won or what the nursing group was that gave it to them.
Excellence, what a word. It is what Natives achieve when left to their own devices. When allowed to govern themselves.
I think the problem is that they do not want our resources conserved and that is why the indigenous peoples of America are so suppressed and ignored. That our governing would be fair and for the communities instead of our own pocketbooks and would end up shaming those in government now.
I think when allowed to reach our potential that excellence is within our grasp. I think that is often why we are not given that chance. When we got Federal money to provide housing for Natives it became twisted into a program to help all low-income people living in town here. Their opinion was that a whole community of just Natives would bring down the prices of nearby neighborhoods. That is what they said but what they meant was that only a small percentage of this money will actually go to helping you, suckers!!!! The whites in the lower 48 will see how much money you got and how you can't seem to get your people out of poverty so we are needed.
The housing area has the right idea, of sorts. Instead of a row of attached townhouse style ones each was given a small space with a protected clause and upkeep done by the managing group. They look sort of like bird houses but each person was given their own space to call home. A tiny bit of independence, maybe, but a start. Think of them as 'starter homes' and they seem alright.
Imagine though instead of a few natives lifted out of poverty into home-ownership if it could have been a community of hope for us since we are many differing tribes here. But as always happens, instead of being enabled to help us it is thrown on us that we are 'one people' now and must encourage and help all the people here. I say ugh! I mean, how many with bad health moved up here because we provide better service then in the lower 48? Or the military Vets who live up here, one wanted to take the Alaskan Permanent Fund dividend money (which I believe should be given to the Natives to run and use as their economic base/starter fund) and build a great big complex for them. Do you mean these same vets who came and took my people (Aleut) away from their homes without giving them a chance to grab their personal belongings? Do you mean these same ones who ransacked what was left and destroyed a lot of it?
Gee, give these tormentors and abusers the profit from my oil and gas? Ummm, well, I hate to sound rude but... Get real! I know, I know, they were just following orders like those nazis, no personal responsibility for them..... No choice or say to be decent or humane but unlike the Jews who were given a country ours is still gone and we are left to merge in and become "them".
Oops, deep breathes, lost focus for a second there since there is still so much anger over this Injustice. but my point was meant to be:
Even though we do have many Natives that need our help and are living in poverty, that we do things 'fairly' and are humane to all. At our own personal cost, mind. It is not that we are too stupid to realize we could spend all of the money on ourselves, please don't think that, it is our beliefs that guide us to do what is right. While we did not necessarily invite you here, you are here in our home and we do not want you to suffer either so share our resources to help all.
That is the true meaning of Excellence I think and why I am very proud to be an Alaskan/American Native