Work Sessions

The afternoon of Thursday, October 18, delegates will have two opportunities to participate in concurrent work sessions. Each of the five 90-minute work sessions described below will begin at 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in the second floor conference rooms at the Dena’ina Center.

The following morning’s plenary session will be dedicated to presentation of action items from each workshop and feedback from Convention delegates via consensor technology. Please review the descriptions and complete the tear-out section at the end to rank your top three preferences so we can ensure each session has adequate space and materials.

Energy for Developing our Economies

Energy planning is a vital component for the viability of our communities. With regional energy planning, our villages can reduce the cost for space heating, electricity, and improve our local economies. The planning effort, in pursuit of achieving reduced cost of energy in Alaska, must be done collectively, with partners from across the state so we move forward to a statewide energy plan. The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) joins us for this work session to share information on who they are, what they do, and where their projects are located in Alaska. The AEA will engage with participants from each region of the state to discuss available resources, distinct challenges to each region, and other resource and program opportunities. A variety of data, maps, and information will be provided.

Native Community’s Relationship with the State of Alaska Workshop

In developing an effective working relationship with the State of Alaska is important for the Alaska Federation of Natives, Alaska Native Community and the State to build trust and work for an effective working relationship. Such a working relationship could be the cornerstone for successfully addressing issues of mutual concern in a manner that is mutually agreeable for AFN and the State of Alaska. How do we as Native peoples become more engaged in the policy decisions that affect us as Native People? Some of the key ingredients of building this working relationship include the recognition of each other based on trust, respect, and a willingness of each other to partner with each other. The issues that will be addressed during this workshop include:

  • The upcoming Constitutional Convention;
  • Alaska Native Voter turnout during the upcoming election;
  • The Millennium Agreement.

Strong Native Peoples – In Body, Spirit, and Mind

The entire Alaska Native healthcare system is owned and operated by and for Alaska Native people. As a result, the health care system builds on the strengths of our cultures and traditions, including Alaska Native values and priorities such as relationships, family wellness, and shared responsibility. Alaska Native people are natural relationship builders. Come see how we have taken our natural ability a step further to change healthcare and build better relationships that positively affect co-workers, families, and our community. This 90 minute, interactive session will be fun and informative. Participants will learn about and use tools that can be applied to all aspects of their lives to support the development of health, wellness, and relationships.

Food Security and Management of Subsistence Resources

The ability to harvest sufficient amounts of locally available fish, game, marine mammals, migratory birds, and other renewable resources is essential to the economic and cultural survival of our people and our communities. While food security is a basic human right recognized by the United Nations and affirmed by the United States in the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we continue to see state and federal managers making allocation decisions that do not provide a meaningful priority to subsistence users. Guiding discussion during this session are the following questions. What actions are needed to ensure restoration of depleted subsistence resources? How can we ensure that management decisions take into account the cultural, social and nutritional needs of local users and that resources will be fairly allocated at sustainable levels sufficient to ensure the food security of our people? Other tribes in the United States that have faced similar issues and have created Inter-Tribal Commissions, such as the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, to meaningfully and fully engage the affected tribes in the management, regulation, allocation, recovery and restoration of fish stocks and other resources. Will such an approach work in our State? What can Congress and the Administration do to strengthen federal law that will better protect our way of life? How can we maximize Alaska Native participation in all aspects of management through meaningful co-management with state and federal management agencies? What can be done to protect subsistence from the detrimental effects of competition? Panelists will discuss their innovative solutions and share their ideas on actions that should be taken to better secure the food security of our people.

Educational Reform – Our Vision for the Future of Education

The education workshop continues the work that AFN delegates in 2011 to redesign and re-engage the State of Alaska to partner in a new and different way with Alaska Native people. The workshop will review the results of and ask for input about research that:

  • Identifies the best practices in educational delivery programs in small rural high schools and Native students in urban schools;
  • Documents needs and opportunities for education facilities which could be implemented in the near term and become models for a statewide system;
  • Offers models for the local and regional levels in deciding appropriate delivery options for meeting the academic and career and technical education needs of students in small high schools and Alaska Native students in urban schools;
  • Presents the conceptual model as a proposal to transform results for students of small high schools and the framework for the state as a whole;
  • Proposes legislation to support new educational models and to pilot new delivery models and expands proven models.