Race Relations in 2020 – It is not Black and White

In the heat of the riots and chaos,  as an Alaska Native woman, I have something to say.  I started this blog to hold up in joy being raised in rural Alaska and share the raw and human side of decisions and events I have went through as a President/CEO.

We all agree that George Floyd should not have been murdered. Plain and simple. Right from wrong. His perpetrators are going to trial for murdering him.

The “spin” being used from his death is what I am outraged by.

How can one person, President Trump be single-handedly responsible to solve all the social inequalities of this country? This ridicule comes from people with a motive that they are spinning from this gentleman’s death. 

Give me a freaking break. 

Race relations in this country, across the world, and within individual cultural’s and indigenous groups, such as the one of which I belong, began way before the first contact with white men, and is still alive and well. These issues are not going to be made better or worse, by any single President.

If that is the measurement of a successful Presidency, then President Obama failed miserably. Because if we follow that line of thinking and judging, President Obama should have gotten rid of racism and social inequality. If he was successful, he would have institutionalized systems that would outlast his Presidency. He would have brought rampant prosperity to minority and indigenous populations throughout the nation; and apparently around the globe.

So, let’s be real people, it is not us against them or they against us.

The darkest discrimination is the hatred among our own, the power struggles within our own, and the oppression of our own. No outside dominance has a hand in that.

The fact is between the population of minorities and indigenous people in America, we are the majority and have been for quite some time.

President Trump does not claim to be a dignitary and thank God he is not a good ol’ boy and member of the “political class”. They are called a class, because they are not the movers and shakers of America. They are the roadblocker’s, self-preservationists, and least hardest working people in our nation, making themselves millionaires.

Does President Trump have faults? Well heck yeah. Does he hide those faults? No.

I find is refreshing to have a President, as distasteful he can be, that I don’t have to “read between the lines” or wonder what corporation or outside influences are really driving his decision-making.

This man loves America, and that includes me. I never felt that way with any other President. I was supposed to love President Obama. However, President Obama has enough self-love, he doesn’t seek or need mine.

As for President Trump; like him, don’t like him, but take personal responsibility for your own life. If you are a leader in your community, own your misgivings and create a place to find solutions and hold each other up, do not thrive by stepping on the neck of your own to preserve your own place.

I have had the unique opportunity to work with the highest levels of government as an Alaska Native, speaking on behalf of and responsible to our Alaska Native Statewide population.

I lost patience and respect for some lower 48 Tribal Leaders. They demonstrated a lack of personal ownership, personal responsibility, and seriously, the complete and utter disregard of significant positive changes that the federal government institutionalized for the betterment of Native Americans. Instead they would make speeches of the failure of treaty agreements; but they did not want to or maybe did not know how to do their part in the process of government-to-government relationships.

Institutionalized systems in federal agencies live long past any single administration. An opportunity missed and not even pursued by President Obama. But he hosted meetings with Tribes and he followed on with allocating funding to native american’s that met the guidelines and hoops they were required to before being “awarded” money.

President Trump’s Department of Treasury has no strings attached. This is the fastest and most amount of money ever transferred to Native Communities and with his actions, instead of his words, carried out the most respectful trust responsibility and honored the self-governance of native people.

No other President has done this.

So yeah, he can be crass, but actions speak louder than words. And I have worked with a lot of the political’s and their actions rarely backed up their words.

So here is my question. Why is the wishes of George Floyd’s family not being respected? His family asked that there be peace. They did not want the legacy of their dear family member being forever associated with national pillage.

Secondly, where is the leadership within our own communities that celebrates positive accomplishments in race relations? If our own leaders thrive by withholding hope for their own people, who then is the oppressor?

Here is something to think about. Race relations is a two-way action. Just as we demanded apologies for past bad acts, we also need to accept that apology. Just as there are benefits, programs, and tools put into place so we have opportunities to move individually from poverty to prosperity; we need to utilize those tools and educate our communities about those tools.

We cannot endlessly decry the same hatred toward another population, that we ourselves has suffered. But we need to lead by ensuring that we choose to move forward. We are just as, if not more, guilty of this rut. And this is a rut. It is within that rut, that we have had leaders who prospered individually.

I am crying out this call to action for leaders of our communities to gather our talent, our educated, our culture-bearers, our local people and share the information about accomplishments in race relations. There have been many.

We need to celebrate our wins, nurture relationships with other Americans, and we need to speak upward in celebration; not always speaking upward in despair. That is on every single one of us. We each have the power to communicate these successes, while acknowledging more work will need to be done.

But when leaders continue to neglect recognition of positive strides in race relations; our own leaders are then guilty of perpetuating our sense of hopelessness.

I am not willing to do that. I hope you are not either.