Legislature(2021 - 2022)DAVIS 106

04/01/2021 08:00 AM TRIBAL AFFAIRS

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08:05:33 AM Start
08:06:09 AM HB123
09:16:06 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HB 123 Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
               HB 123-STATE RECOGNITION OF TRIBES                                                                           
8:06:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  announced that the  only order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 123,  "An Act providing for  state recognition                                                               
of federally  recognized tribes;  and providing for  an effective                                                               
8:06:38 AM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD PETERSON, President and  CEO, Central Council Tlingit and                                                               
Haida Indian Tribes  of Alaska (Tlingit and  Haida), testified in                                                               
support of  HB 123.  Shared  he was a lifelong  Alaskan who could                                                               
trace his  lineage back thousands of  years, and that he  did not                                                               
feel this  made him any better  than any Alaskan who  moved here;                                                               
just that  he had  a different  history.   He shared  Tlingit and                                                               
Haida had more  than 32K members within  the indigenous territory                                                               
of  Southeast Alaska,  the  United States  (US),  and the  world.                                                               
Tlingit  and Haida  were listed  on the  federal register  issued                                                               
every  year,  were  established  by   an  act  of  Congress,  and                                                               
administered about  $32m in federal,  state, and  private funding                                                               
through  grants, compacts,  contracts, and  direct appropriations                                                               
per  year,  he  stated.     Alaska  was  home  to  229  federally                                                               
recognized  tribes; there  were 573  federally recognized  tribes                                                               
throughout  the  US,  he  pointed  out.    Recognition  was  long                                                               
overdue, he  stated, as it was  time to move on  from challenging                                                               
Native  Alaskans' existence,  and as  a matter  of policy  it was                                                               
what  made  sense:    HB 123  would  recognize  tribes'  inherent                                                               
authority to serve  their own citizens, he said.   Tribes brought                                                               
in and saved the state hundreds  of millions of dollars, he said,                                                               
and  healthy tribes  made healthy  communities, he  added, noting                                                               
the response to  the COVID-19 pandemic by tribal  healthcare as a                                                               
prime  example  of  the  way   tribes  have  taken  care  of  the                                                               
community.   He shared tribes  had a complex history  that needed                                                               
to  be  recognized,  as  even  conversations  were  still  hollow                                                               
without due recognition.                                                                                                        
8:14:17 AM                                                                                                                    
VIVIAN KORTHUIS, Chief Executive  Officer, Association of Village                                                               
Council Presidents, testified  in support of HB 123.   She shared                                                               
Association of Village Council Presidents  (AVCP) was the largest                                                               
tribal consortium in  the US with 56  federally recognized tribes                                                               
as members - a  quarter of tribes in Alaska and  an eighth of the                                                               
tribes  in US  - reside  in  48 villages  in the  Yukon-Kuskokwim                                                               
Delta.  She shared AVCP  provided its social services, culturally                                                               
relevant programming, and advocacy  for tribes and tribal members                                                               
of  the Y-K  Delta  through partnerships  with  tribes, with  the                                                               
federal  government, and  with other  organizations, she  shared.                                                               
The  State of  Alaska was  settled by  tribes, and,  as such,  in                                                               
recognizing  AVCP, the  State of  Alaska  would not  be giving  a                                                               
benefit AVCP does not already have  but would gain the benefit of                                                               
having tribes  as a partner.   She reiterated tribes  already had                                                               
experience  partnering with  the federal  government, and  that a                                                               
partnership would  be especially beneficial for  Rural Alaska and                                                               
the children who  resided there.  Working with the  tribes by way                                                               
of HB  123 has the  potential to be  a watershed moment,  she put                                                               
8:21:21 AM                                                                                                                    
ELIZABETH  MEDICINE  CROW,  President  and  CEO,  First  Alaskans                                                               
Institute, testified  in support  of HB 123.   Shared  tribes not                                                               
only had  responsibilities to each other,  but complex protocols,                                                               
ceremonies, structures, processes and  systems by which alignment                                                               
was kept  and from which  Alaskans were able to  steward behavior                                                               
toward  abundance  and  celebrate  diversity,  one  of  Alaskans'                                                               
biggest  strengths that  ought to  be harnessed,  she put  forth.                                                               
Tribal, state, and  federal governments - all  sovereigns - ought                                                               
to  represent  three  chances  Alaskans   had  to  work  together                                                               
respectfully, she  emphasized.   People in Alaska  have conflated                                                               
distinctions,  putting  them  all  in the  racial  category,  she                                                               
shared, but  it is important  for all Alaskans to  understand the                                                               
political side as  well.  It is through  the inherent sovereignty                                                               
harnessed   by   tribal   government    change   can   be   made.                                                               
Transformation  can happen,  she urged;  intervention could  even                                                               
save  money, she  put forth,  adding  opportunities would  remain                                                               
unsupported  were HB  123 not  to be  passed.   Tribal power  and                                                               
state  power  needed  to  work   together  in  this  moment,  she                                                               
8:30:48 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY opened public testimony on HB 123.                                                                               
8:31:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHARLES  DEGNAN testified  in support  of HB  123.   As a  tribal                                                               
member,  Alaskan,  and  US  citizen, Mr.  Degnan  shared  HB  123                                                               
offered   an  opportunity   for   everyone   to  work   together.                                                               
Historically tribes  have always  been willing to  work together,                                                               
he offered.                                                                                                                     
8:32:56 AM                                                                                                                    
BOB SAM  testified in  support of  HB 123.   A tribal  member and                                                               
Alaskan, Mr.  Sam worked to  restore cemeteries.  He  offered the                                                               
restoration  of oftentimes  desecrated  and  always sacred  sites                                                               
required working together with tribal governments.                                                                              
8:35:11 AM                                                                                                                    
COURTENAY CARTY, Tribal  Administrator, Dillingham Curyung Tribe,                                                               
testified in  support of HB 123.   Ms. Carty shared  HB 123 would                                                               
strengthen relationships throughout the state.                                                                                  
8:36:10 AM                                                                                                                    
GLORIA SIMEON  testified in support of  HB 123.  Offered  she was                                                               
surprised to  see HB  123 as  tribes had  been recognized  in the                                                               
1990s; she  said she thought  this had already been  accepted and                                                               
barriers  torn down.   She  stated HB  123 was  long overdue,  as                                                               
denying tribes their rights served no  one, and there was so much                                                               
work to do.                                                                                                                     
8:39:07 AM                                                                                                                    
FRANK  KATCHATAG,   President,  Native  Village   of  Unalakleet,                                                               
testified in support of HB 123.                                                                                                 
8:40:05 AM                                                                                                                    
GABE   CANFIELD  testified   in   support  of   HB   123.  As   a                                                               
multigenerational  Alaskan   attending  Dartmouth   College,  Ms.                                                               
Canfield named  her ancestors' courage and  strength, teaching of                                                               
Native  values, and  reciprocity of  care and  community, as  the                                                               
secret to  her success.  Alaskans  needed to lift each  other up,                                                               
she stated.                                                                                                                     
8:42:13 AM                                                                                                                    
JOEL JACKSON, President, Organized  Village of Kake, testified in                                                               
support of HB  123.  Shared state recognition of  tribes would be                                                               
a beneficial partnership for both  entities and could improve the                                                               
lives of all  Alaskans.  Tribal members ought not  to be asked to                                                               
relinquish sovereignty,  especially with tribal  health assisting                                                               
the state in COVID-19 vaccine rollout, he put forth.                                                                            
8:45:21 AM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE ERVIN  testified in support of  HB 123.  Tribal  member and                                                               
Alaskan shared  it was important  for future generations  to show                                                               
support  to  all  Alaskans  by  recognizing  tribal  sovereignty.                                                               
Alaskan  tribes  have  been  disenfranchised  for  too  long,  he                                                               
8:47:04 AM                                                                                                                    
JONES HOTCH  testified in support  of HB  123.  Expressed  it was                                                               
ironic tribes were  recognized by the federal  government but not                                                               
by the state.  He stated it was an historic moment.                                                                             
8:48:46 AM                                                                                                                    
BROOKE WOODS, testified in support of  HB 123.  Shared support of                                                               
HB  123 meant  the establishment  of good  governance in  Alaska,                                                               
which  was  lagging in  terms  of  good governance,  she  shared.                                                               
Tribal members were  working diligently to improve  the state for                                                               
all people, she said.                                                                                                           
8:52:43 AM                                                                                                                    
KENDRA  ZAMZOW  testified  in  support  of  HB  123.  Thirty-year                                                               
Alaskan  shared  even those  "new"  to  Alaska were  invested  in                                                               
lifting those who have stewarded the land since time immemorial.                                                                
8:53:31 AM                                                                                                                    
WANDA CULP  testified in  limited support  of HB  123.   Ms. Culp                                                               
shared  Alaska Natives  have never  been land-restricted  but had                                                               
special relationships with  the land and water and  should not be                                                               
limited  from resources  as the  State tried  to do.   She  urged                                                               
utilization, not  limiting; it was  not up  to the State  to pick                                                               
and choose what it would recognize under federal law, she said.                                                                 
8:56:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CARRIE  STEVENS  testified   in  support  of  HB   123.    Tribal                                                               
Governance  faculty at  the University  of Alaska  Fairbanks, Ms.                                                               
Stevens  shared  Alaska  existed because  of  tribal  governance.                                                               
There  was  no disputing  knowledge  and  wisdom of  tribes,  she                                                               
added,  expressing deep  gratitude for  tribes' role  in COVID-19                                                               
vaccine rollout.  Alaska could be  a role model but was instead a                                                               
laughingstock, she pointed out, urging passage of HB 123.                                                                       
9:00:30 AM                                                                                                                    
DIANA ZIRUL testified in support of  HB 123, giving as an example                                                               
of success tribal health's role  in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.                                                               
Water and sanitation deficiencies  could use a strong partnership                                                               
to tackle  them, she pointed out  as an example of  how much work                                                               
there was to be done.                                                                                                           
9:04:13 AM                                                                                                                    
FRANCIS  DEGNAN  testified  in  support  of  HB  123,  giving  as                                                               
examples deep  cultural tradition and heritage  to strengthen her                                                               
reason for support.                                                                                                             
9:07:08 AM                                                                                                                    
LORI  WOLF testified  in  support  of HB  123  on  behalf of  the                                                               
Foraker Group,  a non-profit serving  Alaska.   Foraker specified                                                               
urban,  rural,   Native,  and  non-Native  peoples   alike  fully                                                               
supported Alaska's First People, she  said.  "Stronger and better                                                               
to serve together"  was the thrust of her refrain  in support for                                                               
HB 123.                                                                                                                         
9:08:59 AM                                                                                                                    
WAYNE  MORGAN, Chief,  Aniak Tribe,  testified in  support of  HB
123.   Representing 600  tribal members, Mr.  Morgan said  he was                                                               
interested in improving  issues such as law  enforcement.  Belief                                                               
of  sovereignty would  still reign  even if  HB 123  were not  to                                                               
pass, but its passage would strengthen Alaska, he said.                                                                         
9:12:31 AM                                                                                                                    
RHONDA PITKA, Chief,  Village of Beaver, testified  in support of                                                               
HB 123.   She pointed out local governance had  been pressed into                                                               
action  to  "combat"  the  lack of  federal  governance.    State                                                               
support would only make everything better and stronger in terms                                                                 
of policy and programs, she said.                                                                                               
9:14:30 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY closed public testimony.                                                                                         
9:15:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS moved to report HB 123 out of committee                                                                   
with individual recommendations and  the accompanying zero fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection, HB 123 moved out of committee.                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB123 letters of support 3-31.pdf HTRB 4/1/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 123
HB123 letters of support 4-1.pdf HTRB 4/1/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 123