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Sarah Palin, the elderly, the disabled, older Americans and rural Alaska

[revised]

naomidagenbloom 2008 September 2

Vuee, Vuee, We need to hear MORE from you now about the way Alaska has come into our consciousness via your governor–the believer in “stakeholders.”

Readers can’t get off that easy, Little Red Hen— what questions do folks have?

The reason I have been rather quiet, blogwise, is because the news from rural Alaska about living there isn’t good. There has been next to nothing improved since earlier posts, this includes the past 18 months of the personable Gov. Sarah Palin. I’ll give examples below, but they sound depressing. So readers, what do enquiring minds want to know? If nothing else, I can at least point you to some good sources of facts or commentary from Alaska perspective.

An older friend of mine (from Tucson) sends this musing upon the early photo of Sarah Palin and her caribou ( http://newsminer.com/photos/galleries/2008/sep/01/sarah-palin-growing-alaskan/1156/. It is the photo of the red-nosed caribou NOT a reindeer.)

>My deep reflections, caribou inspired::
1. Macho women don’t need to wear pantsuits to assert themselves.
2. Most currently popular female names go from my daughter Michelle to my mother Sarah.
3. Sarah definitely shoots better than Dick. How about Joe’s expertise with firearms?
4. Candidates should not be judged only on basis of age, gender, and looks.
5. Candidate’s children are given on-stage prominence. It should be unfair to have the youngest ones debate politics, but what about having a food fight?

————————————-

  • there’s the older gentleman who is resigning himself to move 400 miles away from home to be near his grandkids because his grown children had to move to Anchorage to find work to meet the utilities payments
  • there’s all the older people who need an assisted living arrangement or nursing home (a 400 mile trip, if one can afford to get into Bethel from the village to get on the jet)
  • there’s fuel oil at $6-15 a gallon
  • there’s the Bush-Cheney stimulus payments which only went to those who have taxable income. They don’t go to those who cashed in IRAs early to pay electricity or who struggle to make sense of their returns.
  • there’s electricity at 40 cents or more per kilowatt hour (with a subsidy for residences) in rural Alaska (Wasilla pays considerably less, without subsidy)
  • there’s gasoline, needed to go out and “grocery shop” on the tundra or out in the river, at $6 to $18 gallon.
  • there’s gaining grandmother status at 34
  • there’s raising grandchildren at 70
  • there’s having your one-time $1200 “energy check” from the state stolen by your children for smokes and booze

2008-09-04 Look guys, what someone else found
gov-sarah-palin-call-in-kyuk/

2008-09-04 Fact Check of Governor Palin’s Speech http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2008/09/saradise-lost-chapter-twenty-five-obama.html

PALIN: “Senator McCain also promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest – and as a chief executive, I can assure you it works.”
REALITY: PALIN OPPOSED CRUCIAL EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE AND SENIORS FUNDING […]

Andrew Halcro does a fine job at http://www.andrewhalcro.com/grading_palins_speech_a

Also: tech support has a listing of reasonable sources at Sarah Palin content

2008-10-27 Palin’s gaffe about her policy on “special needs” while her record shows she has none
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/BlueOasis/~3/431498178/showDiary.do


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Picturing Alaska history : USA territory to statehood

Turner Publishing (http://www.turnerpublishing.com) asked if I would consider reviewing a new book. I’m glad I agreed. Historic Photos of Alaska has just been published, a large format book of black and white photographs from the period 1867 to 1979. Dermot Cole, long-time columnist for the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer, provides the text and captions.

As a journalist, Dermot also has an interest in history (apart from his twin brother, Terrance, history professor at University of Alaska Fairbanks). Dermot Cole is the author of Amazing Pipeline Stories published by Epicenter Press in 1997, about the people and Fairbanks during the Alaska oil pipeline construction.

The perspective of Historic Photos of Alaska, is for those readers outside Alaska. That is, this is a pictorial history of Alaska as part of “America”. [Through no fault of this book, many in the US will still consider Alaska as a foreign body, along with New Mexico.]

The photos are arranged by time periods, from purchase to statehood– 1867-1905, 1906-1919, 1920-1940, and 1941-1979. These periods represent significant periods of US and Alaska relations. The orientation is a deliberate effort to stand apart from the usual Alaskana picture books. Another significant difference in this book is the choice of rarely seen photos and not the ubiquitous ones. The photos are reproduced with sufficient quality to review again and again and see something new each time.

Readers can follow themes such as regional changes (southeast Alaska also known as the Northwest Coast compared to Nome in northwest Alaska) and transportation. However, other themes can be chosen by readers according to personal interest.

    Dogs
    Most of the dogs are Alaska huskies (freight variety), such as ones on pages 44 and 55 and in harness, page 58. However, the team on page 67 is actually part of a Saami family (reindeer herders originally from Scandinavia. Note the hats and boot toes.) The harness setup is very different from that of the Eskimo family team on page 128. There are also sporting dogs (early 20th century conformation) such as the one on page 92 belonging to Jim Haly. Look carefully. The dog has just spotted another dog out of view, and kicked up a cloud of dust with his hind legs.

    Electric trees
    Even on the frozen tundra of Nome (page 111) and sprouting ever more branches over time in populated areas such as Cordova page 120 and Fairbanks page 151.

    Military
    One way to trace the influence of the military in Alaska is through men’s hats in the photos. Since Territorial days, the military has been a significant economic and development force in Alaska. Much of the early geological studies and geodetic surveys were military. World War II and then the Cold War continued the inflow of money and people. Photos from pages 168 to 180 show differing aspects of building the Al-Can or Alaska Highway and the later battles of Attu and the Aleutians. (see related posts here on the Al-Can and the Aleutians, https://theelderlies.wordpress.com/special-projects/photo-index-cking-wwii/)

    Miscellany
    Everywhere. The curiosity of Edwardian women’s fashion in open-air fish camp (useful against mosquitoes I suppose); the plank streets (for cars and horses) 400 miles from the nearest highway; even a Piggly-Wiggly store outside of the South.

Dermot Cole avoided the shop worn stash of Alaska photos. However, the next to last photo, page 197, is of the oil pipeline’s zigzagged engineering (to avoid temperature stresses) up the North Slope and over the Brooks Mountain Range. It’s a clever homage to the iconic Klondike gold rush photo of the future miners traipsing up the Chilkoot Pass.

I do have some quibbles with the book. There is an amazing variety of horses depicted but no photos of cows at Creamer’s Dairy in Fairbanks (I like the image of the wood stove chimney peeking out the milk truck to keep contents from freezing at 40 below).

More importantly, an outline map of Alaska is needed, with the places of photos identified.

The southwest of Alaska is mostly excluded. Considering that most folks in or outside Alaska believe everyone lives in an Eskimo igloo, it would also be helpful to include a map of languages/cultural regions in the state. Most readers will not be aware of the significance of the temporary, river going, hide boat depicted on page 44 built by the Athabascan Indian trapper to bring his skins to market. Compare with the more permanent skin boat built by Iñupiat Eskimo marine hunters on page 103. I already noted the Saami family.

The period of the first half of 1919 is missing although extremely important in the demography and history of non-urban Alaska. Upwards of 80% to 100% of people in some communities died during the pandemic of the “Spanish Flu”. The Jesse Lee Home (I ran across this recently published history) was one of several that cared for orphans left behind (those that survived long enough for help to reach them).

A suggested reading list would be nice, including Steven Langdon’s 1993. The Native People of Alaska. Anchorage, AK : Greatland Graphics. ISBN: 0936425172 9780936425177 OCLC: 27405205

A great companion volume would be John S. Whitehead’s 2004. Completing the Union: Alaska, Hawaii, and the Battle for Statehood. Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press. ISBN: 0826336361 9780826336361 082633637X 9780826336378, OCLC: 55665367

This book is not supposed to be a comprehensive pictorial history. Cole did an amazing job just to make a selection from all the possibilities and put together such an enjoyable book.


——————-
[Dermot Cole. 2008 Historic Photos of Alaska. Nashville: Turner Publishing Co.
# ISBN-10: 1596524243
# ISBN-13: 978-1596524248
# LoC 2007938665
Hardcover: 216 pages, Language: English, Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 10.1 x 1 inches, list price $39.95]


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Supercentenarian from Yakutia believed oldest person

From Circumpolar Musings at Yukon College, an excellent source of nordicite news.

Yakutia is an important province for Russian America and Alaska. The Evenks are an important EurAsian-American cultural influence. See for example, http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1220/p14s02-bogn.html “It’s no accident, Vitebsky explains, that we associate reindeer with flying.”

[Seems to me that there ought to be a separate term for those in their second decade of centenarianism. Any suggestions? My Latin isn’t good.]

Friday, October 5 2007, 04 PM
Woman from Yakutia Is Believed to Be the Oldest Person of Earth
Varvara SEMENNIKOVA, who is 117 years old, received a letter from the upper House of the Russian Parliament

VLADIVOSTOK, October 4, vladivostoktimes.com On Wednesday the 117-year old native of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic Ms. Varvara SEMENNIKOVA, who is thought to be the oldest person on the Earth, received a certificate of honour from the Federation Council of Russia, the Yakutia Republic Committee for family and children reports.

Ms. SEMENNIKOVA (nee DYAKONOVA) is an Evenk. Her age has been verified by the National archive of Yakutia.

Employees of the National archive found a record in a church book of the Bulun Spassk Church (on the shore of the Laptev Sea) on Varvara’s birth on May 10, 1890 to “a native of the second Haltyn Nasleg of the Zhigan Ulus of the Vilyuisk District Konstantin Stefanov DYAKONOVA, lawful wife Maria Konstantinovna, both of Orthodox confession.”

http://www.vladivostoktimes.ru/show.php?id=15337&p=


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