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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Calista Region: Are We Too Dependent on

Entitlements and Resource Extraction?

Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley, Ph.D.

If one views the History and Military channels on TV for any length of time, it becomes clear that we live in a perpetual war economy. Eisenhower and Kennedy were among the few presidents who recognized this and attempted to make domestic policy changes favoring a more sustainable approach in the areas of natural resource development, education, health care, mass transportation and long-term industrial development. They were met by a formidable enemy in the form of defense contractors, politicians and others associated with the “military-industrial complex,” (as President Eisenhower put it).

I look at the Calista region and it seems to me that we acting no different. We have become lovers of money from government entitlements such as HSS, BIA, housing, highway funds, transportation subsidies and so forth. These end up serving as the equivalent of steroid shots, making us feel euphoric and strong until the devastating effects, such as confusion, anxiety, paranoia, dependency and violent activities begin to take hold. Eventually we begin to think this is normal, indicating that an addiction has taken place. Likewise, I wonder about the plans of Calista Corporation to build roads, construct a coal-fired generator, develop the Donnelly Creek gold mine, and initiate other projects that are of the same unsustainable genre as the U. S, war-saturated economy—this at a time when Europe and Japan are looking at alternative energy and ways to save natural resources.

What has happened to the Calista Board and management who are descendants of the Yupiat and thus should be inclined to live in harmony with Nature? Perhaps they are Yupiat only in blood and no longer retain the cultural outlook to take this route? Should we not be concerned about our own subsistence resources and how to enhance there habitats for better sustainability, supporting regenerative projects and reclamation of devastated areas with the Seventh Generation in mind? At the risk of being labeled “a disgruntled old CEO who failed,” I question such policies and would argue that the aforementioned steroid shots will only make things more difficult for a people already under tremendous stress.

We must look for sustainable energy sources (this is not a choice, it is a must for the region); devise an alternative political system using limited hierarchical structures that are given to equality for all; re-establish an economic system that values the natural resources as givers of life and not money; initiate an alternative health care system more dependent on mind over body; and create an educational system that upholds and edifies all the new alternatives for the next generation. Power wielded without regard to the long-term greater good, in this case the well-being of the shareholders, is tantamount to exploitation and manipulation of the many for the benefit of the few. This is not the Yupiat way.



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Alaska Native Knowledge Network
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Last modified September 30, 2008