Mudflats has a piece on Sarah Palin’s unmitigated failure to do anything for the grinding poverty of Alaska’s rural citizens. Josh, a former teacher in rural Alaska, writes:
We became very close with a family in our village that had a child drown in a steel container of raw sewage. Let me say that again. They had a child drown in a steel container of raw sewage. Their child was simply outside playing and since there is no playground equipment for the kids to play on, they play on anything, often things too dangerous for children. In this case it was something commonly referred to as a “honey bucket.” This is a steel container where house sewage is dumped since there is no indoor plumbing.
This is not the same rural poverty problem seen in Native American reservations in the lower 48 states – Alaskan native peoples are not autonomous nations but are citizens no different than any others and the sole responsibility of the Governor of the state.
The major problem that my wife and I are running into when we tell people our story is that many believe it is the Alaskan Native’s problem as a federally recognized tribe and therefore is no different than the many cases and issues that exist on the lower 48 reservations. This is not the case. Alaskan Native tribes are not a sovereign nation. There is no legal difference in the villages that exist off the road system in Alaska, and a small rural town in Kansas. The only difference is that if a small rural town in Kansas had overwhelmingly high suicide rates, rape cases, domestic violence issues, no infrastructure, no running water, poor electricity, energy bills that exceed thousands each month and no money or jobs to help cover the costs, someone would do something about it!
This is borne out by information elsewhere. David Boston wrote this on July 20th of this year: “What is Being Done about Poverty in Alaska?”
Unfortunately, more is being done to worsen the poverty situation in the critical poverty areas of Alaska then is being done to help it.
According to the Alaska Federation of Natives, the Bush Administration has just cut funding for several key Alaskan Native educational programs out of the FY 2009 budget.
The Even Start Program, which supports early childhood development in the most remote areas of Alaska, has been cut for 2009. The Alaska Native Education Equity Act, which developed a variety of culturally appropriate courses and strengthened early childhood education programs, has been cut for 2009.
And the Strengthening Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Programs, which established essential partnerships with regional organizations and businesses, have been cut for 2009.
Not only that, but housing programs have been cut, and the Native Alaskan calls for assistance in erosion-reduction and relocation costs have fallen on deaf ears. Since many Native villages are on the western coast of Alaska, this means a lot to them.
The future well-being of Alaskans living in poverty will seem to depend jointly on the willingness of others to lend them their voices, and the ability of their government to listen.
So, while Sarah Palin has been installing tanning beds in the Governor’s mansion, spending Bridge To Nowhere money, handing out Popularity Contest $1,200 checks and leading her suburban Hockey Mom existence, she has forgotten about the people in her own state who lack the basic necessities of indoor plumbing and safety for their children.
Nice work, Sarah. Stop staring out your window at Russia and start looking after your people.