Looking for Alaska - Sample Essays

Though I suspect that these comments are more or less applicable to most small indigenous community contexts throughout the circumpolar region, I will illustrate them by occasionally making reference to the village context of the Doyon or Athabascan region of Interior Alaska as most of the "vitality issues" can be readily found there.

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Life In North Pole, Alaska essays

However, the more I pondered the title of this paper–"Sustainable Development and Indigenous People"–the more bemused I became at its inherent, yet unintended irony. Over the millennia, indigenous people practiced and generally succeeded at some form of sustainable development. Clearly, indigenous people intuitively knew what sustainable development meant and no doubt had a good understanding of many of the difficulties involved in its accomplishment. Whether sustainable development is something contemporary indigenous people wish or are able to pursue, however, is not quite so clear. In this brief paper, I will address two interrelated areas of inquiry: first, is sustainable development an appropriate strategy that can be embraced by village-based indigenous people in Alaska today; and, second and more importantly, is it an achievable strategy?

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The boundaries of the Doyon geo-cultural region are coterminous with the boundaries of the Doyon Corporation–one of the original twelve land-and-capital-holding regional corporations formed with the passage of ANCSA in 1971. In recognition of its overall population being dispersed across a large number of subsistence-centered communities and the vast size of the ‘claimed but not awarded’ land base, the Doyon region was the largest ANCSA land recipient, and its 12 million-plus acres represent about 30% of all the lands conveyed in the settlement process. With the additional 2.5 million acres that were assigned to communities wishing to continue as reservations, the Doyon area has the most lands in the state under Alaska Native control.

While in England, after her aunt Liliuokalani succeeded the throne, Ka’iulani was named her heir and became the Crown Princess.
I had no specific reason for venturing to the vastness of Alaska, I did not know anyone, and had never before been there.

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Along with a subsistence-centered system’s obvious concern about the quality and quantity of the natural resource base, the other key variable in the "development" of a sustainable community along the lines suggested by Barbier seems to be, What is the optimum population size? Essentially, the population size has to be small enough so that the on-going subsistence lifestyle can continue to be the cultural and economic base for the community and yet, it ideally should be large enough to support some local economic activities so that immediate income leakages are minimized. This may be an impossible balance, as it is quite probable that the size of population required for an economically meaningful local circulation strategy would be too large to be supported by the local natural resource base. Thus, if villages are to remain viable, they will need to depend on extra-local sources of income as cash is a contemporary survival tool. The degree of dependence will vary in response to the range of economic opportunities locally available in each village, but there will be a degree of dependence.

Life In North Pole, Alaska essays I have lived in North Pole, Alaska my entire life

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Monday, the Alaska House of Representatives voted to legalize the farming of industrial hemp (the kind that doesn’t get you high). The Senate passed the vote unanimously but only after Sen. Johnny Ellis, the Democrat at the helm retired and gave the bill to a Republican to carry. Because anyone knows that good ideas can NEVER EVER come from Democrats. And by gum, we’d rather stop entrepreneurs from launching new businesses, and stonewall local farmers, let great legislation wither and die in committee, and fold our arms in the corner than give credit where credit is due. Things I learned in…

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The rapture of that night’s campfire, sub-zero cold, forest stillness, ink-black sky, wildly flashing stars, and owl calls are forever imprinted on my brain and heart.

The hooting also reminds me how much I love my life here in Alaska, here on Anchorage’s Hillside.