2008-09-09 22:40:47 UTC
Oread Daily http://oreaddaily.blogspot.com/
Sara Palin, the Alaska govenor, who is now running for Vice-President
has touted her relationship with her husband who is part Indian. Todd
Palin is 1/16th Yup'ik Eskimo from his mother's family. Sara says
she's learned a lot from the guy.
You wouldn't know it from her political record however.
On the blog Rez Net Holly Miowak Stebing, a 20-year-old Inupiaq woman
says while Alaskans as a whole are excited about the Palin pick,
they're not jumping up and down with enthusiasm in the Native
community. She criticized Palin for undermining causes she sees as
beneficial to Native Alaskans, such as the governor's opposition to a
legislative proposition that would have stopped certain mining
operations in the state from releasing toxic pollutants into water
that would harm the health of humans or salmon. Stebing said salmon is
important as a food and revenue source to Native Alaskans, but Palin
opposed the measure, which was defeated Aug. 26 by more than 57
percent of Alaskan voters.
Chuck Degnan, who is Inupiaq and a former Alaskan state
representative, says he also was upset when he learned that Sarah
Palin opposed Proposition 4, which he said was important in protecting
tribal cultures in Alaska.
"It's critical we have clean water for those animals so it doesn't
affect our health," he said.
Degnan also criticized Palin for failing to allow Native Alaskan
representation on the Alaska Coastal Management Program — an
organization that protects the state's coasts.
New American Media points out:
"In a report on the plight of Native Alaskans, the U.S. Civil Rights
Commission called for massive increases in spending on job and skills
training and programs to boost employment, improve education and
public services. The commission called for sweeping reforms in the
criminal justice and health care systems. The recommendations were
made four years before Palin took office. Other than a brief mention
of diversity in her gubernatorial campaign speech in 2006, there is no
evidence that Palin has said or done anything about the commission’s
Indian Country today reports:
"...Palin has drawn concern from some Alaska Natives, especially on
issues surrounding an initiative to stop development of the Pebble
Mine adjacent to the Bristol Bay fishing grounds, which is a prime
area for both commercial and subsistence salmon fishing."
''Her public position on that issue undoubtedly had an effect on the
defeat of that initiative, an initiative supported by many of the
region's Inupiat and Yup'ik Alaska Natives,'' said Carl Shepro, a
political science professor at the University of Alaska."
Because like Fox News "I'm Fair and Balanced" and I'm here to tell you
Gov. Palin says she supports teaching traditional culture and
languages in schools. ''A strong sense of identity will keep kids in
school until they become strong adults equipped to thrive in today's
world,'' she wrote.
I'm with her on that one.
Oh, and FYI, Walt Monegan, the state of Alaska's commissioner of
public safety, was fired by Gov. Sarah Palin (R).
Monegan was the first Alaska Native to hold the job. He was appointed
shortly after Palin was elected in 2006.
He said was being pressured to fire a state trooper who was married to
Palin's sister before he got the axe.
Anyway, for a bit more thorough look at Sara's politics and how they
have affected Alaska's indigenous population, read on...
The following is from the blog Turtle Talk.
Palin on Tribes
From Lloyd Miller & Heather Kendall Miller
Sarah Palin’s Record on Alaska Native and Tribal Issues
1. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Subsistence Fishing
Perhaps no issue is of greater importance to Alaska Native peoples as
the right to hunt and fish according to ancient customary and
traditional practices, and to carry on the subsistence way of life for
Governor Sarah Palin has consistently opposed those rights.
Once in office, Governor Palin decided to continue litigation that
seeks to overturn every subsistence fishing determination the federal
government has ever made in Alaska. (State of Alaska v. Norton, 3:05-
cv-0158-HRH (D. Ak).) In pressing this case, Palin decided against
using the Attorney General (which usually handles State litigation)
and instead continued contracting with Senator Ted Stevens’ brother-in-
law’s law firm (Birch, Horton, Bittner & Cherot).
The goal of Palin’s law suit is to invalidate all the subsistence
fishing regulations the federal government has issued to date to
protect Native fishing, and to force the courts instead to take over
the role of setting subsistence regulations. Palin’s law suit seeks to
diminish subsistence fishing rights in order to expand sport and
In May 2007, the federal court rejected the State’s main challenge,
holding that Congress in 1980 had expressly granted the U.S. Interior
and Agriculture Departments the authority to regulate and protect
Native and rural subsistence fishing activities in Alaska. (Decision
entered May 15, 2007 (Dkt. No. 110).)
Notwithstanding this ruling, Palin continues to argue in the
litigation that the federal subsistence protections are too broad, and
should be narrowed to exclude vast areas from subsistence fishing, in
favor of sport and commercial fishing. Palin opposes subsistence
protections in marine waters, on many of the lands that Natives
selected under their 1971 land claims settlement with the state and
federal governments, and in many of the rivers where Alaska Natives
customarily fish. (Alaska Complaint at 15-18.) Palin also opposes
subsistence fishing protections on Alaska Native federal allotments
that were deeded to individuals purposely to foster Native subsistence
activities. All these issues are now pending before the federal
2. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Subsistence Hunting
Palin has also sought to invalidate critical determinations the
Federal Subsistence Board has made regarding customary and traditional
uses of game, specifically to take hunting opportunities away from
Native subsistence villagers and thereby enhance sport hunting.
Palin’s attack here on subsistence has focused on the Ahtna Indian
people in Chistochina.
Although the federal district court has rejected Palin’s challenge,
she has carried on an appeal that was argued in August 2008. (State of
Alaska v. Fleagle, No. 07-35723 (9th Cir.).)
In both hunting and fishing matters, Palin has continued uninterrupted
the policies initiated by the former Governor Frank Murkowski
Administration, challenging hunting and fishing protections that
Native people depend upon for their subsistence way of life in order
to enhance sport fishing and hunting opportunities. Palin’s lawsuits
are a direct attack on the core way of life of Native Tribes in rural
3. Palin has attacked Alaska Tribal Sovereignty
Governor Palin opposes Alaska tribal sovereignty.
Given past court rulings affirming the federally recognized tribal
status of Alaska Native villages, Palin does not technically challenge
that status. But Palin argues that Alaska Tribes have no authority to
act as sovereigns, despite their recognition.
So extreme is Palin on tribal sovereignty issues that she has sought
to block tribes from exercising any authority whatsoever even over the
welfare of Native children, adhering to a 2004 legal opinion issued by
the former Murkowski Administration that no such jurisdiction exist
(except when a state court transfers a matter to a tribal court).
Both the state courts and the federal courts have struck down Palin’s
policy of refusing to recognize the sovereign authority of Alaska
Tribes to address issues involving Alaska Native children. Native
Village of Tanana v. State of Alaska, 3AN-04-12194 CI (judgment
entered Aug. 26, 2008) (Ak. Super. Ct.); Kaltag Tribal Council v.
DHHS, No. 3:06-cv-00211-TMB (D. Ak.), pending on appeal No 08-35343
(9th Cir.)). Nonetheless, Palin’s policy of refusing to recognize
Alaska tribal sovereignty remains unchanged.
4. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Languages
Palin has refused to accord proper respect to Alaska Native languages
and voters by refusing to provide language assistance to Yup’ik
speaking Alaska Native voters. As a result, Palin was just ordered by
a special three-judge panel of federal judges to provide various forms
of voter assistance to Yup’ik voters residing in southwest Alaska.
Nick v. Bethel, No. 3:07-cv-0098-TMB (D. Ak.) (Order entered July 30,
2008). Citing years of State neglect, Palin was ordered to provide
trained poll workers who are bilingual in English and Yup’ik; sample
ballots in written Yup’ik; a written Yup’ik glossary of election
terms; consultation with local Tribes to ensure the accuracy of Yup’ik
translations; a Yup’ik language coordinator; and pre-election and post-
election reports to the court to track the State’s efforts.
In sum, measured against some the rights that are most fundamental to
Alaska Native Tribes - the subsistence way of life, tribal sovereignty
and voting rights – Palin’s record is a failure.