Our Lost Children

by Peter Twitchell

There was a test putting a vehicle in a middle class neighborhood to see what would happen to it. After a week or so the vehicle was untouched. And then part of the test was placing a vehicle in a poor neighborhood. After a week or so, they checked and found the vehicle had been stripped of its parts.

A sociologist painted graffiti on the vehicle which remained untouched, in the middle class neighborhood, to see what might happen. Upon returning a week later, the vehicle had been stripped of its parts.

The study found that we are influenced by good and bad behavior. In the first scenario, the middle class neighborhood contained people who respected the rights and property of others.

I see a parallel with kids who grew up with Cultural Values being taught to them and being practiced in the home and community, and those who weren’t taught those same values and didn’t have good role models.

Then there are those who are rebellious and choose to go against the norm. they choose to be different. They are lost children who learn the hard way. They lose their identity, language and culture.

Take, let’s say a Yupik’ college age man or woman in Anchorage who gets a job at a fast food restaurant, let’s say on weekends. This college student has a couple stigmas against them. First, they are natives – Yup’iks. The belief the people who run the business is Natives in general, are “undependable”, “uneducated” because they are quiet and don’t talk as much, regardless if they work hard.

They are conceived as lacking a certain social standard and often get a low score of 2 on a scale of 1-5. They are often overlooked for raises unlike their counterparts. And, it doesn’t help our people if they get a job and not show up for work and get fired because they chose to get drunk.

Regardless, don’t give up ever!