Changing the status quo

Cynicism is a destructive thing. It exalts the negative in all. It saps positive energy. It doubts our potential to change our world.

But if cynicism is destructive, it is also creative, leaving apathy in its wake. Those of us afflicted with cynicism often lack the will to meet problems head on, to break through barriers, or seek solutions, because we feel, and feel deeply, that it won’t do any good.

People often become cynics for very real reasons. We can feel all too keenly the inequity in our various systems, or experience the reality of racism, sexism or injustice on a daily basis. We can feel too keenly the oppression of disappointment, when, every now and then, an opportunity comes along for real change, and despite how much we hope for the best or how much we work for the common good, nothing happens. Just as we thought.

But now a few individuals are presenting us with another reason to hope. Aresta LaRusso and Joshua Mihesuah are pushing for a Flagstaff Area Commission on Urban Native American Affairs, a group which has the potential to change the Native American experience in Flagstaff. The commission would deal with housing, education, and medical needs of Native American residents of Flagstaff. It would advise the Flagstaff City Council and Coconino County on critical Native American issues. It would make the Native American voice heard, a voice too often ignored or overlooked.

It is about time for a group like this.

Flagstaff must more fully recognize its position as a bordertown; it must acknowledge its role in a larger community. Flagstaff needs to take an active role in addressing the needs of all its residents, including Native Americans. It needs to listen.

Perhaps it is tempting to say that this will never happen. But, elsewhere, it already has. Organizations like this commission have already been formed in other forward-thinking communities. But success will only come with community support, when people come forward to say that an organization like this is crucial to bettering the quality of life in Flagstaff for everyone, when people come forward to affirm that it is high time that avenues are opened, opinions expressed, actions taken.

We should not be cynics when it comes to FAUNA. An organization like this, sanctioned within the city and county governments, would be a groundbreaking move toward equality and toward empowerment.

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