Monday, 2 March 2009
Sarah Palin's board games
Last Friday the Board of Game started examining proposals that will affect subsistence hunters. The board consists mainly of sport hunting enthusiasts and people with ties to commercial hunting.
Since taking office in 2006, Sarah Palin sought to invalidate determinations the Federal Subsistence Board had made regarding customary and traditional uses of game through the courts. If successful, sport and commercial hunting groups would have been the winners. The first legal challenge, concerning the Ahtna Indian people in Chistochina, was rejected by the federal district court, but an appeal was lodged and heard in August 2008. (State of Alaska x Federal Subsistence Board)
The state of Alaska was clutching at straws in their efforts. Among other inane arguments, they came up with this one:
Alaska contends that the instant Customary and Traditional determination places restrictions on nonsubsistence taking because granting Chistochina residents a federal subsistence priority to take moose throughout Game Management Unit 12 increases moose taking and thus necessitates greater conservation efforts by the state.
Excuse me! They argue that giving priority to subsistence hunting discriminates against other types of hunting and puts the state under further pressure in their conservation efforts??? Are they trying to say that sport and commercial hunting conserve the moose population and subsistence hunting is the real culprit for the decline in the numbers of moose??? Are they completely insane?
The state of Alaska lost the appeal.
But the problems of the Ahtna natives are far from over.
Ken Johns, president of the Glennallen-based Ahtna Corporation, told the board that subsistence hunters in the region are being attacked with "meaningless restrictions" that make it harder for them to get meat and that he's seen evidence of discrimination.
"It really came to a head this year when we were told to cut the horns in half, which we did, but then the 40-mile caribou hunters coming through Glennallen with these big tracks... they didn't have any restrictions," he said. "It's been tiring. People keep coming every year and pouring out their hearts, and things just seem to be getting worse and worse and worse,"
Ahtna board member Nick Jackson supports a plan that would give Ahtna a set amount of hunting permits that the corporation would distribute throughout villages in the region. We need to solve this Ahtna situation up there, so they know that they're going to be able to hunt and get some traditional hunting activities allowed up there," he said.
But there are legal obstacles, he said, that prevent the state from giving permits to a single group of people. "We're going to try to work around that, but it's something we've been battling for at least 10 years."
Sarah Palin's Board of Game works very hard at placing obstacles, legal or otherwise, between Alaska Natives and their food.
Alaska x Federal Subsistence Board, click here.
For news articles, commentary and further links about the Board of Game, click here.