Be a voice for your people

by Peter Twitchell

One of the great privileges we have as Americans is we have a voice on many levels including boards and commissions. As citizens of the great state of Alaska, we are the governors of Alaska’s Boards and Commissions.

A good incentive for us to be involved in our Great State of Alaska is to be a voice of the people.

Let me share a little bit about my involvement in boards and commissions beginning as a young man in my twenties. I didn’t realize it then but do now; I didn’t have to be an expert in the various boards and commissions I served on. I learned as I went along.

I became a City Council member of the municipality of Bethel when I was 27. Before that I served on the Bethel Council on the Arts when Pat Barker was our Chairman. We brought in musical talent to Bethel, such as the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

That was awesome, these guys and gals came in on the evening Wien jet one winter evening. They were dressed up in their tuxedo’s and shiny black shoes! I’m sure they got cold, but boy did they sound good at the National Guard Armory that evening.

I was then chosen to be an advisory council member of the Bethel Council on the arts.

I became interested in the Bethel Schools Advisory Council member and got on there with Dr. George Brenneman and Lucy Crow, with others.

When my term was over with the Bethel LKSD ASB, I became an LKSD District Board member. I served on there when Paul Kiunya, and Louie Bunyan were members and I learned a lot from everyone, including Sue Hare who was Superintendent of LKSD.

When I was 31 I became the Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference. We worked to get the native voices of the North to Greenland, Canada and Alaska.

Each country was involved and we worked to access a satellite and through transponders managed to get native programming.

We all benefit today, as an example, the American Native Call-in show, with headquarters in Anchorage. Each country from Bethel to Barrow, St. Michael to Kake, Frobisher Bay, Northwest Territories to Montreal and all across Nuuk, Greenland benefits from broadcasting their news, sports, public affairs programming in their own languages.

I have been AVCP’s representative to Rural Alaska Television Network Council or RATNET as it was known from 1978 to 1994. We worked hand in hand with the Commercial Broadcasters, ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox, and were successful to get sporting events, such as basketball, football, Native Youth Olympics, the Iditarod Race and so forth to rural Alaska, and news such as APRN, Jeanie Green, and public affairs programming to the bush.

We all learn by being involved, we were not experts in the field, but we knew something about it.

It is so important to be a voice for your people. Get on a board or commission, you’ll be glad you did!

I would also like to THANK all who voted for me for the BNC Shareholders Board of Directors. I didn’t make it to the board but appreciate your support. Quyana.