Rotarian Jump tells of adventures with Alaskan tribal council

July 18, 2003
Santa Paula News

Mike Jump of Santa Paula got plenty of “Northern Exposure” where he and his family lived a life of ruggedness for several years.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesMike Jump of Santa Paula got plenty of “Northern Exposure” where he and his family lived a life of ruggedness for several years.Jump recently passed his bar examination and the Ventura County District Attorney’s office employee - who worked with the City of Santa Paula to help secure the Weed & Seed funding designation - told of his Alaskan adventures at a recent meeting of the Rotary Club, of which he is a member.Jump showed off walrus tusks, watertight baskets made of reeds and told how he worked among the natives for several years after graduating from the Indiana University of Law in 1998 with a master’s degree in environmental science.“I was offered a great job in Alaska with the Bristol Bay Natives’ Association,” where Jump was responsible for keeping peace among 32 tribal associations.“I grew up in Santa Paula and the two years my family was in Alaska was an extremely hard life. . .to which I adjusted to extremely well,” Jump noted.Alaska’s population is only about 650,000, 100,000 less than “Ventura County in an area twice the size of Texas. . .there are only three major highways,” leaving over 200 native villages inaccessible.
Alaska natives regained their land in the 1960s and in 1971 the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act “forced capitalism” on the tribes who received a fund of $25 billion.Although the median native income from government trusts is $25,000 to $50,000, the “cost of living is so high it was like $10,000 here,” noted Jump.Jump’s duties included economic development which “I loved and found I had a talent for.”He oversaw social service and economic development programs ranging from the lifesaving Winter Trails and Traditional Knowledge projects which alternating saved lives and drew tourists.The largest population seemed to be “bears and moose. . .I had to carry my 12-gauge shotgun,” for protection from wild animals.Jump said all in all, “I really loved Alaska and my wife, Victoria, was a real trouper. . .it was a wonderful experience.”



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