Legislature(2023 - 2024)BARNES 124

03/20/2024 01:00 PM House RESOURCES

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01:07:46 PM Start
01:09:42 PM Department of Environmental Conservation
01:27:09 PM HB295
01:40:40 PM HJR22
02:26:29 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Department of Environmental Conservation
Commissioner - Emma Pokon
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
          HJR 22-RESIDENT SUBSISTENCE USE OF FISH/GAME                                                                      
1:40:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCKAY  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 22,  Proposing an  amendment to  the                                                               
Constitution of the  State of Alaska relating  to subsistence use                                                               
of  replenishable  natural  resources  by  state  residents;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date for the amendment.                                                                              
1:41:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENATIVE BAKER introduced Ms. Kitka and Dr. Rosita Worl.                                                                   
1:42:06 PM                                                                                                                    
JULIE KITKA,  President, Alaska Federation of  Natives, explained                                                               
the  history  of  the  constitutional  amendment  to  subsistence                                                               
rights.  She said  that  this  issue has  been  in  front of  the                                                               
legislature  since   1990.  She  continued  on   the  history  of                                                               
constitutional  amendments in  the Alaska  Legislature. She  said                                                               
that the Alaska  Federation of Natives (AFN) has  been working at                                                               
this issue  and gave  up after  determining that  the legislature                                                               
had no  interest in working  on this issue. She  recommended that                                                               
the  legislature take  its time  in introducing  a constitutional                                                               
amendment. She explained  common themes in policy  debate on this                                                               
issue,  and   advised  the  committee   to  keep  in   mind  that                                                               
subsistence  is an  Alaska Native  issue, that  it was  offensive                                                               
that the  amendment did not include  language acknowledging them.                                                               
She  said the  current  system  of dual  management  is a  direct                                                               
result of  the failure of the  state to engage with  local Native                                                               
groups and communities. She said  her second recommendation is to                                                               
get rid of the non-subsistence use areas.                                                                                       
1:51:48 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. KITKA  continued with her  third recommendation,  telling the                                                               
committee  members  to  scope  out  the  best  system  to  manage                                                               
subsistence rights, considering all  things that may affect them.                                                               
She added that  the legislature should consider  court cases that                                                               
affect  subsistence rights.  She  said the  other  area that  she                                                               
thinks the state  should look at is the  Alaska National Interest                                                               
Lands Conservation  Act (ANILCA) amendments. She  emphasized that                                                               
subsistence  is  not just  a  choice,  but  a  way of  life,  and                                                               
culture.  She urged  the legislature  to explore  the history  of                                                               
relations  between the  federal government  and Native  Americans                                                               
before moving  forward on any  legislation. She said  to approach                                                               
this  legislation  with concrete  goals,  to  be experts  on  the                                                               
1:57:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MCKAY added that he  remembers the debate in 1990,                                                               
that it was a sad time in Alaska's history.                                                                                     
1:57:51 PM                                                                                                                    
ROSITA WORL,  PhD, President,  Sealaska Heritage  Institute, read                                                               
from  prepared remarks[included  in the  committee packet,  which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
      Mr. Chair and Honorable Members of the Alaska State                                                                       
     Legislature House Resources Committee:                                                                                     
      For the record, I am Rosita Kaahni Worl, and I am a                                                                     
     member of the Alaska Federation of Natives Subsistence                                                                     
     Thank you for  allowing us to comment on  HJR 22, which                                                                    
     embodies  an issue  of great  significance to  Alaskans                                                                    
     and, notably, to the Alaska Native Community.                                                                              
     Thank  you  for also  bringing  this  issue, which  has                                                                    
     divided  the  state  for decades,  to  an  open  forum.                                                                    
     Hopefully,  through   rational,  honest,   and  sincere                                                                    
     dialogue with all stakeholders at  the table, we may be                                                                    
     able to formulate a unified position.                                                                                      
     If  I  may,  I  would   like  to  introduce  myself  in                                                                    
     accordance    with   our    cultural   protocols.    My                                                                    
     introduction   will    also   reveal    the   spiritual                                                                    
     interrelationships that  we maintain with  our animals,                                                                    
     birds, and fish. It will  also demonstrate the cultural                                                                    
     dimensions  of subsistence  that  are  rarely known  or                                                                    
     understood outside of the subsistence community.                                                                           
          Yeidiklas'akw ka Kaaháni yóo xát duwasáak                                                                     
          Cháak' naa áyá x                                                                                                    
          Shungukeidí naax xt sitee                                                                                         
          Kaawdliyaay Hit dáx      x                                                                                        
          Jilkaat kwyá x                                                                                                      
          Lukaax.ádi yadi áyá x                                                                                             
     My  Tlingit name  is Yeidiklas'skw.  It  is an  ancient                                                                    
     name whose meaning has been lost in antiquity.                                                                             
     My  ceremonial name  is Kaaháni,  which  refers to  the                                                                  
     stature or status of an  individual. In the ceremony in                                                                    
     which I received  this name, our clan  leader said that                                                                    
     my  stature was  "Woman Who  Stands in  the Place  of a                                                                    
     I Am  an Eagle  of The Thunderbird  Clan and  the House                                                                    
     Lowered  from  the  Sun from  Klukwan  in  the  Chilkat                                                                    
     I am also a Child of the sockeye Clan.                                                                                     
     My identity  is also intertwined with  our clan crests-                                                                    
     the Eagle, Thunderbird, and Sun.                                                                                           
     We, of  our clan,  are spiritually strengthened  by the                                                                    
     Eagle, Thunderbird,  Sun, and Sockeye, but  also by our                                                                    
     clan spirits, the White Bear, Shark, and Killer Whale.                                                                     
     In addition, Our clan is  entitled to wear the US Naval                                                                    
     uniform and  to use  the name  Schwatga as  payment for                                                                    
     the failure  of Lt Schwatga, of  the US Navy, to  pay a                                                                    
     debt  to my  great, great  clan grandfather  during the                                                                    
     Klondike Gold Rush era.                                                                                                    
     In attempting  to address  and resolve  the subsistence                                                                    
     issue  or,  more   specifically,  the  dual  management                                                                    
     regime between  the federal  and state  governments and                                                                    
     in  proposing  the  developing  solutions  including  a                                                                    
     constitutional   amendment   that  provides   for   the                                                                    
     protection  of subsistence,  it  will  be necessary  to                                                                    
     understand    the     multiple    elements    affecting                                                                    
     Many  changes have  occurred in  the thirty-four  years                                                                    
     since  the  federal  government took  over  subsistence                                                                    
     management authority on  federal lands. We-Natives- for                                                                    
     one, gave  up trying  to amend the  state constitution.                                                                    
     We  have   citizens  who  grew  up   living  with  dual                                                                    
     management and  have grown  accustomed to  this system.                                                                    
     We have tribal  members who now favor  working with and                                                                    
     through the  federal subsistence board. We  also have a                                                                    
     growing insistence that  Indigenous knowledge, science,                                                                    
     and language  be incorporated into  resource management                                                                    
     regimes and  decisions. These changes  will have  to be                                                                    
     considered   as  we   assess  proposed   constitutional                                                                    
     amendments and a possible unified management regime.                                                                       
     It will also  be necessary to understand  the legal and                                                                    
     political history  that gave  rise to the  situation in                                                                    
     which we find ourselves  today. This context is complex                                                                    
     and   subject   to    differing   interpretations   and                                                                    
     orientations,  making our  task more  difficult. Native                                                                    
     People  both  revere  and  utilize  the  land  and  its                                                                    
     resources. Thus, it will be  imperative to have a clear                                                                    
     understanding of cultural  significance of subsistence.                                                                    
     This dimension  has given Native people  the stamina to                                                                    
     fight for  our basic  cultural survival,  identity, and                                                                    
     subsistence rights, which are  all intertwined with our                                                                    
     physical  and  spiritual   relationship  to  the  land,                                                                    
     resources, and subsistence.                                                                                                
     Native people  will insist  that these  cultural values                                                                    
     and  practices  are   considered  and  integrated  into                                                                    
     subsistence  management  regimes. Knowledge  about  the                                                                    
     dual  economies  that characterize  rural  communities,                                                                    
     integrating  both subsistence  and  cash economies,  is                                                                    
     another important consideration.                                                                                           
     Native people  must also be engaged  in discussions and                                                                    
     have  a place  at  the table  in  addressing a  unified                                                                    
     management regime.                                                                                                         
     Thank   you  for   the  opportunity   to  present   our                                                                    
     preliminary assessment of the  elements that we believe                                                                    
     are   necessary    to   consider   in    developing   a                                                                    
     constitutional amendment  that can bring  a state-level                                                                    
     unified  management  regime that  includes  subsistence                                                                    
2:04:29 PM                                                                                                                    
GAYLA HOSETH,  Director, Natural  Resources Program,  Bristol Bay                                                               
Native  Corporation, mentioned  that the  theme of  the 2023  AFN                                                               
convention was "our way of  life." Subsistence life has sustained                                                               
Native Peoples of  Alaska for thousands of years; it  is a way of                                                               
life.  She  said  it  is important  to  understand  the  cultural                                                               
implications   of   Subsistence   rights.   She   said   a   good                                                               
consideration  for the  legislators would  be to  travel to  each                                                               
community and village to see  and learn about subsistence rights.                                                               
She  said it  is also  important for  Alaskans to  understand and                                                               
learn and be involved in the process of creating legislation.                                                                   
2:08:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MCKAY asked for the dates of the AFN convention.                                                                 
MS. KITKA  said that it  is the third  week of October,  and that                                                               
there was no consideration of a constitutional amendment.                                                                       
2:09:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENATIVE BAKER,  as prime  sponsor of  HJR22, added  that he                                                               
was  fortunate  enough  to  be   allowed  to  speak  at  the  AFN                                                               
convention. He  said that though this  legislation was introduced                                                               
late,  he  appreciates  the  folks  from  AFN  for  giving  their                                                               
testimony on HJR22.                                                                                                             
2:10:30 PM                                                                                                                    
DOUG  VINCENT-LANG, Commissioner,  Alaska  Department  of Fish  &                                                               
Game, added to  the previous testimony, explaining  that the dual                                                               
management  system  is  not  working,  and  that  subsistence  is                                                               
priority under  state statute.  He gave  examples of  the federal                                                               
closure  of  lands  using  Southeast  Alaska  and  the  Mulchatna                                                               
Caribou Herd.  He cited  Berners's Bay  and the  introduced moose                                                               
population,  and  how  the   federal  government's  oversight  is                                                               
affecting its  management. He mentioned  the Yukon River  and the                                                               
Nelchina Caribou Hunt,  and how both are affected  by the Federal                                                               
Subsistence   Board   Management's   decisions.  He   said   dual                                                               
management is  impacting subsistence  negatively, and  that HJR22                                                               
is the first step of many in the right direction.                                                                               
2:17:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MCKAY asked Representative  Edgemon to come up and                                                               
give some advice.                                                                                                               
2:17:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   BRYCE   EDGMON,    Alaska   State   Legislature,                                                               
emphasized  the   importance  of  understanding  the   issue  and                                                               
explained his memories of subsistence  issues in Alaska politics.                                                               
He thanked committee members for their comments.                                                                                
2:19:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MEARS commented  that this is an  issue that needs                                                               
to be  discussed and decided  beyond the walls of  this committee                                                               
2:20:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DIBERT  thanked the invited testifiers,  and asked                                                               
if any  of them feel  that federal protections defined  in ANILCA                                                               
are currently sufficient for subsistence rights.                                                                                
2:21:35 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. KITKA  answered that Native  Alaskans have an  inherent right                                                               
to  their lands  and food,  and there  are many  political rights                                                               
defined in federal  law. She said that Natives want  to run their                                                               
lives  themselves  and  not  to  have  to  look  to  the  federal                                                               
government for  guidance and  management. She  said to  trust the                                                               
Native   community  to   manage  itself.   She  said   times  and                                                               
circumstances change.                                                                                                           
2:23:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DIBERT said that things have changed on the Yukon                                                                
River and quoted her mother saying "at least we have the memory                                                                 
of the taste of [salmon]"                                                                                                       
2:24:29 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. WORL said that there have been good changes in the State,                                                                   
such as the recognition for Native Alaskans. She said that more                                                                 
needs to be done.                                                                                                               
[HJR 22 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB295 Transmittal Letter.pdf HRES 3/20/2024 1:00:00 PM
HB 295
HB295 Version B.pdf HRES 3/20/2024 1:00:00 PM
HB 295
HB295 Sectional Analysis Version B.pdf HRES 3/20/2024 1:00:00 PM
HB 295
HB295 Summary of Changes Version A to B.pdf HRES 3/20/2024 1:00:00 PM
HB 295
HB295 Supporting Document Statutes and Regulations.pdf HRES 3/20/2024 1:00:00 PM
HB 295
HB295 Supporting Document ADFG Lake Stocking Policy.pdf HRES 3/20/2024 1:00:00 PM
HB 295
Pokon Resume 2023_Redacted.pdf HRES 3/20/2024 1:00:00 PM
HJR22 Response to (H)RES Member Questions.pdf HRES 3/20/2024 1:00:00 PM
HJR 22