The United States Congress is holding its first Alaska National Interest Lands Act (ANILCA) oversight hearing on the critically important subsistence food security priority for Alaska Natives in nearly twenty years. The hearing in the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee on September 19th in Washington, DC is the first major hearing to examine wildlife management authority within the State of Alaska under the ANILCA and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).
AFN Subsistence Committee Chairwoman Dr. Rosita Worl and Robert Anderson, a Professor at the University of Washington School of Law, will testify on behalf of AFN. Other witnesses include AFN Board members Jerry Issac and Ana Hoffman, as well as Anthony Christenson, mayor of Hydaburg. Dr. Worl explains, “our ability to subsist on our traditional hunting and fishing grounds is critical to our cultural survival and also essential for our food security.”
AFN witnesses plan to review the history and policy decisions that led to the adoption of Title VIII of ANILCA, and how Title VIII no longer fulfills Congress’ intent to protect Alaska Natives hunting and fishing way of life. In addition, AFN will urge the Committee to include two demonstration projects in any legislation that moves during this Congress. These demonstration projects will allow the Native community to show the value and efficiency of co-management in the context of the Yukon River fisheries and on Native-owned lands in the Ahtna region, paving the way for a statewide solution to the current system of dual management.
The hearing will take place at 9:30am Eastern time and a webcast of the hearing will be available on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee website http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/. AFN encourages the public to watch the webcast, write, and send pictures to AFN, members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee and our Alaska Delegation about the importance of subsistence to your way of life.
“Subsistence is not an abstract concept; it is our way of life.” -AFN Co-Chair Ralph Andersen.