Once upon a time, there was a boy from a small Alaskan Town of Kodiak, in Sept 17, 1962, A small fishing village, or The largest fishing port in Alaska?
The Good Friday Earthquake, shook up lots of folks in those days, Our family moved to Southern California soon after the quake, to Hawthorne California, then out the Canyon Country CA, I really do not know how we were able to move, or why, but I think it was the best thing to ever happen to our clan. We were blessed in being able to see Alaska and its people from a different perspective. We did not grow up with shame or racial hate, To be honest, nobody in Canyon Country ever said or did anything derogatory or even rude, well there was the time in my 3rd grade class, she said “you have funny eyes” you have Chinese eyes, but she was just being observant, the thing I did notice was my lack arm hair, smooth as a baby’s ass. The only other time I could think of was when Rodger Moody, told me, “We thought you were all Mexicans, we just could not figure out why this blond one was running around with them, hahah, if you don’t know that was me, the little blond kid, I do have some Native features, but overall I look pretty passable for a gringo, I am accepted by most white people as being white, which gives me a look inside the specter of being Native, yet not. yeh, me confused too, maybe I should go out and paint the house… There is a big divide, at least in the past, between being Native, and being mixed.
In California, not sure if everyone knew we were actually, “ESKIMOS” we were, which was the only term, they had for Alaskan Natives. Aleut and Athabaskan were Greek at best. There was not white privilege in Canyon Country, at least in the track homes, no it was a working class suburb of Los Angeles. We were poor, but there was a lot of poor, and much worse. We had family, some kids were fostered and were not as lucky, yeah, Me lucky
If there was white privilege’s, it was of little league proportions, like having your white kid at shortstop, when the real shortstop is in right field. That was my first and perhaps only brush with white privilege’s in California.
did I mention that i grew up in a pink house? o fk, haha ok
We could not have grown up more white, than in southern California at the time, I mean we had Nazi kids, I did not know what it really meant, I became interest in history later on.. but I did not see any of that, most everyone was not treated according to their ethnic background, except, perhaps the illegals, they had life much tougher, we had one friend Juan Castaneda, he had to drop out of school to pick onions, sad, the never had a fair chance, he had a brother Julio, and they used to play mariachi music in their garage, such good culture. They might disagree about my claim of no white privy, but that is more a nationality thing< I hope they are doing ok? so many kids from that neighborhood gone.. no my experience with white privy, would have to come elsewhere
I would be lying if I said, anything other than, I have gained by white privilege, but I can not spell it for me life
My first real experience with Alaska Natives, was when I moved to Anchorage to live with my father when I was 15, going from SC to Anchorage, is quite a culture shock, I was tan, and everybody else looked like ghosts, even the natives were pale skinned. for the record, I do not like the color of my skin, when it has not had sunlight, to me I look jaundiced, yellowish, but I am too vane, anther weak trait. damn those jeans. My best friend was a kid from Sacramento named Dave Cox, we were pals, we had “chief” Barry, he was Tlingit, I think. Diamond at the time was pretty white, as white if not more than canyon country. I did transfer to West for a couple of weeks, when we thought we were moving. My brother gilbert wen with me, and I think, Kelly even had a trip. the memorable pic of me Gilbert and John show a few rough kids, this was also my first experience with potent strains of Marijuana, Alaska has been going legal on and off for years. there was a guy named Kirk, or Curt who lived across from us and had lived with a seller, we did not buy much, still poor kids, but this was a great time in my life, another Experience, I got to ride snow machines all over anchorage, until I broke the track on the railroad tracks, when snow started to melt, I even had a girlfriend, she lived across from the school, she was a sweet nice girl, still is, I see here in the fb. My dad would take us to Native places and drop us off, but we never really clicked with the Natives. I knew from those days, the Natives were seen as “salmon crunchers” “Klootches” so many drunken lives wasted. It was my first real experience with Natives and their struggle and persecutions,
There are lots of drunken Native stories, this happens when your are assimilated into a society that you do not fit into unless your blue eyed and blond, well many variations, but the biggest travesty of all? This happens when Natives are abandoned by Natives, more specifically, the Natives that have been washed. You can pass for Native or white, yes, me included. Natives that look white are not being persecuted , but are they helping the culture and future, or just moving on? You see we are not judged by being Native, unless we look Native, or in my case, if you apply for Native preference jobs. I Knew I was being hired for the way, I looked, or actually did not look, or jobs, I also knew it was up to me to keep the jobs, fight for them, I was for sure entitled to these jobs. My understanding was that this was Alaska land of the midnight Sun, land of my forefathers. Alaska Native culture has taken a hit with the claims Act, but also a revival and pride in being Native, I see the whitest people wearing traditional clothes and keeping a culture alive. What makes us Native? People of the land, we are all people of the land. We mixed people have several bridges to contend with, not only being white, but also Native. I have always been proud to say that I am Native, on the same breath, I say I am proud to be white, but that is not as, true, you see white has become a “dirty” name, not as toxic as N, wb, but toxic.
No, it has become a bad word, and even worse in some circles if you say your white and proud, but you can say, I’s Latino and proud, or Native pride, no it is not pretty, it is downright ugly. Most white people can care less if your green blue or orange, as long as you have something to trade. there in lies the problem, we had nothing, we only had land, well it was traded alright. we now pay to live on “your land” we pay lots too. we can not afford to live on our land, we are not even allowed to Own land, with out a group, well that is not true, you will give it to us, then tax tax and more tax, until you can get it to auction. I long for taste of Native culture, to eat the seals the creatures to live on the land, Our and. Remember the song ” this land is our land, from the shiny seas, to the… ok forgot that one.
I made it out, I got us out of the village, well my parents and their fateful move to S-CAL, changed our world forever. This is where I start to go down a darker road, the oppression, of the Native people, has been done through law, by the United States Government, on many forms. The Native activist have really gotten to stop blaming white privilege, sure it exist, but not for all whites, they ugly too, no it is doled out on looks and social standing. We have Native privilege, that is my story. that is where I come in.
Stuck in the middle with you
Well its kind of like that, stuck in the middle, not white, not Native, Mixed. this is a kind of flux, kind of sorta like horseshoes. not quite. Living in anchorage, was not like these days, Natives have come a long way, since the days of ANS it was the main hospital for Alaska Natives and other tribes, before they invested in the Mega structures we have today, that has been one of the single most important, I know shoddy grammar, but really, Those hospitals and the care, Was worlds removed from the days of ANS. the days of 4 hour waits, with a blown up strep throat, then turned away 3 times, before finally giving out a prescription for penicillin, or the time, a dentist removed some gauze from a couple of years ago, I remember the gauze, dentist, he had the smell of booze on his breath, Most Natives understand the change, we had these nice hospitals, being Native had value, We were a valueble people to get these nice hospitals. I am not sure it it was Native ingenuity or the powers that be, to step in and say, enough is enough, the facts elude, me, It seems inconceivable, that the greed has persevered, over the years, millions of oil and minerals pilfered from Alaska over the years, these jobs were not given out to the Native people, no it was Oklahoma, Texas and Californian’s that took these high paying jobs. (remind me to tell the van story, an adventure with some okies from the stokies, me gill and kel ambushed them) No these high paying jobs were not for the Natives. ( I say than anybody interested in Native issues, should read my grandmothers, listen to my grandmother’s recordings, the same issues are today, as they were then, jobs, respect and Native pride, she talks one point, about a teacher that asks all the Native kids to raise their hands, the more full blooded natives did not raise their hand, they were instead, to be ashamed of being Native, not my aunts and Uncles, they all raised their hands, proud to be Native.
Ok, so Im still not to the point
We all have family ties, well most of us, know at least one parent, What is it that most of us want? We seek happiness, acceptance? love? I think im starting to babble… met me just get it out
My parents both grew up in Orphanages in Alaska. that was their parents, and orphanage, my father, actually liked the Orphanage, better than being at home. My parents were divorced when I was ten years old, and the years that he was there, were turbulent, but my whole life has been the same, for different reasons, but I really think we all want to give our children an improved chance, better than we had. that is normal right? My dad never knew his dad, this is such a bad thing, in my opinion, I know that my grandmother knew, I have the paper, and Joseph Colin, Knew, it just would not make sense otherwise, I wonder who else, knew, the Olls for sure, they secret keepers. I must say this about the ollies, they are the only white, line that can be legitimately traced back to Norway orgins. without any DNA hocus pocus, just kidding. well, It would be like the pot, calling the kettle black. is that how that goes. I think that I come from a long line of breeders, am eye, then the problem? I think not. No people living today, are the same people living 500 years ago, we have all melded, one way or another with many other genes. ooops.No our Native Communities lack the leadership of families, the worst alcoholism child abuse and drugs, than any population in America. For every white looking Native, there are ten drunken Natives suffering on the streets or in villages. We the people did this, Our government. when they government gives land to individuals of almost a million acres. Nobody can afford to live on Indian land. Have you seen the foot prices, and get this, the subsistence lifestyle, is for all Alaskans. this has been the biggest sell out of the Native people in Alaska, BIG WORDS, i know, but never truer. Alaska is land of white privy, for sure. The privilege even extends over the commercial fisherman. one of the biggest wastes is the sports fishery in Alaska, I can not tell the amount of times, that I have heard of wasted fish, that someone wants to get rid of after being in the freezer a couple of years, that is not fresh. The one thing that ties Alaska Natives to the land is a subsistence lifestyle, instead they are given corporation, The government learned the hard way, in creating tribes, in America, they become Nations, the Navaho Nation, sounds much better and more inline with sovereignty, Koniag Corporation, really feels nothing like Native pride, be like us, think like us, and you will be assimilated, just like us. that is fine and dandy, but not all Natives have been assimilated, nor do they want to be.
We must be a Team
sports have always been part of my life, and sports is where you can show grit. what have Natives lost, they lost their land, first and foremost, they lost their culture, which was living off the land, a subsistence lifestyle, but even the least modern Native, could or would want to survive a subsistence lifestyle, without modern convenience, it is one of my white friends go to phrases to assert their supremacy, how would we do if we had to use baidarka and bow and arrows, without fancy snow machines and planes. believe it our not, my grandfather, Kelly Simeonoff was hunting in a baidarka in this Century. Here is another fact for all you white skinned Natives, if you had as much as an 1/8th of Native, you were considered “Native” Not today, they expect you to be full-blooded, even though, it was common knowledge to breed out he Native in us. so you can say, your whiteness is a success.
My Privilege was white as snow
My privilege, came in the form of looking white, but being Native, this has been somewhat of a curse and a blessing, you see, I have been scorned by whites, for not being pure, and scorned by Natives, for looking white. seems confusing. I lived a lie, at times, I knew, I was not only being hired as a Native, but also for looking white, now you can get away with being white, or mostly white, until, you invoke some of that entitlements, and I do believe that Natives should be given jobs and training. We are the caretakers of these people, not just our government, but all of us, maybe, I have gotten my family out of the abusive lifestyle, but there are many more, that deserve better. White man came and raped the land, this is a song by the Eagles, so prophetic, yet so true. I really do not like the term “white” it is so ugly these days. my first big break, job wise was when I was accepted into the brotherhood of carpenters, local 1281 in Anchorage, Alaska, I had originally applied and fluncked the math test, this was an outrage, I had not done math since the tenth grade. it was not hard math, basic, but I had forgotten, all of it, I was disappointed, I knew to refresh, but cocky young man that I was and 3 kids, I went back and applied again, they were just starting, a first year class, and I was in luck, they needed a Native, well that was me. Our class was mostly white males, a few females and Alvin and a girl Native. I got up to speed on my math right away. Alvin was from Kotzebue, up north he was Athabaskan Indian, and proud, but he was on his 2nd time doing 1st year, because of his lack of math skills and perhaps his drinking. During this time, I was still drinking, not really, I was on the dry drunk train, I would white knuckle it until, I could hold out no more, and bam, drunk and in the bar, in trouble again, and again. The Native girl was so quiet, I do not think she ever talked, not sure if she made it to second year, so many drop out. we did have a girl make it. what was her name, Lynette, not sure. I knew, that claiming Native status for jobs, was going to put me in the fire, and I was in it to the end, either from the privy or the Native side, but I expected it. I had lots of almost fights on jobs, and even punched Alvin in the stomach, after he refused to quit harassing me. This was my white privilege, looking white and being Native, it was white privilege, but not to the extent, of the same jobs, these are good paying jobs, we had the likes of a couple of Hickels, lots of relatives, who were lacking most work skills, they mostly used laborers to harrass the Natives and “run them off” was a common used term. I met many good Native peoples in my travels on the jobs, like George McGinty, full of character, little concrete guy Roy T, or how about Burgeron, big Native guy, he did doors, that is all jambs and doors, mostly jambs, what was his… Hank, cant spell names, but Hank Burgeron, they was a guy younger than me, Willy, he was hustling, most of us were, it was elbows and assholes, except for some of the “special” hires. But really, that was just a select few, most had to earn their worth on those jobs, we knew who produced and who did not. My own privilege, was getting to work with some of the best foremen and on the best aspects of the project, I gave 100% nobody would say I was a special hire. I also got a job working in the Native hospital, a computer specialist, best fun job ever, except the maintenance dept., that was a fiasco, bad mistake, a clear case of grass, not only not being greener, but more like hot pavement, is was another look a the Native side of Nepotism, but at least they are Natives, and it was just not for me, I knew it was the first day, yet sometimes, we go blindly though the storm, until it is light or, you get fired. :/ I got lots of jobs, Native jobs, looking white. it was the best of both worlds, I would have had a hard time, doing the same thing in the states, not impossible, but much harder. Well I can honestly say, that is would never have happened in Arizona, no way no how. This is not American Jobs, Arizona, is home to the illegal Contractor, Carpenter and most of these are people just trying to make a living, but the union here is as corrupt as they come, I was called whetto, which was their slur on Gringo, this was not just one or 2 of them, it was an anti-white culture. hell, they even do it to their own, American counterparts, now it must be said, that not all of them are illegal, just most of them. that way they do not pay benefits, I know they refused me, even after several attempts to collect, I was given the run around, and under constant bullshit, it was not the illegals, I knew this, it was shit flowing downhill, and I was in the sewer. I did meet some great people, but overall it was a slave ship, so this goes both ways in Arizona. crooks.