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Testimony

Submitted to the
Alaska Natives Commission
Social/Cultural Task Force at

Ft. Yukon, Alaska
June 9, 1993

ALASKA NATIVES COMMISSION
JOINT FEDERAL-STATE COMMISSION
ON
POLICIES AND PROGRAMS AFFECTING ALASKA NATIVES
4000 Old Seward Highway, Suite 100
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Witness List | PDF Version

 

 

MR. SCHAEFFER: Okay. Can't hear him very well. All right, who's next.

MR. STICKMAN: Me, I guess.

MR. SCHAEFFER: You, okay. And you -- can you sit in the witness box?

MR. STICKMAN: Sure, (indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: It's the hot spot (indiscernible).

MR. SCHAEFFER: Yeah, (indiscernible).

MR. STICKMAN: I'm surprised I'm used to this stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: (Indiscernible) this time you're a witness for the good side.

TESTIMONY OF FREDERICK STICKMAN, JR.

MR. STICKMAN: Okay. It's a pleasure to be here. First time, -- well, my name is Fred Stickman, Jr. I'm director of Doyon (ph.) (indiscernible) Corporation. President of the village corporation, Nulato Gana Yu (ph.). And I'm also mayor of Nulato.

My presentation here today would be in relation to my mayorship of Nulato. And my topic will be to address some issues on substance abuse. I just want to make a statement first and then give you some history. As mayor, I'm trying to address the issue of substance abuse.

Substance abuse is a local problem, need to be addressed locally. And the problem areas need to be designated or addressed. A group of people to address the problem need to be established, goals and objectives, and the end result that's desired. The village people need to be taught, beginning with the new generation, the Native spiritual values.

City and Native council programs need to be supported by the federal and state agencies that try to address the problem area issues. The schools need to be involved and support field trips in the wilds and teach the need of responsibility of survival and the importance of Native spirituality and how we can apply these values to respect oneself, and the importance to abstain from mind-altering substance.

Because I am free from alcohol, by my being sober, am I free? No. Because it is all around us, no matter where we go.

I'd like to speak to some of the problems that the village or the city government has in trying to address some of these issues. I was mayor from 17 -- 1979 for seven years; then I got off the council and at that time I realized that in order to have a productive leadership, a person needed to be sober. I was not a sober leader. I admitted that fact, and I got out of the city government.

The first year that I was out, I established and tried to establish a substance abuse program. They call it the only way you can get grants was to address the suicide issue. They call it suicide prevention grants. The first two years or 18 months I worked voluntarily in this process in establishing a program to address the suicide issue. Although we didn't address it directly, we addressed the alcohol problems. During that time we established, myself and another person established a program that was funded. And we call it the self-improvement program. We had different names in those 18 months trying to address the suicide issue and make it presentable to the state agency that so that we can get the funds.

Anyway, we came up with the name self-improvement program, which is still in place today. It's approximately six years now-And the problem we had in those six years and continuing, and last year we didn't get funded because lack of monies. Fortunately, Galena had mental -- I forgot the program, but it relates to the same thing, but it's a mental health program. So they continued with our program in Nulato. But what I was going to suggest here today is that something be established to provide for blanket grants. That means that if I as mayor put in a request for a specific purpose, the things that I mentioned in here, that I don't have to follow a -- direct regulation requirements. When I apply for grants, I have to put in that grant not necessarily what I want the money for, but to satisfy the state government as to how I should spend that money. Then when we get the money, we have to apply it in that order. But it don't accomplish what I want to do or what the village council or city council want to do. They're restricted.

By blanket grant, I mean I should be able to ask for funds saying, I'm trying to address the alcohol substance abuse or suicide prevention or the spiritual Native values. And these are things that are supposed to help once an individual -- for an individual to try to help oneself.

The other thing I would like to suggest is the school system as a contingency funds. The other funds they have, they're budgeted for. So those budget items have to be spent in that the way they say they're going to spend it; that's what a budget is. A contingency fund should be provided by the state so that the school system could address an issue that they want to address. And one of then is the substance abuse. Sure, they have counselors, but they can 't directly address the substance abuse problem. One of the ways they can do that is provide extracurricular activities, and one of them I mentioned here is go out on field trips. They did last year in Nulato School. Person brought out -- a teacher or counselor brought out five or six students, they were out for five days, and that was a productive five days for those children. Not children, they were in my opinion grown men, you know, 14, 15 years old.

You heard some testimonies today over there that the children don't know how to carry water, they don't know how to carry in wood, they don't know how to cut wood, because they're not subjected to that. They don't -- you know, they get up in the morning and everything is taken care of for them. That's beside the point and -- when finally, I think to address the things that I have said, is to develop a questionnaire and direct it to the village councils or city councils, saying or asking how could be best serve your communities, or how can we help you ask for grants that you can spend and pursue your desire, you know, and thank you for your time.

MR. SCHAFFER: Any of the Commissioner's have any questions?

FATHER ELLIOTT: I do. You mentioned that rather than ask for a grant on the grounds of what you really want for, have to ask it in terms of what the state would be satisfied with; would you explain that? Could you give us an example?

MR. STICKMAN: Okay, I can only talk to this specific grant which is the suicide prevention monies that's available by the state. So when you put in your grant request, you have to put in there how you're going to spend that money as it relates to suicide prevention. Whereas if I had got a blanket grant, I can address these issues that I mentioned to you earlier; that, teach the Native language, which is a valuable tool for the state. You heard it in the convention today. Learning the Native language is a tool that you cannot address in the suicide prevention grant,

FATHER ELLIOTT: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. STICKMAN: You see what I mean? So the spirituality, Native culture values need to be addressed in some way in order for the people to help themselves.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. STICKMAN: I hope that answered your question.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Yes, you did. I can understand now that you're thinking in terms of preventative tools.

MR. STICKMAN: Mm-hm (affirmative).

FATHER ELLIOTT: But the state wants more specific directive action.

MR. STICKMAN: Exactly.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: (Indiscernible) wanted to pursue a little bit. Regulation and paperwork. How does Nulato have input into the process in determining the rules under which you'll report those funds?

MR. STICKMAN: I really to tell you the truth, I don't know. I think it's all done in Juneau and during the legislative session. And the people there decide how you are to spend your money. When they give you X number of dollars on the side there, they tell you exactly how they want to see it spent. If you deviate from that, you either have to give the money back or you have to put in writing as, you know, to be in compliance with the regulation or the process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: As an administrator in Nulato, of the village, municipality, how much time do you spend filling out papers that you (indiscernible) --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: (Indiscernible).

(Tape changed - Tape 1, Side 2)

MR. STICKMAN: I think probably among his other duties, he's a budget director and he's not an administrator. We have a city clerk, but the person that does it, I would say probably four, five hours out of his six hours a day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: In other words, filing and paperwork?

MR. STICKMAN: Mm-hm (affirmative).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Just sending it out?

MR. STICKMAN: Mm-hm (affirmative). Telephone calls and things of that nature. Myself, I probably spend an hour a day, which is about five hours a week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: And you've never had anything in the way of input in what those reports do or say? Do you have any idea where they go, who uses them?

MR. STICKMAN: No. We send copies to -- for this suicide prevention, we'd send a copy to our representative, which is George Janowitz (ph.), and copies to Irene Nicholi; and then we send copies to the office in Juneau, probably the Department of Health, which is the department that provides these funds.

FATHER SEBESTA: Okay. Have you ever reported anything that is not in compliance with the grant conditions in reports that you send in?

MR. STICKMAN: What we do, Father, is we put in a request that's in compliance with what is requested.

FATHER SEBESTA: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. STICKMAN: And then we hope that we get the funds. After we get the funds, then we kind of amend them to our need to some degree that's allowable.

FATHER SEBESTA: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. STICKMAN: What I talked about earlier, the stuff that's not allowable.

FATHER SEBESTA: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. STICKMAN: You see, you no way you can allow that stuff to be --

FATHER SEBESTA: Yeah, that's in -- but what. I was wondering was whether they even read the reports that go in. If you had sent something in that was not in compliance with the grant --

MR. STICKMAN: Okay. That's a good --

FATHER ELLIOTT: -- do you ever get a response?

MR. STICKMAN: Yeah. That's a good point. I don't remember the person's name, but when I first started trying to start this program, talked directly the person that was involved for approving. Her last name was Sole (ph.).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Susan -- yeah, Susan Sole.

MR. STICKMAN: Susan Sole. Yeah, I talked directly to her for a half-hour to an hour, trying to explain what I'm telling you now, you know. And there was no way that she would agree, because she has all these regulations and rules to follow. And she can't deviate from that. And that's what I'm asking you to do.

FATHER SEBESTA: Okay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You need to understand, that's the most liberal program there is in the state as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: The suicide prevention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: That's right. It was put in effect for just this reason, to allow villages to do things their own way without complying with the regulation requirements of the rest of the public health and mental health program and alcohol. And so what he's talking about is the best program they have that they can work with.

MR. STICKMAN: Mm-hm (affirmative).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: So all the rest are even worse to work with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: (Indiscernible) state administrators, people that you correspond with, come to the village and talk to you face-to-face.

MR. STICKMAN: (Indiscernible) now for six months, and haven't seen anybody. Nobody, except in my previous experience, my seven years' experience; we kind of requested to Department of Regional and Community Affairs, which was not directly involved, but they were available to you as a second-class city, and those were the people that helped us. But nobody from the state -- from the head of a department, commissioner, things of that nature.

MR. SCHAEFFER: I'd just like to make one comment. You talked about the people of the villages learning how to plan, how to develop goals, that kind of thing. Community and Regional Affairs does provide that service. They have in their -- not sure which -- I guess their community development area, they do provide people who go out and help you in the village to develop a vision.

MR. STICKMAN: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. SCHAEFFER: And that's -- I watched them do it in the Northwest Arctic Borough last year, and they do a pretty good job of it. So you can make that kind of request too, to help --

MR. STICKMAN: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. SCHAEFFER: -- help your own people develop a plan.

MR. STICKMAN: I think one final thing in getting the school involved; I attended their -- I made it a point to attend all meetings. As mayor in Nulato, I never did before. So I attended their meetings this winter for the school district, and my one and only issue was to address the Native language, to teach the Native Language. So I talked to the principal, and I think if we had the money available to us and the school, you know, like in this contingency fund that they have, then it would be no problem for the principal to do that, because there's people available, you know, to teach the language.

We cannot go to the university and teach our language in Nulato because it's a different dialect, you know. What we want to do is teach our own people our own dialect and our own language, not the Koyukon (ph.) language. That's my personal opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Your school district does not have them teach your language in your school?

MR. STICKMAN: They have last year, but they didn't this year at Arctic. I don't think they did this year. They might have a couple years ago or year before last. But I know they didn't this year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Okay. And I (indiscernible) regional school board be (indiscernible) here, but Nulato is in our jurisdiction. And teaching the Native language has always been (indiscernible) local (indiscernible). They're the ones that say we could get (indiscernible) teach it there, and the money's (indiscernible) to run the program. (Indiscernible) out of sight. So the (indiscernible), all they have to do is decide what program they want to do away with (indiscernible).

The contingency fund we talked about, the reason why we have a contingency fund in each site is from year to year, the state uses X amount of dollars per student. And from the spring time to the fall time we never know how many students are going to come back into our system in that site. So that when the contingency fund there is used as a buffer in case more of those people come back in, they can run the program for the year (indiscernible). And that's not very much, that's only basically 10 percent (indiscernible) that 10 percent of the budget (indiscernible)put into the contingency fund. That's so -- you know, it's a very small, minute amount of money. And usually, that money is usually ate up towards the middle part of the year when we realize after the second (indiscernible) we got from year to year, it's put back into the program. But that's the (indiscernible) contingency fund and (indiscernible).

MR. STICKMAN: Anyway, I want to thank you for your time, and if you have any more questions, I'd like to answer them.

MR. SCHAEFFER: Thank you.

MR. STICKMAN: Thank you. Thank you very much.

This document was ocr scanned. We have made every attempt to keep the online document the same as the original, including the recorder's original misspellings or typos.

 
 

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