Friday, 27 March 2009
Sarah Palin's war against Alaska Natives
Sarah Palin's record on issues regarding Alaska Natives:
As soon as Palin was sworn in as governor, she set a firm course against Native subsistence rights. One of her very first decisions was to continue litigation that seeks to overturn every subsistence fishing determination the federal government has ever made in Alaska.
The reason is no secret: to diminish subsistence fishing rights in order to expand sport and commercial fishing.
The federal court in Alaska rejected Palin’s main challenge. But that defeat has not deterred Palin.
Palin continues to argue in court that federal subsistence protections are too broad and should be narrowed to exclude vast areas from subsistence fishing in favor of sport and commercial fishing. Palin opposes subsistence protections in marine waters, she opposes subsistence protections on many of the lands that Alaska Natives selected under their 1971 land claims settlement, and she opposes subsistence protections in many of the rivers where Alaska Natives customarily fish.
In her two years as governor Palin has proven herself to be no friend of Alaska Native subsistence.
Palin has also tried to overturn critical federal protections for Alaska Native customary and traditional uses of game, again simply to enhance sport hunting. Palin’s attack here has targeted (among others) the Ahtna Indian people in Chistochina; and although the federal court last year rejected this challenge, too, Palin has refused to lay down her arms. The battle has thus moved on to the appellate courts.
In both hunting and fishing matters, Palin has challenged critical protections that Native people depend upon for their subsistence way of life, merely to enhance sport fishing and hunting opportunities.
At the very same time that she has challenged federal subsistence rights, she has waged a second battle against tribal sovereignty.
While Palin pays lip service to the fact that Alaska tribes are federally recognized, it is an empty statement because she insists they have no authority whatsoever to act as sovereigns despite that recognition unless, she argues, the state first permits a tribe to take some particular action.
From and article on Indian Country Today, by Lloyd Miller and Heather Kendall-Miller, who practice law in Anchorage, Alaska, representing Native interests.
Wayne Anthony Ross has lobbied Congress over amendments to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. He was co-counsel on the initial subsistence lawsuit, the McDowell case, in which the state Supreme Court tossed out the state's rural-preference law and affirmed equal hunting and fishing rights for Alaskans no matter where they live.
Native sovereignty threatens to create separate classes of Alaskans and would further divide the state, Ross said. ''The idea of Native sovereignty is a 19th-century principle, and we are going into the 21st century.''
Ross, an urban hunter, wants to keep the state constitutional guarantee of equal access to fish and game. ''Rural preference is wrong and not necessary to ensure subsistence foods,'' he says.
From "Who's Wayne Ross?", ADN
I intend to challenge provisions of ANILCA that mandate federal management of our resources, through pressure on our congressional delegation and through court action as well. Alaska’s fish and game resources must be managed by Alaskans and not by the Feds.
The subsistence issue must be resolved. Until that happens, confrontation will continue and politics will rule. The first priority must be protection of the resource. Only in times of shortage of the resource should there be a priority for subsistence use, and that priority should be for those who need the resource to feed themselves and their family. Priority should not be based on an individual Alaskan’s zip code. Once we wrest control of our resources back from the federal government, Alaskans of goodwill can sit down together and resolve the subsistence issue.
From Fish Alaska Magazine, when Ross was trying to run for governor.
Sarah Palin's war on Alaska Natives is out in the open. She has sought to undermine their culture and their way of life every step of the way, with her patronizing attitudes and her attempts to disperse their communities by not supporting their own solutions to address the needs of their people, suggesting instead that they emulate Todd Palin and seize opportunities upon the North Slope, abandoning their villages.
Having the law as her new ally, what's in store for Alaska Natives?
Indian Country Today
"Who's Wayne Ross?"
Fish Alaska Magazine