The National Congress of American Indians
TITLE: Supporting the Sovereign Right of Alaska Tribes to Contract/Compact and Co-Manage their Natural and Environmental 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, the shared interests among Alaska’s federally recognized Indian tribes, Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) corporations, and Alaska Native organizations are their tribal citizens, shareholders and constituents, each of whom seek solutions to remedy the societal, cultural, economic, and nutritional hardships suffered by Alaska Natives rules and policies depriving them of their native foods through an arbitrary and capricious interpretation of Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) commonly known as “Subsistence,”—known as customary and traditional fishing, hunting, and gathering, which is the way of life that has sustained our people from time immemorial; and
WHEREAS, the term “subsistence uses” means: the customary and traditional uses by Native Alaskans of wild, renewable resources for direct personal or family consumption as food, shelter, fuel, clothing, tools, or transportation; for the making and selling of handicraft articles out of nonedible byproducts of fish and wildlife resources taken for personal or family consumption; for barter, or sharing for personal or family consumption; and for customary trade; and
WHEREAS, NCAI has long supported and advocated for the access to food as a human right, and the right of Alaska Native tribal governments to be fully-engaged in the management of their native food and wildlife resources that they depend upon for their lifeways, including the right to contract/compact or co-manage fisheries and wildlife in the waterways and on the lands within are aboriginal territories, the role for contributing to fish and wildlife management plans that affect traditional use areas, and all applicable domestic and international conventions and accords; and
WHEREAS, a consensus among Alaska Native governments has developed supporting the concepts for tribal government contracting/compacting and co-management as expressed through numerous resolutions adopted by the Alaska Federation of Natives and many other Alaska Native organizations.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI fully supports action by the President and the Administration, or federal legislation, that empowers tribal government self-determination that protects the customary and traditional fishing, hunting and gathering way of life for all Alaska Natives by enabling Alaska Native tribal governments to: (1) contract/compact to manage fisheries, wildlife and other environmental resources under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act; and (2) co-manage fisheries, wildlife and other environmental resources with federal agencies in their capacity as trustee and pursuant to their federal trust obligation and the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP); 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 Mid-Year Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Dena'ina Civic & Convention Center, June 8-11, 2014 in Anchorage, Alaska, with a quorum present.