Empire Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down

Thumbs up to Eaglecrest Ski Area for being included for the first time in Powder Magainze’s annual “Ski Town Throwdown,” an event where ski areas are pitted against one another in an online voting competition for bragging rights and national recognition. Eaglecrest’s first Facebook face-off against British Columbia’s Whistler Blackcomb happens today. Show your support for Eaglecrest by voting at www.facebook.com/powdermag.

Thumbs up to the Alaska Federation of Natives convention held in Fairbanks during the week, and to all the individuals who organized and participated in this year’s event. AFN is crucial in ensuring Alaska’s first people have their voices heard by those with the influence and position to implement policy and regulations affecting all Alaska Natives.

Thumbs down to the increase in reports of discrimination against Alaska Natives. According to the Alaska Commission for Human Rights, 2012 saw a 33 percent increase in the number of discrimination complaints compared to the previous year. This drastic increase is alarming and one that warrants further conversation. Racial bias provides no benefit to either our communities or our great state. It serves only to divide us, making our communities weaker as a result.

Thumbs up to another successful hunter education course at our local middle schools. Each fall and spring students at Dzantik’i Heeni and Floyd Dryden middle schools are educated on how to handle and shoot a gun safely under the supervision of dozens of Juneau volunteers. The course also touches on survival techniques and navigation in the wild. These are important skills for youth growing up surrounded by wilderness. The Tongass can be as dangerous as it is beautiful for those who aren’t prepared for a worst-case scenario.

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