indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Alaska tribes sign agreement for refuge services
Monday, May 3, 2004

After nearly two years of negotiation, the first tribal agreement to provide services to a federal wildlife refuge was signed on Friday.

Representatives of the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments came to Washington, D.C., to ink the unique contract. The council, which represents 11 tribes in Alaska, will help manage the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

"This historic agreement is one of the first of its kind, and we look forward to an ongoing relationship that will continue for years and will ultimately improve the management and operation of the Yukon Flats for future generations," said Anna Huntington-Kriska, the council's executive director.

The agreement was signed with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the national refuge system. The tribes will perform a number of activities for the 2004-2005 season, including surveying moose, monitoring wildlife harvest, helping with outreach in local villages, identifying and marking public access easements and maintaining some federal property in and around Yukon Flats.

"For most of known history, Indian cultures, religious beliefs and customs have centered on their relationship with fish and wildlife resources," said Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who accepted the agreement at a ceremony on Friday.

Even though all decision-making and management authority stays with the refuge, two groups have protested the agreement. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Blue Goose Alliance of New Mexico fear the Bush administration will turn over management of national refuges and parks to tribes in Alaska and the Lower 48.

PEER points to an April 2002 Federal Register notice that identified 41 refuges and 34 national parks for possible tribal management. The group, which also opposes efforts to allow states to manage federal properties, says tribal control will lead to downsizing and reduced services.

Under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, tribes can enter into contracts and compacts to carry out services previously handled by the federal government. Tribes use the law to take over Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service programs.

In recent years, tribes have sought to extend the law to other Interior agencies but have run into resistance from some government officials, outside groups and non-Indians. An effort by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe of Montana to help manage the National Bison Range, located entirely within reservation boundaries, ended this year with no agreement.

Under the self-determination law, only refuges and parks that have tribal significant are eligible for agreements. Tribes must demonstrate cultural, historic and legal ties to a particular federal property.

That isn't hard for the Alaska tribes, five of which are located within the boundaries of 8.5-million acre Yukon Flats. The rest are located around the refuge.

The agreement is subject to a 90-day Congressional review period. Lawmakers on the House Resources Committee and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee have supported tribal contracting for refuges and parks, and both committees have held hearings on the subject.

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the vice chairman of the Indian panel, last week held a hearing on a draft bill that would encourage more tribal-federal partnerships. "Tribal governments are the principal stewards of the natural resources on tribal lands," he said. "And for thousands of years before the European contact, tribes also served as the responsible stewards of the natural resources on the millions of acres of land that were under their dominion and control."

Relevant Documents:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, Reach Agreement (USFWS)

Relevant Links:
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility - http://www.peer.org

Related Stories:
Alaska tribes to get contract for wildlife refuge (2/18)
Tribal bison range talks continue (10/9)
Group opposing tribal control of park units (6/10)

GOP lawmaker challenges Bush administration (6/6)
Alaska Native hearing turns testy (6/5)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe honors veterans (9/17)
Mark Trahant: Is independence in the future for tribal nations? (9/17)
Audio: SCIA takes up bill to bar Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/17)
House approves bill to address tribal general welfare programs (9/17)
House Natural Resources Committee sets markup on tribal bills (9/17)
House subcommittee to hold hearing on bill for Hualapai Tribe (9/17)
9th Circuit takes up Big Lagoon Rancheria gaming land dispute (9/17)
House passes bill to shield Gun Lake Tribe casino from litigation (9/17)
Andre Cramblit: Enjoying life at Dartmouth as a Native student (9/17)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Tribes need to lead climate change reform (9/17)
Sarah Deer wins genius grant for work to protect Native women (9/17)
Tex Hall loses bid for another term as chair of North Dakota tribe (9/17)
Appeal filed over Navajo language ability of presidential hopeful (9/17)
Trial delayed for leader of Muscogee Nation accused in theft case (9/17)
Editorial: Pass bill to extend federal recognition to Virginia tribes (9/17)
NLRB reaffirms jurisdiction over Little River Band gaming facility (9/17)
Chumash Tribe to use labor unions for all work on casino project (9/17)
Student arrested over theft at Saginaw Chippewa Tribe's casino (9/17)
Native Sun News: Homeless students find support in Rapid City (9/16)
Checks from final payment of Cobell settlement put in the mail (9/16)
DOI offers $9.4M for Cobell buy-backs on Umatilla Reservation (9/16)
House takes up bill to address tribal general welfare programs (9/16)
Tribal leaders headed to Capitol Hill to push legislative priorities (9/16)
NMAI hosts symposium on treaties to coincide with new exhibit (9/16)
Witnesses: Hearing on bill to bar Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Rival tribes spend $13M to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Mark Charles: Trail of Tears sign points to much deeper problem (9/16)
Donna Ennis: Don't let ethnic imposters take away our identity (9/16)
Serial killer sentenced to life term for murder of Native woman (9/16)
Civil rights complaint filed over repeated denial of honor song (9/16)
Sen. Cantwell to introduce bill to end NFL's tax-exempt status (9/16)
House backs package to transfer federal land to Te-Moak Tribe (9/16)
Fort Belknap Tribe detained state game warden for trespassing (9/16)
Mohegan Tribe to open first Smashburger location in December (9/16)
Police in Ontario investigate letter that threatens Native people (9/16)
Urban Indian population grows in Brazil's poorest neighborhoods (9/16)
Indian family in Washington continues bid for casino on allotment (9/16)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe challenges NLRB jurisdiction over casino (9/16)
Mohegan Tribe loses bid for commercial casino in Massachusetts (9/16)
Connecticut tribes see another decline in slot machine revenues (9/16)
Tim Giago: Standing tall for Native American Day in South Dakota (9/15)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne man beaten by BIA officer (9/15)
Mark Trahant: Ten reasons why every Native person should vote (9/15)
Jay Daniels: Still waiting on that final Cobell settlement payment (9/15)
Vote set on bill to protect Gun Lake Tribe's casino from litigation (9/15)
HUD settles complaint for couple on Turtle Mountain Reservation (9/15)
Bryan Brewer: Approve HR3043 to stop IRS harassment of tribes (9/15)
Maryann McGovran: Vote for North Fork Rancheria's gaming deal (9/15)
Donna Ennis: Tribal banishments are a form of cultural genocide (9/15)
Steven Newcomb: Political meanings restrict indigenous peoples (9/15)
Bruce Anderson: Washington team name preserves stereotypes (9/15)
Column: DC-area Native people oppose NFL team's racist mascot (9/15)
House set to vote on bill to transfer federal land to Te-Moak Tribe (9/15)
Paskenta Band holds election aimed at resolving council dispute (9/15)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.