Changing world. Racist world?
But we have seen these types of things happen in the past. Our modern history is peppered with blatant racism against Alaska Native people. And yes I consider using Natives as scapegoats as racism. If you are interested there is a book called 'Firecracker boys' by Dan O'neill that is a good case of how the U.S. government sees Alaska land and it's people. But there are unfortunately many other cases that never see the light of day. Like when the military fed Inupiaq children radioactive material to try and figure out why they could withstand the cold better than most. Or how the government forbid Alaska natives from hunting ducks because the only season that counted was for the hunters in the lower 48. Or how they dumped millions of gallons of gas and oil across the arctic in metal barrels that leaked and poisoned village water wells.
The unfortunate list goes on and on in a parade of shame and secrets, that still abound in this day and age Whats funny is that I have been warned many times that I will end up being thrown in jail for looking for information about this stuff, the elders insist that to even talk about what the government does in the arctic will warrant me disappearing for the rest of my life. Most of these stories you will never hear because the participants were paid reparation fees and they feel like it meant they had to be quiet. When it didn't.
But the absolute most damaging part of these suggestions is the harm the media is doing to the Native psyche. And I know that it's not the job of the media to do otherwise but in some ways with the wording choice they are trying to rabble rouse against the Native population. Our identity is extremely tied in with subsistence hunting. Our means in which we feed our population, that action alone, defines our self image. Defines if we see ourselves as good human beings, or bad human beings. And when people make a point to say how horrible it is, well they are in fact telling us that we are horrible people.
A past prominent Alaska University president once said in the presence of many native people: ''Native subsistence is nothing more than grown men pretending they were Boy Scouts, thereby evading "real jobs."' And this sentiment is echoed throughout the state, usually stated with a sneer or a laugh, and is regularly accepted in media circles and forums. They no longer use as guinea pigs for experiments but they do use us as scapegoats to avoid bigger issues.
(steps off soap box)