Legislature(2019 - 2020)CAPITOL 106

03/07/2019 08:00 AM House TRIBAL AFFAIRS

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08:12:45 AM Start
08:13:45 AM Welcome: Auke Kwaan and Taku Kwaan
08:19:55 AM Presentation(s): Alaska Native Governance
09:40:54 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Welcome: Auke Kwaan and Taku Kwaan TELECONFERENCED
Presentation: AK Native Governance
First Alaskans Institute, AK Federation of
Natives, Central Council Tlingit & Haida
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
           HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON TRIBAL AFFAIRS                                                                          
                         March 7, 2019                                                                                          
                           8:12 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky, Chair                                                                                          
Representative Bryce Edgmon, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative John Lincoln                                                                                                     
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
WELCOME: AUKE KWAAN AND TAKU KWAAN                                                                                              
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PRESENTATION(S): ALASKA NATIVE GOVERNANCE                                                                                       
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
JOHN MORRIS, Tribal Member                                                                                                      
Taku Kwaan                                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Welcomed the committee on behalf of Taku                                                                 
MARIE OLSEN, Tribal Member                                                                                                      
Auke Kwaan                                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Welcomed  the committee  on behalf  of Auke                                                             
ANDREA SANDERS, Director                                                                                                        
First Alaskans Institute                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented on Alaska Native Governance.                                                                   
ROSITA WORL, President                                                                                                          
Sealaska Heritage Institute                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented on Alaska Native Governance.                                                                   
RICHARD PETERSON, President                                                                                                     
Central  Council  of Tlingit  &  Haida  Indian Tribes  of  Alaska                                                               
("Tlingit & Haida")                                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented on Alaska Native Governance.                                                                   
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:12:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  TIFFANY  ZULKOSKY  called   the  inaugural  House  Special                                                             
Committee  on  Tribal  Affairs  meeting to  order  at  8:12  a.m.                                                               
Representatives  Talerico,  Kopp,  Lincoln,  Vance,  Edgmon,  and                                                               
Zulkosky were  present at the  call to  order.  Also  present was                                                               
Representative Story.                                                                                                           
^WELCOME: Auke Kwaan and Taku Kwaan                                                                                             
               WELCOME: Auke Kwaan and Taku Kwaan                                                                           
8:13:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be a welcome of Auke Kwaan and Taku Kwaan.                                                                                      
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  acknowledged the  traditional territories  of the                                                               
Tlingit people, Auke Kwaan and  Taku Kwaan.  She welcomed forward                                                               
John  Morris from  Taku Kwaan  and Marie  Olsen from  Auke Kwaan.                                                               
She  thanked them  both for  their  presence at  the meeting  and                                                               
invited them to speak.                                                                                                          
8:14:55 AM                                                                                                                    
JOHN MORRIS,  Tribal Member, Taku  Kwaan, introduced  himself and                                                               
stated that he  is a member of the Douglas  Indian Association of                                                               
the  Taku Kwaan  Native  people that  have  occupied the  Juneau-                                                               
Douglas area for many years.                                                                                                    
8:15:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MARIE OLSEN, Tribal  Member, Auke Kwaan, opened  her statement in                                                               
Tlingit.   She shared  her excitement  for  this  most historical                                                               
occasion for  all of the  indigenous people in the  United States                                                               
of America."  She stated that she  is from this area  and is Auke                                                               
Kwaan, "the people  from this area."  She said,  "I would love to                                                               
welcome all  of you to my  area, to my land.   I welcome you.   I                                                               
hope that all of you do the  job that is beholden on you, because                                                               
you have been  elected.  You have been elected  by your people in                                                               
the State of Alaska."  Ms.  Olsen made a statement in Tlingit and                                                               
said,  I  thank you very much  - because I recognize  the history                                                               
of what is occurring now.  Gunalcheesh."                                                                                        
8:18:03 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MORRIS  echoed  Ms.  Olsen's   statement  and  welcomed  the                                                               
committee.  He shared his  excitement about the state's desire to                                                               
work with  all 229 of  Alaska's tribes.   Mr. Morris  stated that                                                               
there  are 18  tribes  in  southeast and  that  they value  their                                                               
water, hunting, and  fishing rights.  He  expressed concern about                                                               
the  tribe's   fragile  king  salmon  fishery   and  contaminated                                                               
beaches.   Mr.  Morris stated  that his  tribe has  been sampling                                                               
sediment,  testing   water  quality   on  the  Taku   river,  and                                                               
collaborating with the  Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary                                                               
Commission.   Mr.  Morris, on  behalf of  himself and  his tribe,                                                               
expressed concern  about the viability  of their way of  life and                                                               
inter-generational culture.  Mr.  Morris shared his excitement to                                                               
see the  state's inclusion of  tribes in the  legislative process                                                               
and ended his statement with, "Gunalcheesh."                                                                                    
8:19:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  thanked Ms.  Olsen and Mr.  Morris.   She stated,                                                               
 Quyana,  gunalcheesh.  ...  Your  words  welcoming  us  to  your                                                               
traditional  territories are  respected  and have  been heard  by                                                               
this committee.                                                                                                                 
^PRESENTATION(S): Alaska Native Governance                                                                                      
           PRESENTATION(S): Alaska Native Governance                                                                        
8:19:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be the presentation on Alaska Native Governance.                                                                                
8:20:20 AM                                                                                                                    
ANDREA SANDERS  opened her  statement in  the Yupik  language and                                                               
shared that  she comes  from Mamterilleq,  also known  as Bethel,                                                               
while her ancestors  and family come from Kwinhagak.   She stated                                                               
that  she serves  as the  Director  of the  Alaska Native  Policy                                                               
Center, an  initiative at First  Alaskans Institute.   She echoed                                                               
the words  of the elders to  speak before her and  stated that it                                                               
is an  honor to  see the  members serve on  this committee.   She                                                               
stated that there are many  ancestors, native leaders, and native                                                               
advocates who  have been waiting  for this historic moment.   She                                                               
said that Alaska  is a new state  but that tribes are  not new to                                                               
the  lands.   She  thanked  Barbara  'Waahlaal Gidaak  Blake  and                                                               
Meghan Topkok for contributing to  the presentation and expressed                                                               
gratitude to  the people  of the  Auke Kwaan  and Taku  Kwaan for                                                               
allowing this group to convene on their ancestral lands.                                                                        
8:22:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SANDERS began  her PowerPoint  presentation and  shared that                                                               
the vision of First Alaskans  Institute is  progress for the next                                                               
ten thousand years.    She stated that the  organization covers a                                                               
breadth of topics  and that the organization has  a commitment to                                                               
ensure that Alaska Native people  maintain their well-being and a                                                               
connection  to  Alaska  for  another ten  thousand  years.    Ms.                                                               
Sanders explained  the reference to  "thousands of years"  is not                                                               
anecdotal; carbon  testing from  archeological digs  in Kwinhagak                                                               
have provided  scientific evidence  that her ancestors  have been                                                               
present in  Alaska for thousands  of years.   This has  spurred a                                                               
cultural renaissance; youth have  found artifacts, heard stories,                                                               
and  brought Yupik  dancing back  to the  community.   She shared                                                               
that youth  were hungry for  a means of cultural  expression; she                                                               
attributed this interest to the "power  of knowing who we are and                                                               
... no longer  being invisible in the narrative of  Alaska.   Ms.                                                               
Sanders stated  that similar  work is  happening in  Kodiak where                                                               
people are beginning to learn more about their history.                                                                         
MS.  SANDERS stated  that her  presentation is  meant to  enhance                                                               
knowledge  of history  and contemporary  issues.   She sought  to                                                               
help decisionmakers better  understand their responsibilities and                                                               
the  opportunities to  strengthen relationships  with the  Alaska                                                               
Native community.                                                                                                               
MS.  SANDERS   emphasized  the   importance  that   all  Alaskans                                                               
understand  that Alaska  Native communities  possess a  knowledge                                                               
system and  connection to place  and land.  Ms.  Sanders referred                                                               
to this  as "geographic intelligence"  and noted that  others may                                                               
refer to it  as "traditional ecological knowledge."   Ms. Sanders                                                               
stated that  Alaska Native communities  have intact  knowledge of                                                               
the  environment,  relationships  with  other  species,  and  the                                                               
changes underway and ideas for how to move forward.                                                                             
MS. SANDERS  described the variety  of distinct  cultural groups,                                                               
languages,  and ways  of life  among Alaska  Native people.   She                                                               
stated that  the groups  were traditionally  independent nations;                                                               
the Haida, Yupik, Athabascan, Inupiaq,  Alutiiq are connected but                                                               
distinct with their own languages,  creation stories, and methods                                                               
of  harvesting food.    Ms. Sanders  imparted  the importance  of                                                               
understanding  that Alaska  Native  groups are  not a  monolithic                                                               
people and  that there  is often  a high  burden placed  upon the                                                               
Alaska Native community  to have one voice or one  position.  She                                                               
stated  that  these  groups  are diverse  and  distinct  and  the                                                               
pressure  to have  one  position  can be  an  unfair burden;  the                                                               
groups  have  independent  economic,  cultural,  and  educational                                                               
needs.   Ms. Sanders  pressed the committee  to be  responsive to                                                               
and  understand  the  diversity of  needs  across  Alaska  Native                                                               
8:27:20 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SANDERS shared the importance  in acknowledging the operation                                                               
of three  sovereign governments:  the tribal, federal,  and state                                                               
government.  She stated that  there has been a missed opportunity                                                               
in  partnership between  these sovereign  governments and  shared                                                               
her hope that, in collaboration, new solutions can come forward.                                                                
MS.  SANDERS stated  that  tribal governments  play  the role  of                                                               
local governments  for villages  and tribes.   She  elaborated on                                                               
her  personal experience  as  a tribal  member  of the  Kwinhagok                                                               
tribe and  shared that  the tribe  supports tribal  members while                                                               
operating  with a  small budget  and  little land.   Ms.  Sanders                                                               
stated that  there are instances  where tribes have  purchased or                                                               
acquired  land,   but  that  separation  of   tribes  from  their                                                               
ancestral  land  has  been  a  concern.    In  reference  to  her                                                               
presentation, Ms. Sanders stated  that every [political] district                                                               
in Alaska  has a correlating  tribe; "there  is no pocket  of our                                                               
state that goes untouched."                                                                                                     
MS.  SANDERS  stated  that tribes  exercise  self-governance  and                                                               
self-determination,  which she  defined  as the  ability to  make                                                               
decisions affecting the individual lives  of tribal members.  She                                                               
relayed  that Congress  extended  the  Indian Reorganization  Act                                                               
(IRA)  to  Alaska  in 1936;  IRA  governments  were  subsequently                                                               
organized  in villages  and, where  not established,  traditional                                                               
governments  operated  in the  form  of  village councils.    Ms.                                                               
Sanders  encouraged the  committee  members  to communicate  with                                                               
village  IRA  governments  or traditional  governments  to  learn                                                               
about  their  priorities  and any  partnerships  with  the  city,                                                               
municipality, borough, or the regional village corporation.                                                                     
8:31:40 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SANDERS acknowledged  Roy  S.  Ewan and  Paul  John as  past                                                               
leaders and stated  that they have left a legacy  that "allows us                                                               
to  know who  we  are.   We  know  who are;  we  are people  with                                                               
traditional  values and  knowledge  on how  to  govern in  modern                                                               
contexts."  In reference to  slide eight, Ms. Sanders stated that                                                               
there are more than twenty  unique cultural groups and languages.                                                               
Ms. Sanders noted  that some of the terminology  may be outdated,                                                               
but  the  graph   accurately  illustrates  relationships  between                                                               
Alaska's  cultural  groups.    She  stated  that  Alaska  Natives                                                               
comprise 19.5  percent of the  state's population,  although that                                                               
percentage can  sometimes be as low  as 15 percent.   Ms. Sanders                                                               
noted  that  Alaska  Natives  are  one  of  the  fastest  growing                                                               
populations  but often  a difficult  population  to enumerate  as                                                               
individuals may  live in overcrowded homes,  are multi-racial, or                                                               
may be  difficult to reach.   In reference to a  map illustrating                                                               
the  Native  languages of  Alaska  recognized  as official  state                                                               
languages,   she   stated   that   traditional   boundaries   and                                                               
territories generally fall along  linguistic lines.  She referred                                                               
to  recent efforts  to  keep the  languages  alive, stating  that                                                               
 they are a connection to who  we are.   Ms. Sanders implored all                                                               
Alaskans to learn a greeting in an Alaska Native language.                                                                      
8:35:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SANDERS  sought to  clarify  that  the term   government-to-                                                               
government   relationship,   as   heard  in   federal  government                                                               
settings,  refers  to  a  relationship  based  on  the  political                                                               
status, rather than racial status,  of American Indian and Alaska                                                               
Native  people.   Ms. Sanders  stated that  political and  racial                                                               
status can be conflated; people  may not understand the political                                                               
status that  Alaska Native  people hold and  may get  confused or                                                               
angered  by  the state's  provision  of  free services,  such  as                                                               
healthcare.   Ms. Sanders referenced  that, upon the  founding of                                                               
the country and  in recognition of what tribes  gave up, founders                                                               
made a commitment  to serve as trustees,  provide healthcare, and                                                               
sustain  the  well-being of  American  Indian  and Alaska  Native                                                               
people.  Ms. Sanders explained  that this relationship is founded                                                               
on  treaties and  existing law  and  statute; it  is a  political                                                               
relationship.  As a racial  minority there are other civil rights                                                               
protections  that  Alaska  Native people  are  classified  under,                                                               
which is distinct from protections imbued from political status.                                                                
MS.  SANDERS discussed  the Alaska  Native Claims  Settlement Act                                                               
(ANCSA)  of  1971, which  established  the  ANCSA corporations  -                                                               
entities that  are innovators, leaders,  and economic  drivers in                                                               
the  state.   In  reference  to a  map  showing  the 12  regional                                                               
geographic corporations  superimposed on a map  of the languages,                                                               
Ms.  Sanders pointed  out that  the map  is somewhat  misleading;                                                               
actual  ownership of  ANCSA  corporations can  appear  more as  a                                                               
"checkerboard," with state  and federal land mixed  in with ANCSA                                                               
MS. SANDERS  gave a high-level  overview of the types  and number                                                               
of Alaska Native  organizations.  She described  how the regional                                                               
Native non-profit associations/consortiums  hold tribal delegated                                                               
authority;  the  tribes delegate  authority  to  the tribal  non-                                                               
profits  in   order  to  contract   directly  with   the  federal                                                               
MS. SANDERS  further explained  the tribes'  inherent sovereignty                                                               
that predates  the U.S. Constitution,  a government-to-government                                                               
relationship with  the federal government.   In 2016 or  2017 the                                                               
State of Alaska  issued an attorney general's  memo outlining the                                                               
state's formalized relationship with  tribes.  Corporations, such                                                               
as  ANCSA, are  a  construct of  state law  and  are intended  to                                                               
provide dividends to shareholders.                                                                                              
8:41:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SANDERS noted  the complexity  of navigating  the layers  of                                                               
tribal  governments, municipal  or  borough governments,  village                                                               
corporations,  school   districts,  state  government,   and  the                                                               
federal  government.    She  stated  that  the  resulting  system                                                               
requires that people find ways  to navigate problems and innovate                                                               
solutions.  Ms. Sanders shared  that the First Alaskans Institute                                                               
encourages  tribes  and  corporations  to  spend  time  with  one                                                               
another and  address regional  issues together.   She  noted that                                                               
high-functioning   partnerships   are   an  important   part   of                                                               
maintaining  self-governance.   Ms.  Sanders  stated  that it  is                                                               
important  to  understand  the relationship  between  tribes  and                                                               
governments; while  they are distinct,  some have  memorandums of                                                               
agreement and cooperatives and collaborate  well together.  As an                                                               
example  of  a  successful  partnership,  Ms.  Sanders  described                                                               
villages getting  a new dock,  an addition  to a school,  and the                                                               
rebuilding of  roads as the  product of strong  collaboration and                                                               
8:44:26 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SANDERS shared  a quote  by Jonathon  Solomon of  Fort Yukon                                                               
beginning, "I  share what's on my  table with you.    Ms. Sanders                                                               
explained  that subsistence  is an  economic term  and that  this                                                               
perspective,  in  effect,  casts  Alaska Natives  as  a  "special                                                               
interest  or user  group.     The way  of  life characterized  by                                                               
Jonathan Solomon  and by elders'  stories reflects  a sustainable                                                               
existence with  the land as  caretakers and in  relationship with                                                               
other species.  Ms. Sanders  continued to describe a relationship                                                               
between Alaska  Native communities  and the  land as  a mutualism                                                               
that transcends an economic descriptor.   She stated,  ...[it] is                                                               
not simply putting  food into your mouth    it is a  way of life.                                                               
It is our  education system, it is our well-being,  it is the way                                                               
that we  live in relationship  with our  environment.  It  is our                                                               
spirituality; being on  the land is like going to  church for us.                                                               
...  When  we talk  about  subsistence,  it  is actually  a  very                                                               
limited, narrow  understanding of  the importance  of our  way of                                                               
life."  She  shared that  First  Alaskans  Institute has  shifted                                                               
toward  the  use  of  the  phrase, "our  ways  of  life,"  as  an                                                               
MS. SANDERS stated that Alaska  Native communities have stewarded                                                               
the land for  thousands of years through their way  of life and a                                                               
 rigorous stewardship  system.   She  said that this  may include                                                               
ceremony,  protocols, societal  laws, customs,  practices, and  -                                                               
most importantly -  the culture's value system.   She referred to                                                               
this as   She shared  that this  value system continues  to exist                                                               
and has been  operationalized for a modern context.   Ms. Sanders                                                               
shared  her belief  that all  Alaskans can  partake in  and learn                                                               
from the  value system  of Alaska  Natives; as  individuals build                                                               
relationships and gain exposure  they can acquire and incorporate                                                               
values from Alaska Native cultures.                                                                                             
MS. SANDERS stated  that federal and state wildlife  laws have  a                                                               
resource  shortage use  priority.     She said  this  has been  a                                                               
contentious  issue   for  a   while,  especially   the  differing                                                               
interpretation and regulation of   rural resident priority  under                                                               
the Alaska National Interest Lands  Conservation Act (ANILCA) and                                                               
under state law.                                                                                                                
MS.  SANDERS discussed  the opportunity  for partnership  between                                                               
the   three  sovereign   entities.     She  said   through  self-                                                               
determination   and   self-governance,   also  referred   to   as                                                               
compacting    and    contracting,   there's    opportunity    for                                                               
collaboration.   As an example,  Ms. Sanders pointed  to Alaska's                                                               
tribal  health  system,  which has  assumed  control  for  tribal                                                               
health from  the Indian Health  Service; data has  shown dramatic                                                               
increases in  quality of life  measures, such as  life expectancy                                                               
and immunization  rates.  Ms.  Sanders shared that  Alaska Native                                                               
Tribal Health Consortium  (ANTHC) is often looked to  as a model,                                                               
nationally and internationally,  for the value that  it places on                                                               
respecting Native  Alaskan   self-determination, self-governance,                                                               
and cultural  understandings of being  and wellness.   She stated                                                               
that ANTHC could serve as a model for other systems.                                                                            
8:50:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SANDERS  discussed the need for  partnership between federal,                                                               
state,  and tribal  governments and  the strength  gained through                                                               
collaboration.   She  suggested that,  rather than  imagine these                                                               
entities as  fractions of a  whole, they should be  considered as                                                               
functioning  separately  and  collaboratively.   She  shared  her                                                               
personal belief  that securing a  voice in the  state legislature                                                               
will ensure a bright future for tribal communities.                                                                             
8:51:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SANDERS stated, in reference  to the presentation, that youth                                                               
are  hungry  to know who they  are.   She shared  that people are                                                               
 waking up  to what is possible   in terms of the  integration of                                                               
cultural  values,  an  understanding  of  place,  and  geographic                                                               
intelligence  into the  formal educational  system.   Ms. Sanders                                                               
stated  that   this  might  mean   not   learning  about  western                                                               
expansion. ...   That's not reflective of my  history, that's not                                                               
reflective of my place."  Ms.  Sanders opined that the sooner the                                                               
education  system  reflects the  history  of  Alaska Natives  the                                                               
sooner outcomes will improve.                                                                                                   
8:52:37 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SANDERS  placed emphasis  on valuing  relationships, building                                                               
trust, showing  respect, and  recognizing Alaska  Native culture.                                                               
She implored the  members not to visit communities  for just half                                                               
a  day, but  to spend  time  with tribes.   She  shared that  Ted                                                               
Steven's  legacy  includes  his  visits to  villages  that  often                                                               
lasted four or  five days.  She said,  [People]  may not remember                                                               
all of  his policy actions, but  they remember him as  a person.                                                                
She shared that  listening to the voices of the  youth and elders                                                               
is  important  to  understanding  the needs  and  concerns  of  a                                                               
community.  She shared the  significance of relationships between                                                               
youth  and elders  and invited  the members  to attend  the First                                                               
Alaskans Institute's Elders and Youth Conference.                                                                               
8:55:00 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SANDERS encouraged  the committee  to be  "transformational"                                                               
rather  than "transactional"  and  emphasized creating  long-term                                                               
strategies.   She shared her hope  for a shift in  the mindset of                                                               
partnerships,  which  she  believes   would  bring  a  whole  new                                                               
perspective to, not only the  fiscal situation, but the future of                                                               
Alaska.   Ms.  Sanders  referred  to slide  17  with "thank  you"                                                               
written in every known Alaska  Native language as a demonstration                                                               
of  appreciation,  comradery,  and   friendship  that  the  First                                                               
Alaskans Institute  seeks to  foster with  the committee  and the                                                               
committee members.                                                                                                              
8:57:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE stated  that  our  cultures have  a lot  to                                                               
learn from each  other."  She asked Ms. Sanders  to describe some                                                               
of the values  that Ms. Sanders feels have  not been historically                                                               
8:57:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SANDERS stated  that  respect  is the first  value that comes                                                               
to mind.  She shared that, as  a Native person, she often feels a                                                               
blatant disrespect  and that  the true  history of  Alaska Native                                                               
tribes is disregarded.  Frequently  used narratives of the state,                                                               
such  as  "north to  the  future"  or  "the last  frontier,"  are                                                               
problematic to  Alaska Native  tribes.   Ms. Sanders  stated that                                                               
receiving  these  narratives  and  the  exclusion  of  indigenous                                                               
people from  Alaska's constitution,  coupled with  language about                                                               
pioneers, is hurtful.   She stated that the  establishment of the                                                               
Special Committee on  Tribal Affairs opens the  door to fostering                                                               
a respectful relationship.  She  stated, as another example, that                                                               
the robust system of reciprocity as a  way of life may be hard to                                                               
quantify economically.   She shared  that the  state government's                                                               
management of resources, such as  maximum sustained yield, are in                                                               
opposition to these principles of reciprocity.                                                                                  
9:00:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE said  that she sees and  recognizes that the                                                               
Alaska Native people  have not felt respected and  that this lack                                                               
of   respect   is   portrayed   in   the   Alaska   constitution.                                                               
Representative Vance  asked Ms.  Sanders for forgiveness  for not                                                               
honoring  the people  that were  in Alaska  before statehood  and                                                               
before  the  U.S. Constitution  and  for  the trespass  that  was                                                               
committed upon Alaska's  lands.  She asked for  forgiveness, as a                                                               
representative  of  the  Thirty-First Alaska  State  Legislature.                                                               
Representative Vance  stated that  the members will  show respect                                                               
and honor  to all of the  Alaska Native people in  moving forward                                                               
as  a  special  committee  and  in  other  action  taken  by  the                                                               
MS. SANDERS thanked  Representative Vance.  She  stated that many                                                               
families  are multi-cultural  and multi-racial,  and even  within                                                               
Alaska  Native  communities,  people  are  figuring  out  how  to                                                               
navigate a complicated history.   Ms. Sanders stated that hearing                                                               
Representative  Vance's  acknowledgement  of  disrespect  towards                                                               
Alaska  Native people  lifts a  burden off  the shoulders  of the                                                               
9:02:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LINCOLN  said that  Ms. Sander's  presentation was                                                               
very comprehensive  and that  it elicited  quite a  few memories.                                                               
In   reference    to   Senator   Stevens'    visiting   villages,                                                               
Representative  Lincoln referenced  visits to  remote communities                                                               
made by  Representative Vance's  father.   Representative Lincoln                                                               
thanked Representative Vance for her comments.                                                                                  
9:03:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP thanked Ms.  Sanders for her presentation and                                                               
her narrative of  Alaska's history.  He shared that  he found Ms.                                                               
Sander's discussion of cultural  knowledge systems formed through                                                               
relationship, community, and connection  to place as transcending                                                               
quantifiable  relationships to  be  a  refreshing and  resonating                                                               
perspective.   Representative Kopp  stated, "Alaska  is awakening                                                               
from a long night," in reference  to a history of groups that did                                                               
not  understand one  another, grow  together, or  form community.                                                               
In reference  to state  and tribal  collaboration, Representative                                                               
Kopp stated  that he looks  forward to  a new era  of partnering,                                                               
working in community, and functioning as a collective.                                                                          
9:04:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY thanked the committee  members for their questions                                                               
and comments and welcomed the next speaker.                                                                                     
9:05:22 AM                                                                                                                    
ROSITA WORL, President, Sealaska  Heritage Institute, stated that                                                               
her Tlingit names are Yeidiklats'okw  and Kaahani, that she is an                                                               
Eagle from  the Thunderbird Clan,  of the House Lowered  from the                                                               
Sun of  Klukwan, and a  Child of the  Sockeye Clan.   She thanked                                                               
Chair Zulkosky and the members  of the committee for the creation                                                               
of the Special Committee on Tribal Affairs.                                                                                     
MS. WORL  described her background  as an anthropologist  and her                                                               
conduction  of  research throughout  Alaska  during  the last  40                                                               
years, 10  years of which were  spent in the Alaska  Arctic.  She                                                               
mentioned that she enjoys anthropological  research in Alaska due                                                               
to  the abundance  of interesting  cultures that  have yet  to be                                                               
researched.   She  noted that  she  studied the  North Slope  and                                                               
political  development, and  she  wrote  the first  environmental                                                               
impact  statement on  offshore development,  which addressed  the                                                               
social/cultural   impacts  of   oil  development   on  indigenous                                                               
communities.   She said that  she practices applied  research and                                                               
is  involved with  policy  research.   Ms.  Worl  noted that  she                                                               
served  on  the  Alaska  Federation of  Natives  (AFN)  Board  of                                                               
Directors for 17 years and  served as co-chair of the Subsistence                                                               
Committee  and  has recently  been  asked  to  serve on  the  AFN                                                               
Subsistence Committee again.                                                                                                    
MS. WORL described  the breadth of AFN and stated  that it is the                                                               
largest statewide  Native organization  in Alaska  and represents                                                               
more  than 140,000  Native  peoples,  or one  out  of every  five                                                               
Alaskans.   AFN's  membership includes  191 federally  recognized                                                               
tribes,  171 for-profit  village corporations,  12 regional  for-                                                               
profit  corporations, 12  regional not-for-profit  organizations,                                                               
and several  tribal consortia  that contract  and compact  to run                                                               
federal and  state programs.  She  stated that AFN is  the oldest                                                               
statewide Native corporation in the  state.  Ms. Worl stated that                                                               
the  federal government  settled  Alaska  Native Aboriginal  land                                                               
claims  differently  than  it settled  land  claims  of  American                                                               
Indians.  Early leaders understood  the opportunity before the 12                                                               
regional  non-profit  associations   and  unified  their  efforts                                                               
through AFN  to achieve a fair  settlement.  She noted  that this                                                               
was a unique settlement compared  to those of other native tribes                                                               
in that AFN  sought reparations rather than  the establishment of                                                               
reservations.   Ms.  Worl stated  that, in  seeking control  over                                                               
their  land  and resources,  early  leaders  were making  initial                                                               
efforts towards economic self-determination.   Those leaders were                                                               
instrumental in  enacting ANCSA and, following  this, AFN evolved                                                               
into the  principle forum  for Alaska  Natives to  address public                                                               
policy issues in government.                                                                                                    
9:11:01 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. WORL stated that AFN's mission  is to advance and enhance the                                                               
voice of Alaska  Native communities on national  and state policy                                                               
matters  such  as  civil  rights,  economic  rights,  development                                                               
opportunities,   voting   rights,  food   security,   traditional                                                               
subsistence rights,  and the right of  tribal self-determination.                                                               
She said AFN   internal organization  reflects a unique political                                                               
history: it is  governed by a 38-member Board  of Directors, with                                                               
elected  and appointed  officials  serving from  each  of the  12                                                               
ANCSA geographic  regions; the other  two members are  elected by                                                               
the voting delegates  to serve two-year terms as  co-chairs.  The                                                               
AFN  Convention  serves  as  the   annual  board  meeting,  which                                                               
establishes priorities through the resolution process.                                                                          
MS.  WORL stated  that,  for thousands  of  years, Alaska  Native                                                               
peoples have  survived and thrived  in what visitors refer  to as                                                               
"the harshest  environmental conditions on the  planet," while to                                                               
Alaska Native  peoples it  is their ancient  homeland.   Ms. Worl                                                               
shared  that as  fueled  by cultural  values, ancient  practices,                                                               
traditional knowledge,  and deep  attachment to the  land, Alaska                                                               
Native  peoples have  an intimate  knowledge of  the environment.                                                               
Regional and village for-profit  Native corporations and not-for-                                                               
profit  Native  corporations  are  economic  and  social  drivers                                                               
within their  respective regions  and generate  multi-millions of                                                               
dollars  in  state  funds  and  investments.   There  is  a  keen                                                               
awareness that Alaska is at  a financial crossroads; the state is                                                               
facing a  budget deficit and  Governor Mike  Dunleavey's proposed                                                               
cuts  would  have  a  dramatic  impact  upon  all  Alaskans,  but                                                               
particularly  those  in  rural  areas.    It  would  be  mutually                                                               
beneficial for the  state to consult and  collaborate with Native                                                               
and  tribal  groups  to  diminish   what  could  be  "devastating                                                               
impacts" to current and future populations.                                                                                     
9:14:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  WORL shared  that  Sealaska Heritage  Institute  (SHI) is  a                                                               
small entity  compared with other statewide  tribal organizations                                                               
and  that, despite  this,  SHI has  generated  and expanded  upon                                                               
limited resources through partnerships  with school districts and                                                               
the University of  Alaska.  She stated that SHI  has 85 employees                                                               
who earned  $4 million dollars  in income, spent $7.1  million in                                                               
Juneau,  generated more  than $170,000  in sales  and bed  taxes,                                                               
utilized over  200 Juneau  vendors for  purchases, and  paid more                                                               
than  $800,000 to  60  contractors for  services  related to  SHI                                                               
programs.   Ms. Worl noted  that the integration of  language and                                                               
culture into academic institutions  improves academic standing of                                                               
Native students.  Ms. Worl  provided metrics of SHI's impact upon                                                               
the Juneau and  Alaska economy and expressed  admiration for this                                                               
small, though  formidable, private nonprofit that  was founded to                                                               
enhance  Tlingit,  Haida,  and Tsimshian  cultures  in  Southeast                                                               
MS.  WORL  shared  that,  while   she  was  the  Native  &  Rural                                                               
Specialist  in Governor  Steve Cowper's  Office, she  studied the                                                               
impact of  federal funds allocated  to Alaska Natives  because of                                                               
their political status, which amounted  to $400 million annually.                                                               
The  group  also passed  a  policy  that recognized  the  special                                                               
status of Native  tribes.  The policy was  formalized into action                                                               
by  Governor  Tony Knowles,  but  subsequently  rescinded by  the                                                               
proceeding  Governor.   She  stated that  the  amount of  federal                                                               
funds flowing into  the state has significantly  increased in the                                                               
last 33 years.   Relationships between tribes and  the state have                                                               
also  significantly improved,  a partial  product of  the state's                                                               
recognition of the legitimacy of tribes.                                                                                        
MS. WORL restated that partnerships  between school districts and                                                               
the  university  system  increase efficiency,  funding,  and  the                                                               
quality  of services  for tribal  communities.   She  recommended                                                               
that  the State  of  Alaska consider  the  adoption of  policies,                                                               
similar  to   that  of  the  federal   government,  that  require                                                               
consultation  between  the  state government  and  Alaska  Native                                                               
tribes and corporations.   Ms. Worl further  recommended that the                                                               
State of Alaska formalize collaboration  with tribes and ANCs, as                                                               
modeled  after the  New  Mexico  State-Tribal Collaboration  Act.                                                               
She relayed that  such a policy would  promote: communication and                                                               
collaboration  between state  agency,  Indian  tribes, and  ANCs;                                                               
positive   government-to-government  relationships   between  the                                                               
state and  Indian entities; and cultural  competency in providing                                                               
services to Native Alaskans.                                                                                                    
9:23:03 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. WORL  relayed an AFN  initiative to  support the growth  of a                                                               
military  presence in  Alaska, which  she believes  holds promise                                                               
for Alaska  Natives as well  as the state.   She stated  that AFN                                                               
recently  met with  military officials  in Washington,  D.C., and                                                               
discussed possible  collaborations with  the military.   She said                                                               
AFN  supports a  military  presence in  Alaska,  but rather  than                                                               
repeat mistakes made  during the first excursion  of the military                                                               
entering  Alaska, which  ignored the  presence of  Native people,                                                               
AFN would like to promote collaboration.                                                                                        
9:25:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY thanked  Ms. Worl for her remarks  and her history                                                               
of work on  behalf of Alaskans.  Chair Zulkosky  invited the next                                                               
speaker to begin his presentation.                                                                                              
9:26:23 AM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD PETERSON,  President, Central Council of  Tlingit & Haida                                                               
Indian Tribes  of Alaska ("Tlingit &  Haida"), introduced himself                                                               
and shared that  he is Kaagwaantaan from the  Eagle's Nest house.                                                               
He expressed his gratitude to  Chair Zulkosky, Vice-Chair Edgmon,                                                               
and the committee for this long-overdue convening.                                                                              
MR. PETERSON shared  that Tlingit & Haida is the  oldest tribe in                                                               
Alaska;  the  tribal  assembly   will  hold  their  eighty-fourth                                                               
convening  this April.   Tlingit  &  Haida is  the only  regional                                                               
tribe  in  Alaska,  representing nearly  32,000  tribal  citizens                                                               
worldwide, with almost  7,000 residing in Juneau;  there are also                                                               
large constituencies  in Anchorage and  the railbelt.   He stated                                                               
that the  Alaska Native Brotherhood  (ANB) and the  Alaska Native                                                               
Sisterhood (ANS)  were born  out of a  lawsuit; the  two entities                                                               
had been opposing land claims before the ANCSA settlement.                                                                      
9:28:19 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PETERSON paused his statement  and offered an apology for not                                                               
recognizing  earlier  the lands  that  the  committee is  meeting                                                               
upon, the  Auke Kwaan  and Taku  Kwaan, and  the elders  that are                                                               
present.   He noted their  fortune to have esteemed  elders, like                                                               
Marie Olsen and John Morris, in the audience.                                                                                   
9:28:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PETERSON   stated  that  Tlingit   &  Haida   has  conducted                                                               
government-to-government  relations  for  nearly  84  years  with                                                               
quite  a few  programs  in operation,  such as  Head  Start.   He                                                               
stated that the  tribe has a $25,000,000  recurring budget, which                                                               
fluctuates  depending  on  grants.   He  discussed  the  economic                                                               
sovereignty  of the  tribe and  the  establishment of  for-profit                                                               
businesses.  He  shared that there are quite a  few businesses in                                                               
Juneau  that employ  predominately, but  not exclusively,  tribal                                                               
MR.  PETERSON stated  that economic  sovereignty is  important of                                                               
maintaining  sustainability  for  the   tribe's  programs.    The                                                               
tribe's focus is on the  social, economic, physical well-being of                                                               
tribal  citizens; this  influences  the programs  that the  tribe                                                               
operates, focusing on seniors,  youth, and hard-to-serve clients,                                                               
such as  those that are  homeless or about  to be homeless.   Mr.                                                               
Peterson stated that the governor's  proposed budget, which would                                                               
slash programs such as Head  Start, causes concern.  Mr. Peterson                                                               
revisited the  earlier discussion of  values and shared  that the                                                               
tribes   values  center  around   their  youth  and  elders,  two                                                               
populations that  appear to  be the hardest  hit by  the proposed                                                               
budget.   He shared that  the sudden increase in  living expenses                                                               
imposed  upon  high-need  elders  at  the  Pioneer  Home  is  not                                                               
sustainable.    He re-emphasized  his concern about  the proposed                                                               
budget and the possible consequences of its passage.                                                                            
9:32:34 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PETERSON  stated that the  State of  Alaska has yet  to truly                                                               
recognize the  tribe's sovereignty but,  in asking the  tribes to                                                               
waive their  sovereignty, the  state implicitly  recognizes their                                                               
existence and sovereignty.   He reiterated his  gratitude for the                                                               
formation of the committee and  urged its members to address some                                                               
of  the  issues   he's  discussed.    Returning   to  an  earlier                                                               
discussion of values,  Mr. Peterson added  trust,   and he stated                                                               
that it is "hard to trust a group  that says we don't exist."  He                                                               
stated that the formation of this  committee is the first step in                                                               
the formation of  trust.  He expressed his hope  to see a similar                                                               
type  of committee  form permanently  in  the Senate  and in  the                                                               
Office of the Governor.                                                                                                         
9:34:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PETERSON  shared that  he considers  the proposed  budget "an                                                               
attack on  values" and  noted it  seems particularly  targeted to                                                               
affect rural and  tribal citizens of Alaska.  He  shared his hope                                                               
that the  Special Committee on  Tribal Affairs  develop solutions                                                               
in collaboration  with tribes, and  he implored the  committee to                                                               
consider  how  it can  bring  tribes  into  the discussion.    He                                                               
relayed that  SHI and  Tlingit & Haida  hosted the  Native Issues                                                               
Forum the day  prior, where Lieutenant Governor  Kevin Meyer used                                                               
the  analogy of  ornaments on  a Christmas  tree to  describe the                                                               
elimination  of funding  for services  deemed  inessential.   Mr.                                                               
Peterson expressed  his disagreement  and noted  the misalignment                                                               
of this  analogy with  the role  of Alaska  Native tribes  in the                                                               
provision and stewardship of resources.   Mr. Richards shared his                                                               
belief that Alaska's Native population  is rich in innovative and                                                               
savvy people  and asked  the committee  members to  consider this                                                               
when  working with  the  governor's  administration and  proposed                                                               
MR. PETERSON thanked  the committee for the  opportunity to speak                                                               
and noted  the breadth of issues  on which he and  other entities                                                               
are interested in collaborating.                                                                                                
9:37:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY  said  "quyana"  and  thanked  Mr.  Peterson  for                                                               
speaking  on behalf  of  the tribal  government.   She  expressed                                                               
appreciation for Mr. Peterson's  comments about tribes being part                                                               
of  the   solution  and,  echoing  earlier   statements,  finding                                                               
"transformational"   relationships   and   partnerships.      She                                                               
recognized that Tlingit  & Haida has a long  history of brokering                                                               
state and tribal  relations that have benefited  the community of                                                               
Juneau and the state.                                                                                                           
9:38:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  reflected  on   the  historic  nature  of                                                               
today's meeting.  He stated, as follows:                                                                                        
     It  is   not  lost  on   me  that  there's  a   lot  of                                                                    
     misunderstanding.    There  are  a  lot  of  uninformed                                                                    
     opinions of  what tribes do,  and what  they represent,                                                                    
     and  what  they're  capable  of,  and  whether  or  not                                                                    
     they're in  the Alaska Constitution, or  whether or not                                                                    
     they're  viable entities.    There has,  unfortunately,                                                                    
     been   the  pejorative   ring   of   tying  tribes   to                                                                    
     sovereignty  or   to  subsistence  or  to,   as  Andrea                                                                    
     [Sanders]   pointed   out,  the   fact   that...they're                                                                    
     referred to as stakeholders  or special interest groups                                                                    
     or just another  ... entity out there.  ... I'll close,                                                                    
     Madame Chair  and committee members,  by saying  that I                                                                    
     think it will be a real  privilege to serve with all of                                                                    
     you  on  this  committee  and   being  a  part  of  the                                                                    
     inaugural hearing  and certainly  playing a  small role                                                                    
     in getting the committee formed.   I view the committee                                                                    
     as  a committee  of  opportunity and  certainly one  of                                                                    
     healing and  of respect and  of going forward  and also                                                                    
     putting the  best foot of  the Alaska  Native community                                                                    
     as a  whole forward.  We  have many miles to  go and, I                                                                    
     think, in some  respects, we have been  on this journey                                                                    
     for  a  long  time.   I'm  really  excited  about  this                                                                    
     committee  being formed.   I  would hope,  as my  final                                                                    
      remark, that this committee goes into perpetuity as                                                                       
        being ... a regular feature of the Alaska State                                                                         
     Legislature in the years ahead.                                                                                            
9:40:54 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Tribal Affairs meeting was adjourned at                                                                    
9:41 a.m.                                                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Alaska Native Governance FAI.pdf HTRB 3/7/2019 8:00:00 AM
First Alaskans Institute