Get involved in your community

by Peter Twitchell

The privilege of serving your community is not to be taken for granted. I am saddened that our Bethel community lacks in local involvement when the opportunity to serve on the Bethel City Council presents itself.

Only two natives to our city are running for re-election/election. This is a sad state of affairs when our native community sits back and expects new comers to Bethel to serve on city council and dictate to us the course of community matters in our local government.

I had the privilege of running for the Bethel City Council two-year term back in 1977, it was almost 100% local people on that council except for 1.

Today our community is, at best estimate split 40% newcomers, and 60% local native population today. My feeling is that we should have at least half local people running as City Council Candidates!

We cannot depend solely on newcomers to Bethel to determine what happens to our native community of Bethel.

I did like the fact that Mitchell Forbes, a city council candidate, did post his political poster on the other side of the bridge in East Edition as it is known today. The Yup’ik name is Aagurmiut.

The make up of our community may change but we don’t. This has been our community from the beginning and our children go to school here now.

Get involved as parents in your children’s schools, get on the Bethel Advisory School Board, get on the Lower Kuskokwim District Board, and by all means become a Bethel City Council Member. As true Bethelites let’s be involved in our children’s education and our city government.

New Comers will one day leave Bethel, but we who are native to Eskimo Country will always be here, and so I urge you to get involved in your community, otherwise, don’t complain if you are not happy with the decisions that are being made on our behalf. Thank you – Quyanaqvaa!