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Opinion | Politics
Attorneys: Gov. Palin's record on Alaska Natives


Ed. Note: Lloyd Miller is an attorney with Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry. Heather Kendall Miller works for the Native American Rights Fund.

"1. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Subsistence Fishing

Perhaps no issue is of greater importance to Alaska Native peoples as the right to hunt and fish according to ancient customary and traditional practices, and to carry on the subsistence way of life for future generations.

Governor Sarah Palin has consistently opposed those rights.

2. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Subsistence Hunting

Palin has also sought to invalidate critical determinations the Federal Subsistence Board has made regarding customary and traditional uses of game, specifically to take hunting opportunities away from Native subsistence villagers and thereby enhance sport hunting.

Palin’s attack here on subsistence has focused on the Ahtna Indian people in Chistochina.

3. Palin has attacked Alaska Tribal Sovereignty

Governor Palin opposes Alaska tribal sovereignty.

Given past court rulings affirming the federally recognized tribal status of Alaska Native villages, Palin does not technically challenge that status. But Palin argues that Alaska Tribes have no authority to act as sovereigns, despite their recognition.

4. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Languages

Palin has refused to accord proper respect to Alaska Native languages and voters by refusing to provide language assistance to Yup’ik speaking Alaska Native voters. As a result, Palin was just ordered by a special three-judge panel of federal judges to provide various forms of voter assistance to Yup’ik voters residing in southwest Alaska. Nick v. Bethel, No. 3:07-cv-0098-TMB (D. Ak.) (Order entered July 30, 2008). Citing years of State neglect, Palin was ordered to provide trained poll workers who are bilingual in English and Yup’ik; sample ballots in written Yup’ik; a written Yup’ik glossary of election terms; consultation with local Tribes to ensure the accuracy of Yup’ik translations; a Yup’ik language coordinator; and pre-election and post-election reports to the court to track the State’s efforts."

Get the Story:
Lloyd Miller and Heather Kendall Miller: Sarah Palin’s Record on Alaska Native and Tribal Issues (TurtleTalk 9/8)

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