Seeking fairness for Alaska Natives

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, February 08, 2004

During the primary election one candidate said the following: "Freedom is something that will never be given on a silver platter. Instead we have to suffer a heavy sacrifice for it." Surely this is not far from the truth for Native Alaskans who were given the exact tool to make it a reality. It's called the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). In fact the sacrifice we are suffering is far more than words can express due to the fact the gift of liberty was taken off ancestral lands just to satisfy the nation's economy and the works of capitalism at its worst.

Surely we don't need a degree in law to determine any law which rules and governs a people and their cultures is a valid constitution regardless of what type of government is formed. Such is the case with ANCSA, which is a law that reflects a curse and the last rites rather than a blessing. Consider how it was fixed like a man who has natural ability to miss what was intended for him to have. One who cares or knows nothing about the principles of freedom and liberty. The children of those who wrote and decided the nature of this shameful law treat Native children with malice and contempt at the high school level today as though Natives wrote this ridiculous law that we have at hand. Perhaps Mr. Ted Stevens knows more about this thing that was acclaimed just and equitable upon its acceptance in 1971.

ANCSA is a law, separate from corporation bylaws and state laws; as such it formed a national Native government on ancestral lands first. However, we also know a government cannot function without some kind of power to enforce its constitution; this one is the American extinguishment English language enshrined in ANCSA as a simple provision. Perhaps the Prince William Sound oil spill incident which happened a while back portrays this power best. In fact we all saw the definition of this language at work watching the lives of countless wildlife in that area being extinguished on TV. I often wondered who in his right mind would use this kind of language for the powers of government that represent a certain constitution? Two men come to mind called Saddam Hussein and Bin Ladin. Both, like ANCSA, have no use for the sacred gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which are just powers of government. But this is the reason why Natives and others need to learn more about this law in order to help Natives call for a constitutional convention to correct it. Mainly to form a more perfect union instead. More importantly to secure all the things that we have as the blessings of liberty to ourselves and posterity this time in a just constitution of government. After all, liberty was first secured to whatsoever will at the "Cross at Calvary" 2,004 years ago.

In the book entitled "Faith of Our Founding Fathers" we will find this statement we need to put into consideration: "God rules in the affairs of men; no Nation without recognizing this fact can survive; our liberty are gifts from God; we cannot be a secure people if we take God out of our lives." This statement helped shape our present constitutional democracy and its checks/balance legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. The book was written by Dr. Tim La Haye. Incidentally, 380 million acres of Native land is what we claimed, not 40 million acres. And we still own this land.

Franklin "Shkane" Williams Sr.

Juneau



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