Writing Raven (Native Tlingit/Athabascan) on Sarah Palin’s egregious policies and attitudes toward Native People and on the spuriousness of Todd Palin’s claim to a Native (Yup’ik) identity, which is being reported as an uncritical fact in the lower 48.
Indian Country Today (the newspaper of record in Native America) on McCain/Palin’s egregious policies toward Native issues.
A mefite chimes in: You will hear often that Alaska has the highest rate of forcible rape in the US, but you will almost never hear why. The one and only reason for that is the very high population of Native people, long regarded as fair game for rapists and criminals and poorly protected by the state and, too often, inept tribal law enforcement authorities.
Such jokes are *common* expressions of masculine and white power in rural Alaska. So is the rape they refer to. And this isn’t just Alaska. Rape of Native American women by whites taking advantage of their vulnerability is quite common in other Western states as well. But it’s worse in Alaska.
People don’t understand Alaska. They think it’s like any other rural American state. It’s not. The presence of Native people is much stronger and larger than in other Western states, the history of their disenfranchisement, and their resistance to it, much more recent. And the exertion of Anglo power over Natives is much more brutal and subject to much less oversight. Alaska is bigger and far more rural and far less policed than any other state in the US, by a long shot.
So Sarah Palin’s “pay for your own rape kit” policy, while it may have been targeting the inclusion of emergency contraception in the kit (you want to bet this was justified as “the government won’t pay for contraception for rape victims, or anyone else,” and not directly by the cost of rape kits), was among her various anti-Native policy initiatives and statements, as I document in a post above.
You think I am kidding? Here’s Amnesty International’s report on the issue. You will there note the statistic that one in three Native Alaskan women will be raped in her lifetime. From personal observation, I’d say that might be a conservative number based on a narrow definition of “rape.”
Make no mistake: Alaska is founded on a racist and genocidal stealing of Native lands just like the lower 48. The only difference up there is that it is still going on big time, and that oil wealth and a later start to the genocide gave Native Alaskans a little more of a fighting chance than the Indians of the lower 48 had.