The National Congress of American Indians
TITLE: Federal Recognition of Alaska Native Hunting and Fishing Rights
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 system does not include Alaska Native tribal participation, this leaves Alaska Natives disenfranchised and it fails to provide sustainable yield for critical traditional and customary species thus resulting in harmful reduction in Alaska Native hunting and fishing practices; and
WHEREAS, self-governance policy for American Indians and Alaska Natives, while mandated, is largely missing when it comes to management of critically important Alaska Native traditional and customary hunting and fishing practices; and
WHEREAS, without appropriate reform to the Alaska hunting and fishing management systems Alaska Native well-being will continue to be at risk; and
WHEREAS, less than 2% of fish and game in Alaska are taken for subsistence uses; and
WHEREAS, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 demonstrates Congress expected both the Secretary of Interior and the State of Alaska to uphold their promise to “take any action necessary to protect the subsistence needs of the Natives;” and
WHEREAS, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 was passed to conserve Alaska’s land and resources and to protect rural subsistence use by providing a subsistence priority, however this legislation has failed to protect Alaska Native traditional and customary practices.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI supports the federal recognition of Alaska Native hunting and fishing rights on all Alaskan lands and waters; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI asks the Secretary of the Department of the Interior to uphold their mandate to provide for meaningful tribal consultation and equal participation by Alaska Natives in management of traditional and customary resources for the continued well-being of their people; and
BE IT FINALLY 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 2013 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Cox Business Center from October 13 - 18, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a quorum present.