Sealaska Pres. and CEO, Chris E. McNeil Jr. address Native Issues Forum

Sealaska President and CEO Chris E. McNeil Jr. spoke about subsistence and the urgency of the Native vote at the April 2, 2014 Native Issues Forum. The forums are sponsored by the Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.

McNeil urged the audience to vote and reminded them how hard Native people fought for their right to vote.

102 years ago the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) was established as a civil rights organization to gain citizenship and the right to vote. ANB was a civil rights organization before the civil rights movement, as we know it today.

The ANB would not take no for an answer.

Our forefathers understood the strategic importance of the vote. The Alaska Native vote is our currency in the political process.

McNeil highlighted a promising approach to subsistence and land management.

Subsistence fishing uses only three percent of the resource, yet the State of Alaska fights these subsistence rights at every turn. The State of Alaska complains about federal management of subsistence, but is not proactively seeking solutions…

The Ahtna region is offering a pilot co-management program to the Congress… it wouldcreate cooperative management of the fish and wildlife resources on ANCSA land and adjacent federal lands.

ANCSA corporations would have the authority to manage the subsistence priority on [their] own lands. The State would be invited, but not be required, to co-management.

Co-management is not a new concept. The tribes, federal and state governments have co-management in Washington, Oregon and the Great Lakes states.

It has been very, very successful. It’s only new in Alaska.

View Chris E. McNeil Jr.’s full presentation

News Type: