Saturday, October 07, 2006

Alaskan Native Violence Against Public School Teachers and Their Families

On August 12, 2006, I left my home in Euless, TX, leaving behind my wife, Stella, and my four-year-old son, Dakota, and flew to Holy Cross, AK, a remote Athabascan village, located just off the Yukon River in western-interior Alaska.
In Holy Cross, I was scheduled to beging serivng as a secondary-generalist for Holy Cross School on August 16, 2006, when I would begin my new-teacher in-serve in McGrath, AK, where my new school district, Iditarod School District is headquartered.
As a secondary-generalist for Holy Cross School, I served in the capacity of Engilsih/Social Studies/PE teacher for grades 6-12, an overwhelming assignment, but one I could no longer resist since my call to return to teaching was so great.
Per my teaching contract with Iditarod School District, I would live in teacher housing adjacent to Holy Cross School. When I arrived in Holy Cross, AK on August 13, 2006, the teacher housing I was supposed to move into, apartment #2 of a two apartment complex, was unlivable. The ceiling of the apartment itself had collapsed and the interior of the apartment was trashed.
Before arriving in Holy Cross, AK, I had spoken to with Joe Banghart, superintendent for Iditarod School District, and Kay Holbrook, principal for Holy Cross School, on numerous occassions oftentimes about my having housing ready for me when I arrived in Holy Cross.
Luckily, the door to apartment #2 of teacher housing was unlocked. It was visibly occupied by someone, whom I would soon learn was a young couple: Billy and Alpha O' Neal, the computer-technician and Linda-Mood-Bell reading specialist respectively for Holy Cross School.
I felt humiliated by the helplessness of my predicaament. As it was, Alaska Airlines had lost my luggage containing all my dry-goods food and my sleeoping bag. When I landed in Holy Cross, the weather was cold and rainy; hence, I needed heat in my or rather our apartment. The Toyo stove which I knew nothing about that served as the heating unit for apartment #! was disconnected. I sat in the lonely gloom of the cold, determined to perservere despite my miserable circumstances.
When I landed in Holy Cross on August 13, 2006, no one was on the landing-strip to greet me other than the wife of Troy Turner, Holy Cross's chief. She was only there to pick me up because her husband was obligated to do so because he works as a baggage agnent for Frontier Flying Service, the airline that had flown me from Anchorage to Holy Cross.
The chief's wife merely drove me from Holy Cross's landing strip and depostied me bags and all in front of my dysmal housing situation. Once I settled, most uncomfortably into Billy and Alpha O' Neal's apartment, I soon learned that not only did I not have heat, I also had no propane for my stove. This proved especially problematic because I had purchased an Igloo cooler full of meat while layed-over in Anchorage. Additionally, I had purchased two cans of chili along with my meat, for I misltakenly believed that Alaska Airlines would find my lost luggage in short-order.
With no way to cook my meat, I devoured my two cans of chili my first night in Holy Cross, crumpled up on Billy and Alpha's love-seat, covered up with my denim jacket and fell into the dreamless sleep of the exhausted.
The following day, I requested help from a fellow Holy Cross School teacher, Jeff Bader, to help me with hooking up my Toyo stove, the heater for my apartment. For reasons unknown to me Bader had chosen not to meet me at Holy Cross's landing-strip on the day of my arrival, but he had made it clear to me on the phone before I left Texas that he might greet me when I landed in Holy Cross, but most probab ly wouol not.
While seeking Bader's assistance in hooking up my heater, I requested that he help me to get my stove up and running. Bader could not start my heater because as we soon learned the fuel-oil tank outside was empty. Additionally no propane tanks were available.
Bader gave me directions to Holy Cross's lone fuel store. I had to pay $5.45/gallon for heating fuel-oil. I could only afford five-gallons. After paying for the fuel-oil I had $26 left to my name, for the expense of relocating me to Alaska had devastated me and my family financially.
Once Bader and I poured in my five-gallons of heating-fuel oil into the empty tank outside, we had no other option than to disconect a propane tank from Kay Holbrook's, again Holy Cross School's principal, apartment where she lives with one of our Patti, an elementary school teacher for Holy Cross School. Neither Holbrook nor Patti had yet arrived in Holy Cross.
After setting up my heater and stove, I took a frigid shower because no hotwater was available. The unlit water-heater for teacher housing was located inside Holy Cross School which I did not have access to.
I then began to desparately find some way to contact my wife back home in Euless, TX. The phone-lines were dead in both units of teacher housing. Bader had mercy on me and allowed me to use his phone.
I then made my way into Holy Cross village. I found City Hall there and quickly discovered that they had an Internet Cafe I could access. The computer technician overseeing the Cafe, Brandon ______, very reluctantly allowed me to use a computer and spoke condescendingly to me about using the computer itself. Once I finished with the computer. Brandon looked me dead in the eye and told me not to come back.
I simply walked out little knowing that Brandon's act of discrimination would be the first of a legion of diiscriminatory acts committed by villagers and, perhaps worst of all , by some of the teaching/administration staff at Holy Cross School that would all but break me and my family by the end of September 2006.
Branon ______'s, acting as a emplyee of Holy Cross School, discrimination against me caught me completely off-gaurd. I had no way to respond to it.
I am very gregarious, though, I chose to disregard my encounter at City Hall, and I began to walk the village. Had I not done this I would have sat in total isolation in my dreary apartment until my teaching duties began.
I soon met Ernie Peter's, one of the village's drug-pushers. I introduced myself while walking about in the village. After the initial hello, Ernie asked me, "How do you like being on my land?" He then launched into a tirade against whites, and then informed me that should I ever cross him he would go "straight to the superintendent." How does one respond to this?
Because I did not giver Ernie the response he expected, he paradoxically, showed me the additions he claimed to have buitlt onto his house. He then invited me to take a ride with me to Holy Cross dump.
Once there, Ernie offered to sell me a gram of marijuana for $25. I declined, and he made it clear to me that I was to remain quiet about his daalings.
My concern began to mount. In my conversations with Kay Holbrook, our school's principal, before I arrived in Holy Croos, she had all but told me the same all while I told her I could not turn a blind eye to criminal behavior, especially if that behavior were directed toward me, my family, and/or my students.
Our school year began out August 23, 2006. Immediately, I could see the damage inflicted by alcohol and drug-abuse upon my students. Most of my middle-school students were clean. Most of my high school students were not. Nevertheless most all of my students suffered through the abuses of their parents and other relatives, Within a month I would learn that the violence within the homes of many of my students included all forms of domestic abuse fueled by the infestation of drugs and alcohol in our village.
Each day, the bulk of my high school students came to class either stoned or hung-over from the previous night's abuses. On the whole their short-term memory is zero; they can barely articulate any position other than their right to get high at their leisure wihile thay swell themselves with "Native Pride;" and they academically performed at a level far beneath my middle-schoolers.
In this high school class is Ernie Peter's, Jr., son of the aforementioned village drug-pusher. I soon learned that Ernie was a chip off the old block. He had been supplying some of my student with marijuana.
My zero-tolerance policy for student drug and alcohol abuse, let alone use, soon rose to the forefront in both our school and village. Once Kay Holbrook surmiized that I would not heed her request to turn a blind-eye to criminal behavior in our student body and the village we all lived in, Holbrook sensed I was homing in on Ernie Peter's, Jr.
Suddenly, Holbrook informed me Ernie was only thirteen-years-old. I found this distressing because as I recall, Holbrook had informed me at the beginning of the school year that Ernie was adult-aged and that she had moved him in with the high school class only because she felt sorry for him being adult-aged, yet being mixed in with a middle-school class.
I run a unique classroom which empowers my students in unprecendented ways. I would soon learn Holbrook and the village's position on my doing so. The student empowerment of which I speak involves student goal-setting, specifically in regard to career choice and immediate related training after high school; mission statements and core-values (Athabascan traditional values); setting up a classroom economy using play-money for a money-supply in which students all adhere to a uniform budget with real world bills (they are also encouraged to barter, auction, etc [Holy Cross had no cash economy outside ot drug and alcohol trade]; the establishment of a classroom governemt (based on tribal structure in this case) complete with chief, mayor, tribal council, and the additional positions of banker and teacher assistants.
Within our classroom community, my chief and mayor are responsible for enforcing posted classroom rules. Punishments for breaking these rules are progressive. The first offense nets a warning and $25 play-money fine; the second offense nets 10 minutes in the hall and a $55 fine; the third offense; results in one period of in-schoo-suspension and an $75 fine; and the fourth offense results in a full-day of ISS and $105 fine. The fines are important because I pay my students $330 per month most of which goes toward scheduled bills through out the month which additionally receive a letter-grade if paid or not.
My biggest offender is Kateri Demientieff, an 8th-grader, who has spent most of her schoo year in ISS. Kateri begins her day smoking dope with Andrew Demientieff, an 11th-grader who has told me he regularly gets high because it is the only way he can be himself.
Within our village the standing joke is the Alaska State Troopers. We have no law-official in Holy Cross. The nearest troopers are in Aniak, AK. The villagers know their crimes we receive token punishment if that and will more likely be completely overlooked.
In my recent telephone conversations with Alaska State Troopers, specifically with Officer Spencer out of Aniak, AK, I learned that our village chief, Troy Turner, is a registered sex-offender (he raped a minor) and a known bootlegger and suspected drug-smuggler (he is a baggage agent for two-airlines that service Holy Cross, AK). Turner roams the halls and classrooms of Holy Cross School at his leisure. I often see him during the school day sitting at Jeff Bader's, the teacher whose room is next to mine, desk.
Turner often traipses into our school with men I have never seen. Because we are right off the Yukon River and have much boat traffic, I never even know where these men are from. Additionally I never know if they are armed or not because everyone carries a weapon with them when they step outside of Holy Cross's "city"-limits, and our school is located on the road that leads to the "Beach" where boats come and go from Holy Cross through out the day and even into the night.
In addition to Turner, Matthew _______, one of the chief drug-pusher's who sells to my students is roaming our school halls, classrooms, and office as much as Turner is. Matthew is the boyfriend of our school's secretary, Carolyn Burkett who has a daughter, September, in my middle-school class.
I run a student Crime-Stopper program for my students. They report to me any student, for example, drug-and-alcohol abuse to me confidentially and I then convene a student tribal council. I and the council place the accused on an informal hearing. The council and I then render a verdict based on presented evidence.
My first and last student tribal council hearing occurred on September 22, 2006. The near immediate resultant protest from the village and our principal, Kay Holbrook, was alarming.
When school lelt out that day, Holbrook told me to be prepared to have my apartment "bombed, the door-kicked in, or stoned." Holbrook turned around and walked off, leaving me on my own to handle the threat.
My wife, Stella, and my four-year-old-son, Dakota had only arrived in Holy Cross on September 17, 2006. Before they had arrived on the night of September 14, 2006 while I sat at a picnic table on school property, a village elder, Yaska (sp.?) Alouicious (sp.?) walked by and cursed me repeatedly. I informed him to stop and never curse me again. He walked off still cursing me. He returned within fifteen minutes and began cursing me again. This time I got up from the picnic table and got in his face, telling him to never curse me again. I stand 6'5" and weigh a muscular near 300 lbs. When Alouicious saw me stand, he wanted to shake hands, but I told him his disrespect made this impossible.
I worked for years as a night-club bouncer in Dallas, TX, statistically the most dangerous city in the US. Never had I had anyone curse me in the way Alouicious had. The day after the cursing, I reported the incident to Peter Demientieff at TCC Sub-Office and to our village chief, Troy Turner. I advised both that should my soon to arrive wife and son be cursed in such a way as I had been , I would have a much different response to whomever dared abuse my wife and son.
So after having been in Holy Cross for only five-days, my wife and son found themselve in Harm's Way based upon what Holbrook had relayed to me about our apartment, Alaska-state-owned teacher housing being "bombed, the door kicked in, or stoned." What compounded the situation was the fact that I was standing up for myself as a human being in the face of those villagers in Holly Cross who believe it is their inherent right to abuse especiallyl new teachers.
I will be damned if anyone "bombs, kicks in the door, or stones" my home, especially when my wife and four-year-old are inside. As it was, my first week in Holy Cross, near midnight one night someone stoned my door and unleashed in a tirade of cursing.
So on the night of September 22, 2006, I had to sit out in front of my home until 3:00 am on September 23, 2006. I had only a K-Bar Marine Combat knife and a throwing tomahawk to arm myself with. As I held the line in front of my home, I whittled a club out of cottonwood. Only my watch kept my home safe. I already knew the Alaska State Troopers were a joke, so why call them?
Even worse was Holbrook's apathy which became visibly apparent when I first arrived in Holy Cross to my trashed out apartment with collapsed ceiling, no heat, no way to cook, no hot water, no phone, and no washer.
The no-washer problem proved critical in this nightmarish mix. Holbrook in our phone conversations during the summer had informed me I most probably would not have a washer that worked. I told her I absolutely had to have a washer. Joe Banghart, our district superintendent had promised me a washer along with an apartment ready to go when I arrived in Holy Cross.
For almost 2-weeks I had no way to wash my clothes. Finally I asked Holbrook if I could use her washer. She informed me that Patti Keon, her roommate, would not be happy about my doing so, but Holbrook allowed me to use their washer nonetheless.Each time I washed a load of clothes I had to go through the ordeal of having to repeatedly knock on Holbrook and Keon's door before I could finally get into their wahser. Sometimes they simply would not come to the door.
I put up with this wierdness for only two separate wash days. As the time neared for my wife to arrive, I pushed harder for Holbrook to get me a washer. Her story varied by the day about the specifics of its arrival. At last I suggested that Holbrook move her washer into a common-use utility room connected to my apartment. Her response was that "[Keon] would never allow that."
The Thursday before my wife arrived, I forced the issue of the washer with Keon. She informed me that once my wife and son arrived, I could no longer use "the washer." I was dumb-struck. I contact our superintendent, Joe Banghart, and the following day I had a brand-new washer.
On that day, one week prior to Holbrook's relaying the threats against my person, home, and family, Holbrook approached me and informed me to never again go "behind her back" in regard to Holy Cross School issues. I argued my posiition which I refused to back down on.
I had already expressed my concern to district about Holbrook's mandatory reading program form my students. It consisted of forcing my middle-school students to use a book entitled "5th Grade Reaing" along with a stack of workbooks all with "5th Grade Spelling," etc. Holbrook enforced the same program with my high schooler: I had seniors shamed by having to use "6th Grade Reading" book and accompanying workbooks all entitled "6th Grade Spelling,"etc.
Holbrook's agenda quickly revealed itself as being wrecklessly dangerous for my student, all of who were capable of so much more. Worst of all Holbrook could not have proved more detrimental to the safety and well-being of me, my wife, and four-year-old son.
My family and I lived in a disgracefully small apartment. Iditarod School District charged us $400-per-month for the apartment along with charges for utilities, propane, fuel oil, and water. Joe Banghart, our district superintendent attempted to change my rent during teacher in-service held in the first week of September. I held myl ground. I soon learned that the district had charged Billy and Alpha O' Neal $550 per-month for their apartment durinjg the spring semester of 2006. Their apartment was the exact same model as ours.
You must understand that a non-Native can rent a good three-bedroom house in Holy Cross for $300 per month. However, I could never get a straight story from any of the natives about even their own properties that were up for rent in the village. Also, no leases were put on paper. One former villager Dan Richards, who now lives in North Pole, AK, attempted to gouge me and my family by offering me a modest log-cabin for rent for $700 per month. I offered $300 he insisted on $550. The deal fell through, especially since I knew for a fact Richard's was known for gouging new teachers and then upping their rent- easy to do with no lease agreements.
My apartment was ringed by windows on two of our outside walls. If a villager chose to do so, he or she could easily have terrorized especially my four-year-old by shattering one of our window which we had to either sit beside or sleep under due to the absence of space in our tiny apartment.
The weekend of September 22-24, 2006, is one my family and I will never forget, especially my wife. Not only had she been shunned by most of the village but she had been by most of our school's teaching staff as well
For example, Jeff Bader, Holy Cross's secondary-generalist for Math, Science, PE, and Shop, has encountered my wife in the village and simply walked past her and my son without saying a word. This was hurtful to my wife because, though she had been in Holy Cross for less than a weeking the level of shunning directed at her by the village and by some of our school's employees was reaching an intolerable level.
Bader's actions, or lack thereof, are distressing when coupled with the effectiveness of his teaching. Right now before me I am looking at Holy Cros, Spring 2006, Alaska Comprehension Assessment results for Math.
For just grades 6-9, ten of our students failed the Math section of the exam, and only three students passed. In addition to Bader's contribution to the student failure rate at Holy Cross School, Bader perhaps worst of all has buddied up with Troy Turner, village chief, registered sex-offender, boot-legger, and suspected drug smuggler. At any time of the school day, it is not unusual for me to look into Bader's classroom and see Troy Turner sitting at Bader's desk. Additionally, Bader allows Turner, along with most of the men in the village, to use our school shop at his leisure, especially after school hours. Turner is frequently using taxpayers dollars to fix his boat(s) and/or vehicles. Horrifyingly enough, Turner and Bader took a large part of our student body to what is loosely called "Culture Camp" weekend-before-last. You must understand that Turner is a walking advertisement for booziing it up. His tee-shirts and vehicles reek with slogans and logos all promoting alcohol abuse.
On or about September 27, 2006, just three days after Bader and Turner's "Culture Camp," Turner's 5th-grade daughter, Danielle, along with two witnesses confided in me that Rhonda Peters, one of my 8th graders, had socked Danielle in the nose, leaving a visible cut. Once I confirmed what had occurred I placed Rhonda Peters in in-school-suspension for the day. Incidentally, her brother, Dino Peters, one of my 7th graders, had the day before at the end of the school day shoved Rochelle Yaskadeck, one of my 8th graders, from behind, quite violently.
I have had endless discipline problems from Rhonda Peters. Her sister, Bambi, one of my 10th graders, is equally as undisciplined. Dino, their brother, tries his best, though. His shoving Rochelle was unexpected in some way. However, the exhaustion and rage I see in the Peter's kids faces almost every morning is disheartening. I shudder to think what they experience at home. According to some villagers who have confided in me incest/child-molestation is rampant in Holy Cross. Dino often looks so sad, but he is trying so hard. He is only a 7th grader. I could easily break down crying now as I write you, for the horror is to overwhelming to bear. Dino has confided in my that his alcoholic father refers to dope as his "Big Medicine...."
So Rhonda and Dino spent the day in ISS on September 27th.At day's end, Holbrook, our principal, Turner, the chief, and Leroy Peters attempted to corner me in my room. I stood my ground. Turner told me I was out-of-line for disciplining Rhonda Peters, who I socked Turner's daughter Danielle in the nose, leaving a visible cut in the process. Peters, too, said I had no business disciplinng his "grand-daughter." As it is, there is no parental presence in Holy Cross. Most all of the village's kids run wild until dark and sometimes after. I argued this point with Holbrook, Turner, and Peters. The foundation of my counter-argument was that most of the violence of children-against-children occurred on the grounds of Holy Cross School well after school had let out. These school grounds are the front yard of my teacher housing. Additionally, the old, now deserted Mercantile (deserted after a Holy Cross resident shot and killed the store-manager at point-blank range), located approximately one-half block behind my family's home, is the principal drug house for many of my high school students.
Worst of all, our principal, Holbrook, allows two essentially abandoned pre-schoolers to have free reign of our school's playground even when our school is in session. On Wednesday, September 27, right after being confronted by Holbrook, Turner, and Peters, the younger of these two pre-choolers attempted to pistol-whip my four-year-old son Dakota with a toy gun. Dakota held is ground but took a blow to his thumb. The abandoned pre-schoolers answer to know one, and they stepped back only out of primal fear when I intervened on my son's behalf. Dakota sobbed hysterically in my arms. He had witnessed his mother and father give up everything, vehicles, a home, most of our furniture, and most of his toys- all the known for him - so he could experience the horror of Holy Cross. Dakota then beat the "shit" out of the abandoned pre-schooler who had attempted to pistol whip him. I then cut a willow club for Dakota to defend himself with. He short order he ran the two abandoned children off our play ground.
This is why I stood my ground with Holbrook and company. My meeting with Holbrook and "friends" was about much more than what had happened to Rhonda Peters that day. Instead Holbrook and Turner informed me that they were both happy with "things" in Holy Cross. Holbrook once again, and for the last time, idirected me to turn a blind-eye to the abuses and or criminal behavior that I witnessed in the village, where incidentally me and my family lived. Turner told me that in Holy Cross "when you turn twenty-one, you can do whatever you damn well please." Simultaneously, Peters neared hysteria as he threatened to "call the superintendent" on me. Peters also argued hard about his legal right to purchase five cases of beer and two fifths of whisky each month. Turner then, along with Holbrook began to attack the structure of my successful student communtiy, particuarly my student Crime Stopper's program and my all but engraved accompanying motto boldly stated on my board: "Alaska State Police eyes are on you." ( would learn within twenty-four hours that indeed they were as illicit protection for the criminal elements within our village).
I fought Holbrook, Turner, and Peters. I strongly argued that when the criminality of the village affected my students at any time of the day, it was my ethical and legal responsibility to stand up for the abused within my student body, especially amidst the parental apathy of Holy Cross. I held the line, too, on the right to preserve the integrity of my and my family's place in the village no more so that when my wife and son dared to venture to the Post Office and/or the Tribal Store.
At that point, after almost seven weeks of being on the receiving end of the worst level of discrimination I have ever suffered through and worst of all what my wife had to endure and my four-year-old had the great misfortune to experience for the first time in his so very young life, I had had enough. In addition to standing for Good in the uglyl face of Evil as best represented by Holbrook, Turner, and Peters, I attempted to tell this unholy trio of how I and my family had suffered while in Holy Cross.
Turner's response was: "Do you know what this sounds like to me? It sounds like all about "Poor, Tony." Turner repeated this over and over. I became enraged, my family had given up our all in order to come and serve the village of Holy Cross, and this was the end-result- the intoleralbe mockery of an Athabascan chief, a registered sex-offender, bootlegger, and suspected drug-smuggler, sitting all but arm-in-arm with Holbrook, the principal of Holy Cross School.
In light of the mockery and seeing Holbrook truly exposed for the danger she poses to our student-body I told her, Turner, and Peters that I had had enough. I fired out a possible letter of resignation to our superintendent, Joe Banghart. I was consumed with indignant rage and have no idea of the specifics of what I wrote that sordid afternoon. What I do remember is that my wife and four-year-old had come over to see me in my classroom. They waited outside until the conflict inside was over. Gerald Peters, one of maintenance men, informed me my wife and son were waiting for me. I requested that he tell my wife and son to return home immediately. Turner, Peters, Holbrook, and Keon were creating a commotion in the hallway outside of my classroom. I knew if they dared assault my wife and four-year-old, I would resort to necessary physical self-defense.
I brought no firearms with me to Holy Cross specifically because I had bankrupted me and my family by my desire to return to teaching and serve the village of Holy Cross.. During the weekend of September 22-24, 2006, I fashioned a seven-foot, heavy spear from a length of cottonwood and the shank of an Old Hickory butcher-knife. I am skilled in close-quarters combat and feel at home defending myself and my loved-ones with a combination of combat-knife and tomahawk. After the threats and exponential build-up of hostilities between me and the criminal elements of Holy Cross, not the least of which includes our principal, Kay Holbrook, it was time to arm myself more heavily.
After my confrontation with Holbrook, Turner, and Peters, the night brought with it only quiet. As is, I am a curious mix of Norse and Cherokee blood. I roam the woods surrounding Holy Cross with the greatest of ease. The bear and moose, both of which Holy Cross Natives are mortally terrifiedof, greeted me with the great respect I showed them. I camped much and hiked much, falling in love with the Yukon. No one knew what to think when I disappeared into the Bush for days or when I simply hiked far out of the village carrying only my K-Bar Marine Combat knife and throwing tomahawk. Additionally, I am rather shamanic.
After riding out the night of September 28, 2006, my wife broke down, sobbing hysterically on the morning of September 29, 2006, her fifth day in Holy Cross. The shunning, discrimination, and terroristic threats she had weathered devastated her in front of our four-year-old son, Dakota.
At that moment, I decided to contact Takusko House in McGrath, Alaska, where live Dan and Lisa Green. I requested that Dan make an emergency flight into Holy Cross in order to evacuate my wife and four-year-old son. Dan borrowed a plane from Magnuson Airlines located out of McGrath, AK and then fought his way through the mountain ranges blockaded by bad weather between McGrath and Holy Cross.
After arranging for the evacuation of my wife and four-year-old son, I wife frantically packed what she could into one suitcase, and we in short order departed down Airport Road to await Dan's arrival.
While we waited at the airfield, Troy Turner circled us, with a wide berth, repeatedly. Ernie Peters, the aforementioned drug-dealer, arrived, too, with his wife on a four-wheeler. Peters, visibly high, began repeatedly stated, "See what I told you would happen [if I dared stood up against the criminal element in Holy Cross]. Peters, taunting me in front of my wife and four-year-old-child had also arrived with Turner in tow. A shipment had arrived on Hageland Airlines.
I told Peters to get out of my face. His blatant disrespect was emblematic of that of his village and a large part of his children's teaching staff at Holy Cross School.
Shortly thereafter, a Husky Spirit Airlines single-engine plane dropped out of the sky like a moth. On board with the pilot was Jeff Denton with the BLM. Both he and the pilot commisserated with the plight of my family. However they were not surprised. Both seemed numbed to the terror of what was occurring to us, for according to both of them we were being subjected to a generic terroristic response Athabascans and/or Eskimos subject their public school teachers to. As quicklly as Denton and the pilot had plopped into our lives they were once again aflight.
Dan Green arrived right behind Husky Spirit. He loaded up my wife and four-year-old son and turned to me and asked, "Aren't you going?" I refused to, and I hugged him twice holding back my tears before he evacuated my family from Holy Cross.
I saluted Dan and my family, thrusting my seven-foot spear into the sky and raising the clinched fist of True Grit. I then hustled across the runway and picked up a trail that ran for miles to a spot downriver on the Yukon. Benumbed, I trekked into the Bush without being able to further think. Once near the Yukon I selected a camp, cleared it, gathered wood, and selected a choice piece of cottonwood out of which I would craft a bow.
By dusk, I made my way back into the village, gathering my snares and duck trap along the way. Under the cover of darkness, I arrived back to my apartment and rode out yet another night.
On Saturday, September 30, 2006, I decided it was in my best interest to relocate to my camp on the Yukon. With Turner, Holbrook, and Alaska State Troopers appearing to all be sharing one another's back pocket, it was easy for me to infer who would go to jail if I were forced to defend myself with my combat knife, tomahawk, and/or heavy spear.
Saturday morning before I evacuated out of Holy Cross, a moose cow and calf approached me. The cow came within twenty-yards of me. I marvelled at the cow and her calf, their gentleness all while the Natives were terrefied of both of them.
I then packed out of the village. For a while, I built a bonfire on the wide sandbar of our rapidly evaporating slew located just behind Holy Cross. I wanted the Natives to see that my family, with me as its sole representative, still stood strong. For hours I hand crafted a five-foot bow and enjoyed the company of a red fox who watched me from his island across the slough from me.
Sunday, October 1-2, 2006 is all but lost to me, immersed in the savagery of my situation and the wildness of the Yukon, I had begun to lose, yet very much find myself.
Exhausted, I slept on a bed of fir boughs inside my tent within my camp on the Yukon until almost noon onTuesday, October 3, 2006. Shortly after arising, Julian Diemientieff, a local bootlegger, chanced upon me, tracking me by the smell and smoke of my campfire. We visited for well over an hour, graizing on rose-hips while we talked.Julian injformed me that Iditarod School District officials and school-board members had arrived enmasse along with two Alaska State Troopers. We then bid each oither farewell.
I had intended to return to the village around 5:00 pm that Tuesday evening on October 3, 2006, for i had made a foray into Holy Cross during the morning of October 2, 2006. I learned while listening to NPR out of McGrath that Iditarod School District's Board meeting would be held on the night of October 3, 2006. I also learned that our assistant superintendent, Karen Lattegard, had accepted my "resignation," and had simply requested that I return my school key. Also I contacted my wife in McGrath, who was now staying with my four-year-old at Hotel McGrath becasue Dan and Lisa Green had headed out Sunday October 2, 2006, for a trip to Australia. I learned from my wife that absolutely no one from our district's office, located in McGrath, AK, had contacted her about the safety and well-being of our family.
After Julian Diemientieff and I parted company on the afternoon of October 3, 2006, he returned within the hour and told me that the Alaska State Troopers were requesting that I return to the village so that I might fly out of Holy Cross with our Iditarod School District officials. As it was, I had no money to rendevouz with my wife and four-year-old son. I had thus planned to have Dave Walker a pseudo-sympathetic villager run me by boat upriver on the Yukon to Ruby, where I would then pick up the Iiditarod Trail and then hike through hard country to McGrath, AK.
Julian gave me a ride back into the village. No sooner had we broke camp than we were met by an Alaska State Trooper riding side-saddle with Matthew _______, the chief drug-pusher for my high school students and boyfriend of our school's secretary, Carolyn Burkett. As mentioned earlier, Matthew roams the halls, classrooms, and office of Holy Cross School at his leisure during school hours.
I chastised the trooper for the apathy of Alaska State Troopers which had placed my family in grave danger. The trooper informed me that our superintendent, Joe Banghart, was offering me a severance package of $1000. The trooper urged me, too, to fly out of Holy Cross with our district officials who were to depart within the hour.
For whatever reasons, Julian drove me straight to the troopers' aircraft. Their stood the trooper I had just chastised, our principal, Kay Holbrook, our assistant superintendent, Karen Lattegard, another trooper who requested that I turn over my school key, and right in the middle of this mix stood Matthew ______, again one of our village's most destructive drug-dealers since sells to our student no more so than in my high school class. Matthew _____ gloated over his standing in this sordid affair.
I refused to turn over my school key. I told Julian to drive me to my apartment. Once there, I called my wife and told her that was no way in hell I was getting on that district plane.
Shortly thereafter, there was a knock on my porch door. There stood our principal, Kay Holbrook, and our superintendent, Joe Banghart. I learned the school board meeting had long since been held. Banghart offered me safe passage on our district plane to McGrath and his earlier mentioned $1000 severance package.
Banghart was requesting that I abandon my family possessions. I informed him that they were not packed and that I could ill afford to leave them behind due to the spate of thievery within the village.
I also informed Banghart and Holbrook that they had incurred an immeasurable amount of liability due to their misrepresentation of my teaching contract along with luring me and my family into the most dangerous, life-threatening circumstances I had ever faced. Far worse than this was the trauma that had been inflicted upon my wife and four-year-old son during their now just over one week in the hell of the seemingly inescapable Alaskan Bush.
Banghart and Holbrook then exited the steps leading up to my residence. I never saw the spineless, colluding Alaska State Troopers again. I then began a night of packing, which I did not finish until early in the morning on October 4, 2006. In the midst of the packing I arranged for evacuating my wife and four-year-old out of the state of Alaska back home to DFW, USA.
In the midst of our travails, when no Alaskan public official dare come to the aid of my family in its Great Hour of distress, I contacted Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (TX) office in a desparate bid for help. I told Senator Hutchinson's office that I really needed the assistance of the State Department. I had found Alaska and the general spinelessness of its residents of all color and the terrorism and descrimination of the Athabascans to be an abomination and anything but American. I have spent much time in Mexico and would stand a far better chance of surviving there than I would in the situation in which I came within a hair's breadth of losing my family along with my life because I dared to stand tall against the criminality rampant in Holy Cross, AK.
On September 29, 2006, I calmly told my wife what to tell my four-year-old should I be blind-sided by one of the cowardly Athabascans in Holy Cross. It was a conversation neither she or I will ever be able to forget.
On the morning of October 4, 2006, my wife informed me that we had just enough money to evacuate me out of Alaska along with her and our four-year-old son. I pressured her to reveal our checking account balance to me. She vociferously protested. I forced the issue nonetheless and soon learned that my wife was depending upon our checking-accounts over-draft protection for the sake of reuniting our family and for finally getting us to safe ground: getting the hell out of Alaska.
I refused to go. I would sit with our belongings in Holy Cross and deal toe-to-toe with whatever menace that might want to violate my family's property. I had gone stone-cold. My wife was hysterical. Once she and my son flew out of McGrath on Penn Air to Achorage, my wife called me and informed me that just as she was departing the Hotel McGrath, she saw an Iditarod School District van come to a screeching halt in front of the hotel itsel. Out bouded our superintendent, Joe Banghart, and handed a $1000 ISD check to my wife. Stella gave Banghart a piece of her mind conveying primarily how much pain our family had been through. He then boarded the same Penn Air flight that my wife and four-year-old son were on and sat as far away from them as they could, never saying another word again to my wife.
Before Banghart handed over the $1000 check to my wife, I had called him and demanded $4277 to cover all of the expenses that were inflicted upon my family beginning on September 29, 2006, when I had to arrange an emergency evacuation by air for my wife and four-year-old son out of Holy Cross in order for them to escape the life-threatening circumstances they found themselves trapped in. I further informed Banghart payment of the requested amount would not release him and Iditarod School District from the liability incurred upon them by deceitfully luring me and my family to Holy Cross with misrepresentations of what Holy Cross was reallly all about: absolute lawlessness.
Banghart dismissed my request and began repeating himself about his offer on the previous day to fly me along with district officials out of Holy Cross to McGrath. Additionally he continued to push his $1000 severance package initially offered to me by an Alaskan State Trooper riding side-saddle on a four-wheeler with one of Holy Cross's most notorious drug-dealers, again that being Matthew _____, our school's secretary, Carolyn Burkett's boyfriend who roams the hallways, classrooms, and office of Holy Cross School at his leisure during school hours. I renounced Banghart and informed him that I was sorry I had ever put my trust in him because he had so misrepresented my housing arrangement in my teaching contract, the true criminal nature of Holy Cross, and the unheard of leeway Turner, a registered sexual offender (he raped a minor), bootlegger, and suspected drug smuggler; and Matthew _____, the pusher who provides my high school class with drugs both have in regards to Holy Cross School.
Additionally had I known of Holbrook's mandatory Reading program, forcing my middle-schoolers to read from a 5th Grade Reading Book and my high school students to read from a 6th Grade Reading Book along with both grade-level's commiserate workbooks, I would never had taken on the immense challenge of simply teaching 6 separate grade-levels in English and Social Studies in addition to serviing as a PE coach.
Worse yet, had I known of the level of incest/child sexual molestation within Holy Cross, I would never have brought my four-year-old son there to a village where a registered sex-offender, a convicted child-molester, has free reign of Holy Cross School with the blessing of our principal, Kayl Holbrook, and our district officials not the least of which is our superintendent, Joe Banghart, along with Iditarod School District's school board.
My family and I had come to serve the people of Holy Cross, AK. We gave up most all of our belonging including our home, our furniture, our two-vehicles, and worst of all, almost all of my four-year-old son's, Dakota's, belonging. He lost his known world in order to experience terrorism, shunning, discrimination, and a near pistol-whipping by the younger brother of two abandoned preschoolers whom our principal, Holbrook allows to play on school grounds throughout the school day and then well into the night. Neither abandoned pre-schooler will mind an adult. The younger one who attempted to pistol-whjp my four-year-old, cracking my son on the thumb with a pistol butt, did understand me when I intervened on behalf of my son. This happened in our front yard which is the school yard itself. Dakota then learned a lesson to early about beating the shit out of someone who is physically attempting to harm you, especially by pistol-whippijng. I watched my son who just turned four on August 26, 2006, beat the devil out of the younger of the two abandoned pre-schoolers, and then witnessed Dakota, my son, running both hellions off the playground, while he, Dakota chased after them with a willow "club" I had given him for self-defense.
Once my wife called me from Anchorage, and had informed me of our improved financial standing, I immediately booked my flights with Frontier Flying Service that would at long last extract me from the Pit in which I had all but fallen - may God help the weaker man or woman who will follow my footsteps in the name of Service to Holy Cross.
My first flight from Holy Cross to Aniak, AK departed at 12:55 pm. I began packing all of my family's bags with as much as I could. Additionally, I secured all of the boxes of our belonging and left a note for Iditarod School District to ship our belongings to me in care-of-my mother-in-law who lives in Fort Worth, TX. I left an additional note warning the Holy Cross Natives of the danger they would find themselves in should they choose to steal the remainder of my family's personal effects that I had to leave behind as I rushed to pack what I could for my evacuation out of Holy Cross not a moment too soon.
At 12:45 pm just day-before-yesterday, October 4, 2006, I scrambled to load my family's seven bags onto a red-plastic sled which I hoped to pull down the muddy approximate one-and-a-half miles down Airport Road to Holy Cross Runway. My bags fell repeatedly in the mud while I was pelted with a rain-and-sleet mix. By an act of God, one of the town's numerous drunks, Dolly Alouiscious, who lost control of her vehicle in a DUI accident all but on school grounds during the first week of school, stopped on her four-wheeler and offered me a ride to the runway. We stacked my mountain of bags onto the back of her four-wheelerand bungie-corded them off. Dolly straddled the four-wheeler,standing up at the wheel making room for me to sit behind her. She then put the petal to the metal and we all but flew into the landing-strip. Out of no where, Turner appeared he rolled down his truck window and began laughing maniacally. I stared ahead holding myself proudly refusing to stoop to his snake-belly level. Once at the airfield, I thanked Dolly for her acts of kindness for their was one prior to her rushing me to the airfield: immediately after the DUI incident just earlier mention which occurred just as school had been dismissed for lunch. Dolly had just stumbled out of her wrecked vehicle as I was heading to my apartment to lunch. She hugged me and introduced herself, telling me she knew she was not supposed to be drunk. My heart now breaks for her.
Then Ernie Peters the antagonistic drug-dearler pulled up with his wife in a pickup truck beside me and Dolly as I thanked her for her kindness. "Hi, Tony," Ernie and his wife said twice all I could do was what I had been taught so well by the Athabascans: I shunned them, pretending they did not exist.
This shunning is a suprisingly superior psychological weapon, especially when you are all alone 3000 airmiles from sanity. Our principal, Kay Holbrook, and my earlier mentioned colleague Jeff Bader never said my name one time during the weeks that I knew them. Never once did they call my name: "Tony." Pattie Keon, Holbrook's roommate, would either just stare at me or say "What?" when I said, for example, "Hi, Patti!" After four weeks alone in the Alaskan Bush prior to my family's arrival I yearned to be back in DFW which I had deemed to be an absolute hell-hole for years prior to my departure to Holy Cross, AK. I have been subjected to sometimes violent acts of discrimination by both African-Americans in Little Rock, AR, for example, during the desegregation of the early to mid-1970s and by Hispanic-Americans, when I lived and taught near the Texas-Mexico border. Neither group holds a candle to the Athabascans of Holy Cross, AK and their enablers within Iditarod School District if not within the state of Alaska itself.
Moments before my flight out of Holy Cross arrived I kneeled in front of my spilled bags, muddied and drenched cinching them down for their journey bact to DFW. A vehicle pulled up behind me, I then heard the crunching of gravel as footsteps neared. I slowly reached for my throwing tomahawk, readying to split the skull of any who dared to trespass against me. From a distance I heard all but a whisper, "Tony." I turned from my kneeling position with tomahawk in hand. Jim Smola who is our computer expert for Holy Cross School stared upon me in shock. This is what seven weeks in Holy Cross had reduced me to. That was just over forty-eight-hours ago. How does one recover from such horror?
Jim informed me that Banghart via Holbrook had just given him a thirty-day notice of termination. Jim Smola was dedicated entirely to the betterment of Iditarod School District. He yearned for and end to ridiculously high teacher turnover in our district. He yearned for the superior education for our students. He yearned for strong, competent district leadership which we sadly lacked. He did make the mistake of inadvertently "challenging" Banghart's decision to eliminate our district coordinator's position which left an abysmal vacuum in our district office. The end result was endless chaos and misdirection from our district officials. Jim expressed his concern over the elimination of this position to Banhart's coterie of followers in district office, all of whom are paid high-dollar.
Jim's argument was: We have secured the grant money to fill the vacancy with no less than three new-hires. So why have we not yet filled thepositions and more importantly where is the grant money now that is supposed to fund them?
I did not feel free and clear of the Alaskan Bush until I lifted off the ground in Aniak. A gang of Athabascan youths sat outside the airport there, cursing, smoking, spitting, coughing up hoccers, radiating hostility, and dressed in hip-hop regalia. All visible traits of every Athabascan I encountered in the Alaskan Bush. Once on-board my Anchorage flight, an Athabascan woman reeking of alcohol plopped down with a baby in hand in the seat beside mine. Later she would tell me that the baby, her grandson, was two-months old. She was from Shageluk, AK, but the baby's parents were in Anchorage and too abusive to keep their newborn. The grandmother then expressed her great desire to get "high" once she hit the ground running in Anchorage.
I was last off the plane when we landed in Anchorage. I soon learned my wife was terrified when she did not see me step off the plane with the rest of the passengers. I embraced my wife and four-year-old son, holding on to both of them for dear life. We rejoiced in our reunion. We escaped Alaska shortly before midnight on October 4, 2006. Since then we have been all but lost in the whirlwind of unplanned relocation and the ill-effects of post-traumatic stress disordeer. My wife sleep much and cannot get oriented. My four-year-old is hyperaggressive. I cannot sleep or rest, for I am still in the midst of the battle of Good vs. Evil I left behind in Holy Cross, AK.
Once my family and I landed in DFW yesterday morning, October 5, 2006, we had no where to go. Our home, vehicles, possessions, and most of our cash gone, my wife and I struggled to come up with a plan for our having just landed on ground-zero for us - we have nothing other than each other. While my wife and I struggled to plan, my four-year-old son stared blankly ahead, nibbling on the edge of a Burger King cheese-burger left over from the night before.
At last my wife and I settled on the Best Western located in North Richland Hills where we can pay a reasonable weekly rate for a two-room kitchenette. We booked for one week. As is, I pack in groceries as needed from stores some of which are miles from our kitchenette, but I am happy to make the trek for my family, especially since it means I can go into a store and purchase items thanks to a money-economy.
I have now been writing since early this morning. Tomorrow I will consolidate all of the emails I have sent you thus far into one coherent, congruent message.
Since we arrived back in Texas just over twenty-four hours ago, only one of the legion of Alaska State officials I contacted had the decency to check on the safety and whereabouts of me and my family.
Oddly enough, I want to return to Alaska, for my work there is not finished. My middle-school students at Holy Cross School had so much promise. Additionally, I want to wage war against the egregious abuse of tax-payer dollars which is occurring in the Alaskan Bush. Grant applied for and received often just disappear, for example, once Iditarod School District receives the grant itself. Also the schools in ISD, Holy Cross School, for example, is operating with approximately no more than a 30% capacity. To better illustrate this, McGrath School where our district officesa are headquartered operates with approximately fifty-five total students for grades K-12 in a school that was built for upwards of two-hundred students.
No less than ten families in Holy Cross have evacuated thier children to state run boarding schools in Galena, AK and Mt. Edgecumbe, AK, both of which serve grades 9-12.
Also depending upon how Tanana Chiefs Corporation, the landholders of my neck of the Yukon, responds to the horror my family and I experienced in Holy Cross, AK, should they respond negatively I would love to fight to reclaim US land lost to the Native Claims Settlement Act.
But should they respond sympathetically to my family's plight at the hand of their fellow Athabascans and their enablers within Iditarod School District, I could possibly reverse my opinion I currently have of Native Alaskan cultures who seem to thrive off of their welfare-state, incest/child-abuse, bootlegging, drug-pushing and using, haughty discrimination, acts of terrorism, and lawlessness in general.
I am driven to fight for Alaska - only the responses I receive our lack thereof will determine who will be on the receiving end of my wrath.
May God have Mercy on the Wicked, for I damn sure will not.
Tony Dulaney c/o Best Western NE Mall Inn & Suites 8709 Airport Freeway North Richland Hills, TX 76180 (817)281-0727, rm. 129