My smoke still rises

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2001

Well, folks, here we are in the year 2001 and the controversial subsistence issue is still unresolved. Thanks to Katie John to have had the courage to dispute the rules regulating subsistence fishing rights for Alaskan Natives. As indigenous people, to survive, we had to subsist off the land for thousands of years. Fish and game has become our traditional food. It is an important part of our culture that is left.

This major problem is dividing the people, so I hear. Why not put it on a ballot and let the people vote on it. We can surely decide what we as people of Alaska want. I understand there are several Republicans who have held this matter hostage. What will it do for them? Don't they trust their constituents to decide for themselves? Taku, Auke Bay, and Berners Bay were not urban. The tribal members did not ask the city of Juneau to be built around them.

To the eight Republicans who refuse to help end the subsistence issue, I invite you to go out and live like the aboriginal people of the land. I will grant you your subsistence rights and don't forget your three-piece suits; you will need those to fend off the bears while you are fishing in the stream, and when that bear of subsistence chases you through the Devil clubs, your three-piece suit wont be much help. Smoke from my smokehouse still rises into the wind and mist of Southeast Alaska, how about yours? We the victims of social and cultural engineering will be survivors regardless of all the laws of our great state of Alaska. The lawmakers can invent and approve to this cause that keeps us divided, in the end we will survive because it is us that truly understands subsistence.

Tim Ackerman


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