Legislature(2023 - 2024)DAVIS 106

03/06/2023 03:00 PM House TRIBAL AFFAIRS

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
03:05:55 PM Start
03:07:15 PM Presentation(s): Alaska Natives 101
03:51:48 PM Presentation(s): Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Overview
04:08:55 PM Presentation(s): Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes
04:29:22 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Teleconference <Listen Only> --
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Presentation: Alaska Natives 101 by Liz La quen TELECONFERENCED
náay Medicine Crow, President/CEO, First
Alaskan's Institute; Barbara ‘Wáahlaal Gíidaak
Blake, Director, Alaska Native Policy Center;
Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson, President, Tlingit
and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska; and Kim
Reitmeier, President, ANCSA Regional Association
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
           HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON TRIBAL AFFAIRS                                                                          
                         March 6, 2023                                                                                          
                           3:05 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative CJ McCormick, Chair                                                                                              
Representative Ben Carpenter                                                                                                    
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
Representative Jamie Allard                                                                                                     
Representative Maxine Dibert                                                                                                    
Representative Jennie Armstrong                                                                                                 
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Josiah Patkotak                                                                                                  
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION(S): ALASKA NATIVES 101                                                                                             
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PRESENTATION(S): ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT OVERVIEW                                                                   
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PRESENTATION(S): TLINGIT & HAIDA INDIAN TRIBES                                                                                  
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
BARBARA 'WAAHLAAL GIIDAAK BLAKE, Director                                                                                       
Alaska Native Policy Center                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided a presentation on Alaska Natives                                                                
KIM REITMEIER, President                                                                                                        
ANCSA Regional Association                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  a  presentation overviewing  the                                                             
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.                                                                                            
RICHARD CHALYEE ÉESH PETERSON, President                                                                                        
Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Presented on  the Tlingit  & Haida  Indian                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:05:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CJ MCCORMICK  called the House Special  Committee on Tribal                                                             
Affairs  meeting   to  order  at   3:05  p.m.     Representatives                                                               
Carpenter, Allard, Dibert, Armstrong,  and McCormick were present                                                               
at  the call  to  order.   Representative  Vance  arrived as  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
^PRESENTATION(S): Alaska Natives 101                                                                                            
              PRESENTATION(S): Alaska Natives 101                                                                           
3:07:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCCORMICK announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be the Alaska Natives 101 presentation.                                                                                         
3:08:57 PM                                                                                                                    
BARBARA 'WAAHLAAL  GIIDAAK BLAKE, Director, Alaska  Native Policy                                                               
Center, emphasized  the lack of  learning spaces for  the complex                                                               
community  of  the  Alaska   Native  peoples,  institutions,  and                                                               
governments.   She stated that  the only resources to  learn were                                                               
either the university systems in  Alaska or through organizations                                                               
like  First Alaskans  Institute, and  said she  hoped the  Alaska                                                               
Natives  101 presentation  [hard copy  provided in  the committee                                                               
packet]   would  provide   information  of   the  diversity   and                                                               
complexity of the Alaska Native community.                                                                                      
3:10:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAKE began the presentation on  slide 4, and played a video,                                                               
titled  "Basketball   Awareness  Test,"  which   highlighted  the                                                               
difficulty to focus  on something unless told to look  at it, and                                                               
how  the same  concept applied  to  Alaska Natives  when they  go                                                               
unnoticed with policy decisions.                                                                                                
3:12:43 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAKE  moved to slide  5, "What  all Alaskans need  to know,"                                                               
and stated  the Alaska  Native people have  over 10,000  years of                                                               
carbon-dated  and  DNA-tested  proof of  stewardship  within  the                                                               
state of  Alaska.  She  emphasized that the Alaska  Native tribes                                                               
are not one  monolith, and the differences in  culture within the                                                               
Alaska Native  tribes between her  people and the Inupiaq  are as                                                               
different  as her  people  and the  Maori of  New  Zealand.   She                                                               
stated there are  some cultural values shared  between the Alaska                                                               
Native tribes and described them  as "human values" that could be                                                               
seen in cultural groups across the globe.                                                                                       
3:15:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAKE displayed  slide 6, "3 Sovereigns,"  which listed three                                                               
forms of  government:   tribal, state, and  federal.   She stated                                                               
there are sophisticated forms of  governance structure within the                                                               
229  tribes  within  Alaska.     She  said  the  three  forms  of                                                               
government could be thought of as  three thirds, or that it could                                                               
be thought of  as three wholes looking to care  for the people of                                                               
3:17:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BLAKE moved  to  slide 7,  which  showed a  map  of the  229                                                               
federally recognized tribes  in Alaska, and stated  over one half                                                               
of  the tribes  across  the  U.S. are  located  in  Alaska.   She                                                               
highlighted that  many of the  communities are not  accessible by                                                               
road and  must use  air or boat  to travel in  and out,  and that                                                               
each  community has  its  own forms  of  caretaking and  cultural                                                               
values.   She added that many  of the tribes in  Southeast Alaska                                                               
are part  of the Tlingit Nation  but chose to be  separate tribes                                                               
under the  federal government due  to their differences  of laws,                                                               
cultural values, and care taking.                                                                                               
3:20:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BLAKE followed  with  slide 8,  "We know  who  we are,"  and                                                               
stated that all the tribes in  Alaska were orate and did not have                                                               
a  written   language.    She  emphasized   that  generations  of                                                               
knowledge and value  systems were passed down  orally, and elders                                                               
ensured the  stories were known  word for  word.  She  stated the                                                               
elders  that fight  for Alaska  Natives have  value systems  that                                                               
were  passed down  from the  generations before  them.   She said                                                               
that  when  the  language,  songs, dance,  ceremonial  wear,  and                                                               
Native vests were  outlawed, the Alaska Native  people had hidden                                                               
their values in  the aspects of the culture they  were allowed to                                                               
3:22:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAKE moved to slide 9,  which showed a diagram depicting the                                                               
different languages  in Alaska and the  connecting groups between                                                               
them.   She  stated  under the  Athabascan  languages, Ahtna  and                                                               
Gwich'in could understand  some of the words  between each other,                                                               
but many words  are different.  She said that  Alaska Natives are                                                               
22 percent of the state population.                                                                                             
3:24:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAKE  continued to  slide 10  which displayed  a map  of the                                                               
different  languages across  Alaska, Canada,  and some  states in                                                               
the Lower  48.   She stated  that the  border between  Alaska and                                                               
Canada divide many of the  communities physically, but the tribes                                                               
do  not  recognize the  divide  as  separating their  communities                                                               
3:27:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAKE  moved to slide  11, "Our Relationship,"  and clarified                                                               
the distinction  between the Alaska  Native racial  and political                                                               
status as the  political status was based on  the inherent rights                                                               
of Alaska Native  governments, where the racial  status was based                                                               
on  the  civil rights  in  the  U.S.    She commented  that  many                                                               
individuals  speak of  the race-based  rights  of Alaska  Natives                                                               
when it  should be towards  their political status, and  that the                                                               
favoritism seen  within Alaska towards tribes  was political, not                                                               
3:28:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BLAKE showed  slide 12,  "Opportunities to  Strengthen," and                                                               
described  the  "three C's  of  tribal  sovereignty."   She  said                                                               
consultation  was talking  to  tribal  governments before  making                                                               
decisions that  would affect the  tribes, while  recognizing that                                                               
both  entities  were sovereign.    She  explained the  difference                                                               
between  compacting  and  contracting as  compacting  focused  on                                                               
recognizing the sovereignty of the  entities and agreeing to make                                                               
measures  towards a  goal, while  contracting doesn't  care about                                                               
the  sovereignty   between  entities  and  focused   on  specific                                                               
3:31:39 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.   BLAKE   moved   slide   13,   "Types   of   Alaska   Native                                                               
Organizations," and  stated there are 229  tribal governments, 12                                                               
Alaska   Native   Claims    Settlement   Act   (ANCSA)   regional                                                               
corporations,  close to  180 ANCSA  village corporations,  and 12                                                               
regional native  nonprofits.   She said it  is important  to know                                                               
the distinction  between Alaska  Native tribes  and corporations,                                                               
as   the  tribal   governments  have   an  inherent   sovereignty                                                               
acknowledged  by  the  federal  and  state  government,  and  the                                                               
regional  and village  corporations are  the result  of ANCSA  in                                                               
1971  to give  Alaska  Natives  direct control  of  some land  in                                                               
Alaska.   She  added  that the  distinction  between village  and                                                               
regional corporations  is that the  village corporations  own the                                                               
surface land, while the regional  corporations own the subsurface                                                               
land.    She  noted  there   was  a  former  thirteenth  regional                                                               
corporation for individuals outside  of Alaska that was dissolved                                                               
when ANCSA  was amended to  allow individuals to join  their home                                                               
3:36:09 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAKE  stated the regional  and village corporations  are the                                                               
entities that received  and retain the land  settlements from the                                                               
federal  government.   She said  the  regional corporations  have                                                               
7(i)  Revenue  Sharing,  which distributes  70  percent  of  each                                                               
corporation's  natural  resource  profits   to  each  of  the  12                                                               
corporations,  and the  village  corporations  have 7(j)  Revenue                                                               
Sharing,  which  distributes  the   7(i)  funds  to  the  village                                                               
corporations.    She  added  that  the  regional  nonprofits  can                                                               
negotiate  for   federal  funding,  such  as   Indian  Healthcare                                                               
funding,  through the  authority of  the tribes  in the  regional                                                               
nonprofits' area.                                                                                                               
3:39:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAKE showed  slide 14, which displayed a map  of Alaska with                                                               
the different regions of Alaska  Native languages and the borders                                                               
of  the  ANCSA  regional  corporations  overlayed  on  it.    She                                                               
commented that  the borders of  the regional  corporations almost                                                               
align with the borders of languages, with some exceptions.                                                                      
MS. BLAKE  skipped to slide  16, "Understanding the  Layers," and                                                               
stated  all the  tribes  in Alaska  are autonomous,  independent,                                                               
inter-dependent  and have  concurrent community  care.   She said                                                               
although  there are  distinct differences  between  the goals  of                                                               
individual  tribes  and  ANCSA corporations,  there  is  still  a                                                               
recognition  of  all entities  being  Alaska  Native and  working                                                               
together  to  provide   community  care.    She   said  that  the                                                               
relationships  between  municipal  governments   are  a  form  of                                                               
community care and can amplify the voices of Alaska Natives.                                                                    
3:42:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAKE  moved to slide 17,  "PL 280," and said  Public Law 83-                                                               
280  (PL 280)  was  enacted  within 8  states  and grants  tribes                                                               
concurrent  jurisdiction alongside  state and  federal government                                                               
for  tribal members.    She added  that a  lot  of federal  funds                                                               
Alaska is given  are on behalf of Alaska Natives  through PL 280,                                                               
and the State of Alaska had  a responsibility to maintain a level                                                               
of care for the Indigenous population.                                                                                          
3:45:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BLAKE  displayed slide  18,  "Alaska  Law Enforcement,"  and                                                               
stated  the  Alaska  State Troopers  and  Village  Public  Safety                                                               
Officers are a state function,  while the Village Police Officers                                                               
and Tribal  Police Officers  began as a  pilot program  from U.S.                                                               
Senator Lisa Murkowski with direct  federal law enforcement funds                                                               
for tribes.                                                                                                                     
3:46:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAKE moved  to slide 19, "Our Ways of  Life," and stated the                                                               
ways  of life  for Alaska  Native people  isn't just  hunting and                                                               
fishing but a  wholistic coverage of Alaska Native  culture.  She                                                               
told  a  story  of  when  her  son was  able  to  return  from  a                                                               
subsistence harvest with  enough food to feed  the entire family,                                                               
and an  elder said  that he  was old enough  to have  his manhood                                                               
ceremony.   She stated  she was  a single parent  to her  son his                                                               
entire life,  and when he  went through his manhood  ceremony, he                                                               
gained  a different  recognition of  who he  was expected  to be.                                                               
She said that he understood it  wasn't about his ability to catch                                                               
a fish,  but about his  ability to care  for the community.   She                                                               
emphasized  that  during  his  manhood  ceremony  others  in  the                                                               
community  provided help  and guidance  on how  to be  a man  and                                                               
surrounded him  with their ways  of life.   She said the  ways of                                                               
life  of   Alaska  Natives  are   incredibly  important   to  the                                                               
spirituality, culture, people, and the  future of how to care for                                                               
those in the community.                                                                                                         
3:49:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BLAKE  displayed  slide  21,  "Solutions  for  all  Alaskans                                                               
Exist,"  and emphasized  co-management  solutions, combining  the                                                               
effects of tribes, state, and  federal governments to amplify the                                                               
ability to care for the Alaska people.                                                                                          
^PRESENTATION(S): Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Overview                                                                  
 PRESENTATION(S): Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Overview                                                              
3:51:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCCORMICK announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be   the   Alaska   Native   Claims   Settlement   Act   Overview                                                               
3:52:15 PM                                                                                                                    
KIM REITMEIER,  President, ANCSA Regional Association,  began the                                                               
Alaska  Native  Claims  Settlement Act  presentation  [hard  copy                                                               
included  in committee  packet] on  slide  2, "Who  Are We?"  and                                                               
stated the  ANCSA Regional  Association was  created in  the late                                                               
'90s  to  represent the  12  ANCSA  regional corporations.    She                                                               
continued  with  slide 3,  "Board  of  Directors," and  said  the                                                               
presidents and CEOs of each  regional corporation are part of the                                                               
board   of  directors   to  ensure   collaboration  between   the                                                               
presidents  and CEOs  for  the betterment  of  the Alaska  Native                                                               
3:54:50 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. REITMEIER moved to slide  4, "Alaska's Unique Constellation,"                                                               
and emphasized  the need for  the regional  corporations, village                                                               
corporations, regional  nonprofits, tribes, and  statewide native                                                               
organization  to come  together  to represent  the Alaska  Native                                                               
people.   She said that  through ANCSA the  regional corporations                                                               
own the subsurface  rights to land, and  the village corporations                                                               
own the surface rights.                                                                                                         
MS. REITMEIER displayed  slide 5, "The Settlement  and Its Unique                                                               
Features,"  and stated  that ANCSA  was a  unique federal  Indian                                                               
policy signed  by former  President Richard Nixon  in 1971.   She                                                               
emphasized  not all  Alaska  Native people  or  regions voted  to                                                               
support ANCSA  as they viewed it  was a land giveaway,  but after                                                               
years of discussion came together to  sign the Act.  She read off                                                               
slide 5, which was as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                  
     43.7 Million Acres of Land                                                                                                 
     Land held in fee simple title                                                                                              
     $962.5 Million Dollars                                                                                                     
        Moneys paid for lands that cannot be returned to                                                                        
     Native ownership                                                                                                           
     12 Regional Corporations                                                                                                   
     Private, for-profit corporations                                                                                           
     211 Village Corporations                                                                                                   
     Private, for-profit corporations                                                                                           
MS. REITMEIER  added that  the regional  corporations' boundaries                                                               
are  defined  by  heritage  and common  interests,  and  all  the                                                               
regional  and village  corporations  are  disconnected from  each                                                               
other.    She  emphasized  the corporations  are  different  from                                                               
traditional corporations,  as the  corporations were  dictated in                                                               
ANCSA  to  provide  economically,  socially,  and  culturally  to                                                               
3:58:09 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  REITMEIER   moved  to  slide  6,   "Alaska  Native  Regional                                                               
Corporations," which contained a  map depicting the boundaries of                                                               
the 12  ANCSA regional corporations.   She stated  the thirteenth                                                               
regional  corporation that  was  established  for Alaska  Natives                                                               
outside of Alaska was not  provided any land, but was compensated                                                               
with funds,  and later  dissolved.  She  added that  Sealaska was                                                               
formerly  the largest  regional  corporation by  members but  was                                                               
surpassed  by the  Calista Corporation  which  has nearly  35,000                                                               
members, and that  Doyon is that largest  regional corporation by                                                               
landmass with 12,500,000 acres of land.                                                                                         
3:59:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. REITMEIER continued  to slide 7, "Alaska  Land Status," which                                                               
contained  a map  depicting who  owns  what sections  of land  in                                                               
Alaska.    She  stated  corporations   had  dealt  with  frequent                                                               
trespassing  issues, such  as Ahtna  Inc., which  owned excellent                                                               
hunting lands.                                                                                                                  
MS. REITMEIER followed  with side 8, "Who Owns  Alaska?" and said                                                               
Alaska is unique  as it is the state with  the most federally and                                                               
state-owned land,  but ANCSA corporations  own 92 percent  of all                                                               
privately  owned   land.    She  emphasized   the  importance  of                                                               
consultation between the state and  tribe due to the large amount                                                               
of land owned by ANCSA corporations.                                                                                            
4:01:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  REITMEIER moved  to slide  9, "Our  Shareholders," and  said                                                               
ANCSA  call  members of  the  regional  and village  corporations                                                               
"shareholders".  She  added each ANCSA corporation  was given two                                                               
years  to enroll  shareholders  that have  at  least one  quarter                                                               
Native  blood quantum  and are  born  on or  before December  18,                                                               
1971, and to give each shareholder 100 shares.                                                                                  
MS.  REITMEIER displayed  slide 10,  "Socially Responsible,  For-                                                               
Profit  Corporations,"  and stated  there  was  a 20-year  period                                                               
given to ANCSA  to work out its issues, which  ANCSA used to pass                                                               
the 1991 Amendment which extended  the period of stock alienation                                                               
to preserve  Alaska Native  ownership of  the corporations.   She                                                               
said  the  boards  of  directors  of  the  regional  and  village                                                               
corporations are elected by the  Alaska Native shareholders.  She                                                               
added  that  the  ANCSA corporations  are  different  from  other                                                               
corporations   as  they   diversify  the   Alaska  economy,   are                                                               
headquartered in  Alaska, do business on  an international scale,                                                               
employ  Alaskans,  and  bring  in  money  for  the  state.    She                                                               
emphasized  that undeveloped  land is  not carried  on a  balance                                                               
sheet   for  the   corporations,  in   contrast  to   traditional                                                               
4:03:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  REITMEIER followed  with slide  11, "Revenue  Sharing (7i  &                                                               
7j)," and stated that 70  percent of natural resource development                                                               
was shared between the 12 corporations,  and that a minimum of 50                                                               
percent  of the  shared  revenue  was passed  on  to the  village                                                               
corporations.    She said  revenue  sharing  was created  by  the                                                               
elders  to  ensure  the   natural  resource  disparities  between                                                               
corporations  was   distributed  to  take  care   of  each  other                                                               
regardless of  location.   She added  that the  five-year average                                                               
was over  $200 million  dollars shared  between the  regional and                                                               
village corporations  under 7(i)  revenue sharing, which  was key                                                               
support to village corporations.                                                                                                
MS. REITMEIER  moved to  slide 12, "Benefits  for Our  People and                                                               
Communities," and  emphasized the  different programs  that ANCSA                                                               
corporations  provide for  communities in  Alaska, such  as elder                                                               
benefits, culture  camps, language  revitalization, scholarships,                                                               
training activities, and advocacy efforts.                                                                                      
4:05:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. REITMEIER  displayed slide 13, "ANCSA  Regional Corporations:                                                               
By  the Numbers,"  which read  as  follows [original  punctuation                                                               
     from 64,000 to +150,000                                                                                                    
     Scholarship Funds Awarded                                                                                                  
     from $2.5m to $14m                                                                                                         
     Scholarships Awarded:                                                                                                      
     5,000+ in FY21                                                                                                             
     Dividends Paid to Shareholders:                                                                                            
     from $52.5m to $217m                                                                                                       
     Five-Year Average of $22m/year                                                                                             
     Alaska Employees                                                                                                           
     Employees Worldwide                                                                                                        
4:06:47 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. REITMEIER moved  to slide 14, "Cultural Values  at Work," and                                                               
stated  out of  the  top 49  performing  private corporations  in                                                               
Alaska,  25   are  either  Alaska  Native   regional  or  village                                                               
corporations.   She added over  $4 billion in dividends  had been                                                               
paid  to   Native  shareholders,  more  than   58,000  individual                                                               
scholarships  had been  awarded  to shareholders,  and over  $119                                                               
million in  scholarship money had  been awarded to  Alaska Native                                                               
4:07:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. REITMEIER ended  her presentation on slide 15  and added that                                                               
there was  a 30-minute  video available  celebrating 50  years of                                                               
^PRESENTATION(S): Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes                                                                                 
         PRESENTATION(S): Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes                                                                     
4:08:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCCORMICK announced that the  final order of business would                                                               
be a presentation on the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes.                                                                         
4:09:06 PM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD CHALYEE ÉESH PETERSON, President,  Central Council of the                                                               
Tlingit &  Haida Indian Tribes  of Alaska, described when  he was                                                               
elected  mayor of  his village  at  19 years  old, people  talked                                                               
about tribes  in whispers  in the  capitol, and  to see  that the                                                               
House Special  Committee on Tribal  Affairs existed went  to show                                                               
the progress that  had been made in  relationships between tribes                                                               
and the State of Alaska.                                                                                                        
MR. PETERSON stated that Tlingit  & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska                                                               
("Tlingit &  Haida") is the largest  tribe in all of  Alaska with                                                               
over  35,000  enrolled  tribal  citizens  and  is  unique  as  it                                                               
represents all  Southeast communities.   He added that  Tlingit &                                                               
Haida  is federally  recognized as  a government  by Congress  in                                                               
1975, making  it the oldest  tribe.   He said the  governing body                                                               
comprised  116   tribal  delegates  elected  from   19  Southeast                                                               
communities, Seattle, and  San Fransico.  He  stated that Seattle                                                               
and   San   Fransico   were  included   because   of   historical                                                               
extermination efforts made to relocate  Native Alaskans and "Kill                                                               
the Indian, Save the Man."                                                                                                      
4:12:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PETERSON stated  the tribe  has offices  in Juneau,  Haines,                                                               
Craig, Ketchikan, Sitka,  Anchorage, and soon to  be Seattle, has                                                               
over  500 employees,  and has  over  1,600 government  contracted                                                               
employees outside  of direct  employees.   He added  that Tlingit                                                               
and Haidi has established community  navigators in each community                                                               
to  serve  as   a  point  of  contact   to  access  scholarships,                                                               
opportunities, programs, and general help.                                                                                      
4:13:49 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PETERSON   stated  Tlingit   &  Haida  have   government  to                                                               
government  relationships  with  federal,  state,  and  municipal                                                               
governments, and  that compacting  is a government  to government                                                               
agreement   to   administer   programs.      He   expressed   his                                                               
disappointment with State of Alaska  suing the federal government                                                               
over the approval  of Tlingit & Haida's  application for land-to-                                                               
trust, and  added that  the sovereignty  of Alaska  Native tribes                                                               
should not be in question as  the State of Alaska had sued Alaska                                                               
Native  tribes before  and lost.    He stated  gratitude for  the                                                               
state  recognizing  tribes  in the  [Thirty-Second  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature]  and  upholding  the sovereignty  of  Alaska  Native                                                               
tribes.   He  stated Tlingit  and  Haidi made  compacts with  the                                                               
federal government  on behalf  of the  communities it  served, as                                                               
well  as administering  Temporary Assistance  for Needy  Families                                                               
(TANF),  employment   training,  childcare,   natural  resources,                                                               
economic  development,  tribal  court, public  safety,  broadband                                                               
deployment,  and community  behavioral services.   He  added that                                                               
although Tlingit  & Haida compacted with  the federal government,                                                               
it sought to  have economic sovereignty, so that  it wasn't bound                                                               
by the restrictions placed on federal funds.                                                                                    
4:17:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PETERSON  said as  the president  of Tlingit  & Haidi,  he is                                                               
responsible for serving all 35,000  tribal citizens regardless of                                                               
where they  reside.  He added  that Tlingit & Haida  was the sole                                                               
owner of Tlingit Haida Tribal  Business Corporation and KIRA, and                                                               
used the  funds to  fill service  gaps.   He emphasized  the most                                                               
significant use  of Tlingit  & Haida  sovereignty was  the Tribal                                                               
Courts established in  2010, which covers most  civil case types,                                                               
such as  guardianship, adoption, paternity, child  welfare, child                                                               
custody,   divorce,  marriage,   domestic  violence,   protection                                                               
proceedings, and child support; the  Tribal Courts have 15 titles                                                               
of statutory law.                                                                                                               
4:18:07 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PETERSON  stated an  additional act  of sovereignty  had been                                                               
buying  back land  in the  Juneau Indian  village and  putting it                                                               
into trust  status at the direction  of the Tribal Assembly.   He                                                               
explained the reasons for putting  land into trust was to protect                                                               
traditional homeland, provide eligibility  for federal funds, and                                                               
to ensure  the land stayed  in tribal  hands for perpetuity.   He                                                               
said that many services provided  in rural Alaska were because of                                                               
Alaska Native  tribes, and having  access to federal  funds would                                                               
be beneficial  to every Alaskan.   He expressed  frustration with                                                               
the  lawsuit   against  the   tribe  and   stated  that   it  was                                                               
disingenuous to frame land-to-trust  as allowing nefarious goals,                                                               
he  added  that the  restrictions  placed  on land-to-trust  made                                                               
development  of  the  land  more  difficult,  was  cumbersome  to                                                               
manage,  and would  not allow  the  construction of  a casino  in                                                               
downtown Juneau.                                                                                                                
4:25:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PETERSON,  in response  to  a  question from  Representative                                                               
Vance,  stated the  benefit to  putting  land into  trust was  to                                                               
qualify for  Indian Country which  allowed for access  to federal                                                               
funding.  He added that the  approved application was one of nine                                                               
and emphasized the  difficulty of the land-to-trust  process.  In                                                               
response to  a follow up  question from Representative  Vance, he                                                               
clarified that the  land would not be a reservation  but would be                                                               
counted as Indian Country for funding eligibility.                                                                              
4:27:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PETERSON  emphasized the  sophistication  of  the Tlingit  &                                                               
Haida tribe, and  stated the tribe ran the Head  Start program, a                                                               
behavioral health department, and multiple businesses in Juneau.                                                                
4:29:22 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special  Committee on  Tribal Affairs  meeting  was adjourned  at                                                               
4:29 p.m.                                                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HTRB Alaska Natives 101 03.01.23.pdf HTRB 3/6/2023 3:00:00 PM
Alaska Natives 101
HTRB ANCSA Presentation 03.06.23.pdf HTRB 3/6/2023 3:00:00 PM