TITLE: Call for Alaska Native Self-Determination in the Management of Their Hunting, Fishing, Trapping, and Gathering Rights and Resources
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, Alaska Native hunting and fishing practices, including the harvesting and sharing of fish, game, and other resources and the ceremonies which accompany these practices are essential to the social, cultural, spiritual, and economic wellbeing and survival of the Alaska Native people; and
WHEREAS,Alaska’s current federal-state dual management is failing to adequately manage resources to meet the traditional and customary needs and practices of Alaska Native peoples and does not adequately provide for Alaska Native participation; and
WHEREAS, the Secretary of the Interior recognized this failure in the Department’s 2010 Review of the Federal Subsistence Management Program and in the published Findings and Recommended Actions recognized the critical and necessary need for Alaska Natives to be more active in the administration, decision-making, and implementation of the Program; and
WHEREAS, the Department of the Interior and the Alaska Director of USFWS has failed to implement the Recommended Actions within the Federal Subsistence Management Program, including but not limited to increased ANILCA Section 809 Agreements with local Tribes to implement the program; and
WHEREAS, the State of Alaska does not recognize rural preference as established in ANILCA, nor does it have a mechanism to adequately ensure Alaska Native role in the management of traditional resources, yet it is provided funding by the Federal Subsistence Management to implement rural preference programs; and
WHEREAS, through a series of broken promises by the State and Federal governments, Alaska Natives have been denied the right to manage hunting, fishing and gathering even on the lands conveyed through the settlement of their aboriginal land claims; and
WHEREAS,Alaska Natives and their Tribal Governments, Tribal Consortiums, Non-Profits, and Corporations have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to adequately manage their traditional lands and resources as they have served as stewards for thousands of years maintaining healthy and productive ecosystems; and
WHEREAS, Alaska Native and tribes demand to be managers and co-managers over their Native foods and wildlife resources, with their co-management rights and responsibilities to be at least equal to those of the federal government and the State of Alaska and without any limitation; and
WHEREAS, Resolution #ANC-14-047 – Supporting the Sovereign Rights of Alaska Tribes to Contract/Compact and Co-Manage their Natural Resources was passed at NCAI’s 2014 Mid-Year Conference in Anchorage, AK, and will be addressed concurrently with this Resolution.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED,that the NCAI call for the State of Alaska and the Federal Government to provide Alaska Natives with a full and equal co-management role of their traditional hunting, fishing, and gathering resources, including the primary authority to manage these resources on the lands conveyed through ANCSA or otherwise held for or owned by Alaska Native Organizations; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, October 26-31, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a quorum present.