A former VPSO speaks out.
I currently live with my mother and her AK Native (Ahtna) husband in Chistochina but I have not always lived here with my family.
From 2/2001 to 10/2003 I was an active VPSO (Village Public Safety Officer) to Minto. I was employed by TCC (Tanana Chiefs Conference) in Fairbanks. So with my mothers experience with the AK Natives here in Chistochina and with my own VPSO experiences we see that although the Natives here in AK have come along way in evolving into council powers and regional corporations with enough clout for the State to take notice; the Natives are still held back by alcohol. And they are held back by distrust of white culture and other Outsiders.
I loved my VPSO calling and cherished my position in Minto but there were people young and old that worked against me and ultimately left me no other choice but to leave the village overnight in Oct 2003. That summer the village experienced more drinking youth and more vandalism to visiting hunters / tourist vehicles than previous summers. My village patrol car tires were slashed once and my personal pickup truck were tire slashed twice.
It was after the 2nd tires slashing that I ended up leaving the village. Obviously I would end up doing something I would regret later to villagers if I continued to stay in Minto.
I blame Minto, TCC, AST & myself for all that happened in my employment as VPSO. Minto for not holding their own accountable and for covering up that event and various other offenses.
TCC for even letting a village that fails to comply with high and Dry standards still be an active participant in its programs and to continue to receive federal funds, AST for not doing enough to help me out and lastly I blame Myself for leaving so soon instead of staying around and standing up to those that fought against me.
It's the children and youth that suffer when the adults don't look out for them and their future. I let down "my village kids" when I left them.
Because of these recent years in uniform I have become familiar with the concepts of Accountability and taking Responsibility for myself enough to work for my own living. A majority of village problems would cease to exist if alcohol wasn't involved in day to day village living. Alcohol robs the spirit of initiative and the person in its grasp it robs also of life. Alcohol was a factor in 100% of all my Minto village case calls.
Other issues of village leaders misusing power and wielding authority for personal gain are factors in holding back the Natives from really making a positive impact for generations to come. Such events I see happen right here in my parents village of Chistochina.
The current administration of MSTC (Mt Sanford Tribal Consortium) is lashing out and threatening all who oppose them by letters and emails. Mother and I do not plan on hiding from all this.
I will inform others of what takes place and we will stand up. I only hope that others will join in to help change our little community for the better. I realize that these Native Alaskan people have been exploited and had lands taken away. I do know that they fight for respect and work hard in their own way for the betterment of their people and they fight to hold onto their rich heritage but it is slipping away.
I hear through village grape vine that nepotism and familial loyalties exists here in Chistochina. I heard that federal funds are creatively asked for and once received are mismanaged and various people say that the leaders in power here do live off the gov't funds received.
I heard that employee email, phone messages and mail is screened. And I as a former working (but still Active in Heart & Mind) VPSO have applied to work in Chistochina. I have been rejected and my reputation attacked.
In light of all that has happened to me in the past year I still want to serve and make a difference in the lives of the village children & youth. And I am willing to fight for this opportunity whether in this village or elsewhere in the State.
I am writing to various organizations, to attorneys, to the State and am letting my voice be heard about my unfair departure from my VPSO job and of my subsequent dealings with TCC as they drag their feet on my Health Aide applications to lastly include events in this village where I reside.
I may not ever change hundreds of years of abuse heaped upon a great and spiritual people as the AK Natives by the white man & Outsiders. I may not ever change an equal amount of years of alcohol dependence and reliance upon gov't for funds.
But I have already touched a few young lives and have given young hearts a good example to follow in being alcohol & drug free. I have not come this far in life and experienced so much to sit back and let others in my parents village do illegal things and for them to run over my rights and threaten my personal safety or that of my family.
Although I see current helpful programs in good use in the villages I see no long term advantages to such hand outs to the Natives.
Forgive my ignorance in not knowing enough about our Alaska gov't leadership. But I feel dissappointment in hearing that one person steps down from his actions of pushing for Native accountability and more oversight into Native affairs in AK.
Such announcements are a blow to us that quietly serve in the villages, towns and cities. I have currently applied to various police agencies but where ever and in what ever capacity I serve the public in the near future I hope to keep making a positive difference and to earn a good living.
Your servant, Out there so you don't have to be. Seeing what you don't want to see and often knowing what you already knew. And still knowing much more than you think.
Your shield, practicing things that you don't want to exist. Feeling emotions that you don't even know Exists.
VPSO Samuel L Flyinghorse (Hunkpapa Sioux), Chistochina AK