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
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?
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
projects and reclamation of devastated areas with the Seventh Generation
in mind? At the risk of being labeled “a disgruntled old CEO who
question such policies and would argue that the aforementioned steroid
shots will only make things more difficult for a people already under tremendous
We must look for sustainable energy sources (this is not a choice,
a must for the region); devise an alternative political system using
limited hierarchical structures that are given to equality for all; re-establish
economic system that values the natural resources as givers of life and
not money; initiate an alternative health care system more dependent
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,
to exploitation and manipulation of the many for the benefit of the few.
This is not the Yupiat way.