Legislature(2019 - 2020)CAPITOL 106

04/25/2019 08:00 AM TRIBAL AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HCS SB 78(TRB) Out of Committee
Moved CSHJR 19(TRB) Out of Committee
            SB 78-ESTABLISH MAY 31 AS KATIE JOHN DAY                                                                        
8:08:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be SENATE BILL  NO. 78, "An Act establishing May  31 of each year                                                               
as Katie John Day."                                                                                                             
8:09:07 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  CLICK   BISHOP,  Alaska  State  Legislature,   as  prime                                                               
sponsor, presented SB 78.   He acknowledged Representative Foster                                                               
for sponsoring  a companion  bill in the  House.   He paraphrased                                                               
the   sponsor  statement,   which  read   as  follows   [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Athabascan  elder Katie  John  was well  known for  her                                                                    
     determination  and  persistence  in defense  of  Alaska                                                                    
     Native customary and  traditional hunting, fishing, and                                                                    
     gathering  rights. She  was a  mentor to  many Alaskans                                                                    
     through her teachings, humor,  gentle spirit and loving                                                                    
     ways.  Katie John  is an  Alaska icon  who devoted  her                                                                    
     life  to  protect  the   traditions  of  her  ancestral                                                                    
     homeland.  Katie John  died May  31, 2013.  She was  97                                                                    
     years old.                                                                                                                 
     Katie John  lived in  Mentasta Lake  and was  raised to                                                                    
     live off  the land  under the  tutelage of  her mother,                                                                    
     grandmother and other elders of  her community. She was                                                                    
     a consummate  teacher and was  always willing  to share                                                                    
     her ancestral traditions, culture  and history. She was                                                                    
     well known  and respected throughout Alaska  and around                                                                    
     the world for her advocacy of Native rights.                                                                               
     Katie John  was a member  of the Ahtna  Regional Native                                                                    
     Corporation.  According  to  Ahtna  President  Michelle                                                                    
     Anderson, "Every  great culture  in the world  is known                                                                    
     by  their  traditional  foods and  the  survival  of  a                                                                    
     culture  depends  on  the people's  ability  to  gather                                                                    
     those foods. Katie  fought for our right  to access our                                                                    
     traditional homelands because she  knew that we need to                                                                    
     be  able to  feed  our  families. It  was  a matter  of                                                                    
     cultural and human survival."                                                                                              
     Always  passionate  about   preserving  the  Athabascan                                                                    
     culture  and  language,  Katie  John  was  involved  in                                                                    
     teaching  her Native  language  since  1974 and  helped                                                                    
     create  the   alphabet  for  the  Ahtna   dialect.  She                                                                    
     received  an honorary  Doctor of  Laws degree  from the                                                                    
     University of Alaska Fairbanks in  2011. Katie John and                                                                    
     her husband, Chief Fred John,  who died in 2000, raised                                                                    
     14 children  and 6 foster  children. She  leaves behind                                                                    
     approximately  250  grandchildren,  great-grandchildren                                                                    
     and great-great-grandchildren.                                                                                             
     Due  to her  impressive  role  in protecting  ancestral                                                                    
     traditions in Alaska, SB 78  will establish the date of                                                                    
     May 31 as  Katie John Day in honor of  her memory. This                                                                    
     bill  is a  simple yet  fitting tribute  to a  powerful                                                                    
     woman who cherished the Alaskan way of life.                                                                               
SENATOR BISHOP shared  the reason for the selection of  May 31 as                                                               
the date to honor Ms. John is  not because she died that day, but                                                               
because that is  the first day in spring that  she could put fish                                                               
wheels in the Copper River.                                                                                                     
8:12:00 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY opened public testimony on SB 78.                                                                                
8:12:21 AM                                                                                                                    
KATHRYN MARTIN, Ahtna,  Inc., stated that she is  a grandchild of                                                               
Katie  John  and expressed  appreciation  to  Senator Bishop  and                                                               
Representative Foster  for the efforts  to honor  her grandmother                                                               
for all her accomplishments.                                                                                                    
8:13:26 AM                                                                                                                    
MICHELLE   ANDERSON,  President,   Ahtna,  Inc.,   described  her                                                               
pleasure in fulfilling the simple  request for picked berries Ms.                                                               
John made  when she was  in the hospital,  especially considering                                                               
all  Ms.  John  had  done  for Alaska  Natives.    She  expressed                                                               
appreciation   for  the   work   done  by   Senator  Bishop   and                                                               
Representative  Foster and  their staff,  who have  advocated for                                                               
this legislation.   Ms. Anderson stated her belief  that Ms. John                                                               
is  a  hero  to  all  in  Alaska  who  practice  and  believe  in                                                               
subsistence.   She said  she thinks  it is  right and  fitting to                                                               
recognize Ms. John's  name on the calendar for all  she has done.                                                               
She said  this would be  a legacy  to pass down  for generations.                                                               
She said Ms. John welcomed anyone  who wanted to learn about "our                                                               
culture and our  way of life."   She said it is  difficult not to                                                               
become  emotional when  this issue  is brought  up "every  single                                                               
year."  She said there are few  people in the state who have done                                                               
what Ms. John has done.                                                                                                         
8:16:07 AM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE CAIN stated that although  he serves as president of Copper                                                               
Valley  Chamber  of Commerce,  he  was  testifying on  behalf  of                                                               
himself.  He reflected that he  used to drive 100 miles to attend                                                               
prayer meetings held by Ms. John.   He shared that he was wearing                                                               
the last pair of  moccasins made by Ms. John in  her mid-90s.  He                                                               
described  Ms. John  as  a  wonderful, loving  human  being.   He                                                               
stated that she was well-loved by the community.                                                                                
8:18:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY,  after ascertaining  that there  was no  one else                                                               
who wished to testify, closed public testimony on SB 78.                                                                        
8:19:15 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP indicated  that he  sought to  have the  proposed                                                               
legislation amended  to provide  for an immediate  effective date                                                               
so that  it can be presented  to Ms. John's family  and the Ahtna                                                               
people in order for them to have a celebration on [May] 31.                                                                     
8:19:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LINCOLN moved to  adopt Conceptual Amendment 1, to                                                               
establish an immediate effective date for  SB 78.  There being no                                                               
objection, Conceptual Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                  
8:20:10 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LINCOLN moved to report  SB 78, as amended, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
zero fiscal  note.  There  being no objection, HCSSB  78(TRB) was                                                               
reported out of the House Special Committee on Tribal Affairs.                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Census 2020 Sponsor Statement .pdf HTRB 4/25/2019 8:00:00 AM
SB 78 Sponsor Statement.pdf HTRB 4/25/2019 8:00:00 AM
SB 78
SB0078A.PDF HTRB 4/25/2019 8:00:00 AM
SB 78
HJR019A.PDF HTRB 4/25/2019 8:00:00 AM
HJR 19