by Naparyaq Marcus Alexie
Based upon my observations, our villages are not the only village or government system in which an old boys network exists. You will also find these types of networking scattered across the contiguous 48 states in every Tribal Council, Regional School Board and Board of Directors. The old boy network campaign for each other, in person and social media instead of thinking, “This person actually makes sense, they have an education, why not campaign for them?”
The old boys network has only one agenda; to provide jobs for their families. The Old Boys Network are involved everywhere for so long, they’re comfortable on their seats and their agenda is to provide family members with jobs who will not protest them. For example, you will find family members on the Regional School Board, Board of Director Seats as well as the Tribal Council. These guys only have their own personal agenda in mind and that is to keep family members working for their own personal profits. THIS DOES NOT WORK!
To go above and beyond, we as Yupiit should recognize people for their intelligence, goals and determination to see thriving communities. The culture mentioned above, that we have recently adapted to caused turmoil within our communities. The issues we face cannot be resolved, because the only agenda everybody has is to work for money. The old boys network is the face of greed in our communities, that our communities do not have hope in a better future, because we have been stagnant for decades.
The problems we face do not only start from The Old Boys Network who have been involved in the Tribal Government, board members for schools and corporations. The problems also start with you and me. If we do not get educated, we will never know how to resolve issues our communities face. This letter should serve our youth as an encouragement for upcoming generations to get educated.
Go out there! Get a part time job and become an independent person! Support yourself while attending college or training because your parents are not going to support you forever. I had to learn this the hard way because I thought that I’d see my parents grow old together. I lost my dad to cancer a few years back and I’ve been struggling to provide help for my mother. Without struggles in our lives we will never learn to cope with future trials and tribulations.
If you cannot pay for your education, go online and research for financial aid and scholarships of your interest. The resource is right there at your fingertips. If you do not have any internet access to go online, go to your local library. Maybe while you are there, you will come across books that you can read. Social media is not the only fun thing you can do online, use Google and search! Associate yourself with people who are of like mind!
The Yupiit have many that have pursued a higher education. We the knowledge to move forward with problems in our communities. We come back to our villages, in attempt to change the old boys network that we have adapted to, only to be viewed as enemies. We are crushed when we present any formal changes that we would like to see, because we speak up for professional and ethical reasons. Our Tribal Council Members, Board Members of School Districts and Corporations and even Tribal Government and Corporation employees will no longer see their stipends, paychecks and trips to the contiguous 48 states for their meetings. They are afraid to give these luxuries up so they hire people who will not speak up, so they can sustain a broken system keeping the status quo. They hire people who are blind, and not determined to get things done to solve problems.
Once we cross the border of keeping these problems hushed, we become enemies to those that sit on your Tribal Government and Board of Directors seats. These guys are NOT leaders. A leader stands behind the crowd to lead them to a better destination. Your leader can be humble like my father who worked for the school district and got his job done. Your leader can be loud and stern like my mother who speaks up for her beliefs and opinions. Then your leaders in your professional life will push you towards better destinations. A few of these people I have met never failed to put “we” before “I’. Leaders bring us to destinations and when we solve these problems conclude in “we did it, rather than “I brought you here.”
We need leaders like this.
Naparyaq Marcus Alexie is a resident of Akiachak, AK.