AFN will Fight State’s Supreme Court Petition


November 5, 2013

AFN promises defend subsistence from State’s “reckless attempt to unravel the precedent set by the lower courts…”

ANCHORAGE, AK – The Alaska Federation of Natives today issued a powerful response to the State of Alaska’s petition to the US Supreme Court in the legal caseState of Alaska v Sally Jewell, Secretary of the United States Department of Interior et al, widely known as the Katie John Case. AFN is an Intervening Party in this case in defense of subsistence rights, and has been for over 18 years.

The State of Alaska’s petition asks that the Court overturn the federal rules promulgated in 1999 that define Title VIII of ANILCA’s public lands definition to include waters subject to the federal reserved water rights doctrine.

“Subsistence is not only a way of life… It is essential to our survival as a people, and no one has the right to ever take it away from us,” said AFN Co-Chair Tara Sweeney, “This latest action by the State of Alaska is an assault upon the people of Alaska who depend upon hunting, fishing and gathering to feed their families.”

AFN issued the organization’s formal response today at an open Press Briefing in Anchorage. AFN Co-Chairs Ana Hoffman and Tara Sweeney, Subsistence Committee Chair Dr. Rosita Worl and AFN President Julie Kitka delivered statements and then opened the floor to questions.

“We will vigorously defend the subsistence rights of our people by intervening in this case and any others that compromise our basic rights,” said Dr. Rosita Worl, chair of AFN’s Subsistence Committee. “For nearly two decades we have made attempts to resolve this issue at the State, Congressional and Administrative levels; and, the State has refused to participate in a responsible solution for Alaskans. This is not acceptable and must be stopped.”

A PDF of the full text of AFN’s official response can be downloaded here.

For more information or to request an interview, please contact

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The Alaska Federation of Natives was formed in October 1966, when more than 400 Alaska Natives representing 17 Native organizations gathered for a three-day conference to address Alaska Native aboriginal land rights. It is now the largest statewide Native organization in Alaska. Its membership includes 178 villages (both federally-recognized tribes and village corporations), 13 regional Native corporations and 12 regional nonprofit and tribal consortiums that contract and run federal and state programs. AFN is governed by a 37-member Board, which is elected by its membership at the annual convention held each October. The mission of AFN is to enhance and promote the cultural, economic and political voice of the entire Alaska Native community. Learn more at