To the editor:
With all the negative ads and personal attacks, we can all agree this has been an unusually difficult campaign season. It’s unfortunate that in addition to attacking the other candidates, the Miller campaign is also attacking supporters of Lisa Murkowski. To see one example, please read the letter submitted by Dr. Jensen last Friday. The letter repeats the deceitful attack developed by the Miller campaign that Alaska Natives don’t benefit from Native Corporation involvement in government contracting.
Dr. Jensen doesn’t seem to understand that the dividends paid by the Native Corporations on the Island add up to millions of dollars per year. In addition, hundreds of thousands of dollars are distributed annually in the form of scholarships and funding for job training. We also provide funding for language preservation, protection of our lands and other initiatives important for our culture. While some of our shareholders may rightfully argue that we need to do more, it’s hard to make a legitimate claim that Alaska Natives don’t benefit at all. But what Dr. Jensen really doesn’t understand is that the non-native community in Kodiak reaps benefits as well. The dividends we pay are spent by the Native population in Kodiak which strengthens our local economy. We create jobs that are filled by both Natives and non-natives alike. We also make charitable contributions that benefit everyone.
After the political season ends, we need to get back to the business of being a community. Unfortunately, when residents like Dr. Jensen forget this, and engage in an unwarranted attack on a segment of Kodiak’s population purely for political reasons, one outcome is certain. One candidate will be declared the winner, but the community will be the big loser since we will have squandered some of what makes Kodiak so unique. While members of the Native community have a variety of political views, we find a way to work together to better the lives of Alaska Natives. Native corporations, tribes and a variety of nonprofit organizations all play an important role in promoting the health and wellbeing of Alaska Natives on Kodiak Island.