Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

What will Alaska look like in 10,000 years? Who will be here? What will they do? And, most important, what will preserved from the past kilennium? These are not easy questions. Even thinking about the next decade, let alone thousands of years, gets interrupted by every crisis that requires our attention. There is business to transact. Cell phones buzz. Unanswered emails compound. And, so, we think about the now, not the next.

The First Alaskans Institute recently gathered a group of people together for a week in Bethel to think about the future.  Elizabeth Medicine Crow said: “I think intuitively it makes a lot of sense for Native people. But I also think for most people it’s really hard to wrap their arms around, ‘what does that mean? For 10,000 years.’ It’s really not so much of a mystery for us because we can actually turn around and look directly at our past because we’ve been here for longer than that. We know that as stewards of our time, on behalf of our people, that we have at minimum a trajectory of that much time to look forward to.”

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