I am a shareholder of an Alaska Native Corporation. As such, I've benefitted from scholarships and employment opportunities. I've even served on our village corporation board of directors for awhile. There are several misconceptions in comments from 'letmypeoplego' and 'akwashakie'. I am not sure why ANCs wholly should be responsible for the governments relentless attacks on American Indian/Alaska Native public policy. To me, having native people with attitudes that one faction of our community is responsible for the demise of the whole is exactly what the government is hoping for, divide and conquer. Good job 'letmypeoplego'. There are over 231 village corporation in Alaska. In addition, there are 13 regional corporations. The regional corporations have been involved with the SBA 8(a) program and some village corporations have as well. However, not all ANCs are big business. And within an ANC there are subsidiary companies that are the actual companies involved in the SBA 8(a) program. Being certified in only the first step in participating in federal procurement. It is very difficult to even have a small contract awarded to sole source, much less competition and that is the end goal. It is necessary to hire executives with the background, experience, and relationships in place to compete in the national marketplace. ANCs are unique with each having similar and sometimes differing internal policies regarding hiring practices, budgeting processes, bylaws, etc. For 'akwasakie' to claim that ANCs lost their heart for self-sufficiency is completely wrong. ANCs are maximizing the policies in place to benefit communities of people. The region that I am from in Alaska is larger than the state of Texas. That is one region - there are 12 others, one being landless however. The vast geography, climate, lack of roads and other basic infrastructure puts us in the poorest of the poor of Americans. Even federal prisoners have more funding per capita for their health care. 3 out of 15 villages in a region in which I lived have no water or sewer today and they never had it ever. Fuel is upwards of $10/gal to $12/gal in remote areas of Alaska, although the oil is being extracted and deported from our backyards! ANCs are not governments like lower 48 Tribes; however, we still are Native Americans. So to say that we use Native American foot-in-the-door policy until we really have to sacrifice is also wrong. We are Native Americans and we have sacrificed. In fact, we are on the forefront of the public process fighting hand-in-hand with other minority groups to keep intact policy that is starting to make a positive difference. If either of these commentors are really interested in this issue, I challenge each to really educate themselves on the issues and join together with the movement to protect the interests of all Native Americans, not just a faction of our people.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 23:18