Rural Advocates Make a Difference in their Communities
Taking a stand on issues that impact our tribes is important in preserving our culture, our way of life, and in protecting our future generations. It is especially important to have rural advocates at the decision-making table, as their input and first-hand knowledge is impactful. Several tribal leaders have seen success in their endeavors when it comes to advocacy.
In 2015, Chief Rhonda Pitka of Beaver became an advocate for the Cruikshank School in Beaver, which was at high risk for closure. With Pitka’s assistance in advocating for the students of Beaver, the Yukon Flats School District voted to keep the school open. Pitka stepped out in hopes to bring awareness, not only for her community, but for other schools that were on the chopping block across the region.
Chief Pitka knows, it didn’t come as a small effort. She spent countless hours traveling away from her home to speak with legislators, and educating decision makers on the importance of small schools to our villages. Now, a member of the Native American Top 40 under 40, the Federal Subsistence Board, Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, just to name a few, Chief Pitka has become one of the strongest advocates for our region.
Another young advocate that stepped up to the plate when his community was in jeopardy is Chief Floyd Green of Rampart. Our 2016 TCC Keynote Speaker, Floyd is one of our region’s youngest Chiefs and has completely revamped the community of Rampart. From convincing others to move back to the small community on the Yukon River to ensuring the school re-opened and stayed open, Floyd has become a proven advocate and an example for young leaders across the region. Floyd has been able to bring his experience back to other communities giving tips on how he has made sure to keep his small tribe thriving.
Our region continues to face many issues that impact each of our tribes, from the State fiscal crisis, to possible reduction in third party revenues in our health care system, to the decline of large King Salmon in our rivers.
It is important now more than ever for our tribal advocates to step forward on behalf of our tribes. TCC and our tribes have been very effective in our recent advocacy efforts. In order to move to the next level of advocacy, tribal members across the state must vote. The single actions which keeps elected leaders accountable to their decisions is each individual voter submitting a vote. We have a new opportunity in 2018 because all Natives are now registered to vote (without any other disqualifying circumstance).
Join Chief Pitka and Chief Green in region wide improvement through the power of your vote.