Natives have right to preserve culture

Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2000

It surprises me that even in this day and age Senator Taylor can be as single-minded as he is. Desa Jacobson's protest is not only about the use of our subsistence rights in urban areas. It is about letting us Alaska Natives be Natives even in urban areas. Just because we live in a large city does not diminish our Native culture or the desire to participate in our cultural ways. Don't be misled by what appears to be ignorance on Desa's part concerning the law. She knew the law before she undertook her civil disobedience by setting the net at Dredge Lake. Ever since the Europeans came to this wonderful land, they have been trying to dictate to the original inhabitants how to live and how to behave. This is indicative of the so-called superior mind set that prevails still today. Why does the government still think they know what is best for the Native people of this nation? Alaska Natives only comprise 30 percent of the population in Southeast Alaska and approximately 8 percent of the whole state. Why is 8 percent such a threat to the resources when only 1 percent of the resources would be utilized for subsistence? Geronimo asked a poignant question when he was forced to live on a reservation, ``With so much land available, why do white people want all land?'' Senator Taylor states that the resources will be threatened. My questions is how is that possible with such a small population? I do commend Senator Taylor for his attempts to work for the people of Alaska, but those people also include Alaska Natives. Your constituents include the minorities of this great land. Don't lose our face in the big crowd. We are already losing our way of life, don't help it along. Gives us the chance the American Natives in the Lower 48 didn't get.

August Martin

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