If we remain true

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2002

The special session that Tony Knowles has called for has begun. Subsistence will again be considered. I went to a feast at the Andrew Hope Building on Wednesday night, in which some of our distinguished Native leaders, legislators, Fran Ulmer and Gov. Knowles gave passionate speeches for subsistence rights.

I've been weary of writing a letter regarding this because no matter what you say, you seem to be in a vulnerable position when you enter this hot issue, and I don't know how to say something really new, and I don't know how to be a part of this and truly do good for my people. But I will be adamant in what I say: What hurt the most during the night was hearing all of the badgering of Republicans, extremists, and the Legislature in general.

What hurt the most was hearing that there is such frustration. What hurt the most was hearing there was little hope that anything will happen during this special session.

When we speak of my culture, brother, there is little frustration in my heart. On a night in which was meant for celebration, and eating good food, and hearing good words, what stuck with me was the hollow, angry words I heard. Are we at such a point of hurt, of cultural loss, that we must act this way? Do we need to play politics? Have we forgotten from our stories, to respect even those that oppose us? Have we forgotten those words of our elders?

Please keep in mind, it was not a negative night. It was very wonderful, and I absolutely loved what our governor and Fran Ulmer spoke to us, honestly trying to reach out to different people. The food was delicious. Only those slightly negative, those few resigned words hurt. Am I just silly to believe that subsistence will be resolved if we remain true? Have I just not been through the "wars" and the "fights" and the really mean people, to not know any better? Do I have too much faith in believing that just giving simple images of our culture, respectfully, honestly, is enough?

Thank you, and I truly apologize to those I have offended.

Ishmael C. Hope

Juneau



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