We must do the best we can for our people

by Peter Twitchell

Mr. Ivan M. Ivan has been a leader in his hometown of Akiak, Alaska before he joined the military or before becoming the Representative in the Alaska State Legislature from 1990 to 1998, serving 3 terms in Juneau.

As a Democrat, Rep. Ivan moved to the Republican Majority so that he had a good vantage point somewhere in the middle to observe and hear both cons and pros of proposed legislation that would negatively impact his District and Rural Alaska.

Then Rep. Ivan would put the word out to Rural Alaska residents and Yupiaq people of proposed legislation that would positively benefit villages.

The subsistence way of life has been hit hard in recent years due to regulations. Back in the 1990s he was told by his Elders that our subsistence life was important to the children and the people of rural Alaska because Native foods kept natives healthy and strong in a harsh environment since time immemorial mentally and physically.

The natives of Alaska celebrated their children when they were born from their mothers’ womb. The native people were taught “Yuuyaraq” by their Elders to love one another from the youth to their parents and grandparents.

Unfortunately, the times have changed drastically. Since colonization and the introduction of drugs, both pharmaceutical and street drugs, have poisoned the minds of our youth. Ivan Martin Ivan sadly stated the bad spirit of alcohol has taken over people long before their time.

Today Ivan M. Ivan is as sharp as he ever was. Our democracy he told me reminds every one that we must do the best we can for our people and in a broader sense our Tribes must remind our youth to always do the best we can for our people and to always stand up for our people.