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
Indian Law Online Master Degree
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: Police officers who shot Indian teen get medals (8/28)
Tim Giago: Greedy lawyers and government ruin Cobell settlement (8/27)
Native Sun News: Facility in Montana set to house Indian inmates (8/27)
Gerald Gipp: National strategy needed to reform Indian education (8/27)
9th Circuit won't stop repatriation of Kumeyaay Nation ancestors (8/27)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation puts youth to work for summer (8/27)
Gabe Galanda: Academia won't tackle tribal disenrollment issue (8/27)
Misty Lynn Ellingburg: 'Four Winds' is a literary magazine for us (8/27)
Declination rates for Indian Country crime steady for third year (8/27)
DOJ awards grants to address violence in Bakken energy region (8/27)
Another pipeline spills saltwater on reservation in North Dakota (8/27)
Navajo voters oust incumbent president Ben Shelly in primary (8/27)
Once rival factions of Chukchansi Tribe agree to 2015 election (8/27)
Three brothers on the ballot for Passamaquoddy Tribe election (8/27)
Daily Beast: Border Patrol runs free on Tohono O'odham Nation (8/27)
KTOO: Cook Inlet Tribe turns to video game to represent culture (8/27)
Former IHS information security officer convicted for child porn (8/27)
Crow Reservation murder defendant to make court appearance (8/27)
Texas authorities seek information about skull at Goodwill store (8/27)
Cherokee Nation police find man who disappeared 37 years ago (8/27)
9th Circuit sets oral arguments in Big Lagoon Rancheria dispute (8/27)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe cuts gaming payment to state (8/27)
State raises concerns about Chumash Tribe's casino expansion (8/27)
Cowlitz Tribe sees setback in infrastructure plan for casino site (8/27)
Native Sun News: Tribes take on Air Force over expansion plan (8/26)
Charles Trimble: Pine Ridge -- the Hollywood of Indian Country (8/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Iroquois on both sides for War of 1812 (8/26)
Heather Kendall-Miller: GOP candidate a threat to Native rights (8/26)
Fired Oglala Sioux Tribe police officer indicted for taser incident (8/26)
Sen. Jon Tester to hold session on trafficking in Indian Country (8/26)
Hoopa Valley Tribe takes action due to large number of arsons (8/26)
Non-recognized tribe in Texas hails ruling in eagle feather case (8/26)
Jodi Lee Spotted Bear: Supporting Native language immersion (8/26)
Proposal filed for Wampanoag language public charter school (8/26)
Gila River Indian Community mourns loss of first female leader (8/26)
Jose Barreiro: Indigenous leaders hold historic meeting in Cuba (8/26)
Tribes use reservations to restore rare and endangered species (8/26)
Rival factions unite in takeover attempt within Chukchansi Tribe (8/26)
Darlene Miller seeks to be first female Seneca Nation president (8/26)
7th Circuit bars tribal jurisdiction in Indian payday loan dispute (8/26)
Law school in Colorado sets conference on sovereign immunity (8/26)
Mississippi Choctaw family believes same person behind deaths (8/26)
Cherokee Nation to break ground on casino on Indian allotment (8/26)
Stillaguamish Tribe finally secures reservation status for casino (8/26)
Mashantucket Tribe to open retail concourse at casino on Friday (8/26)
Opinion: Predatory gaming companies exploit tribes and patrons (8/26)
Caesars Entertainment debuts $442M urban casino in Baltimore (8/26)
Tim Giago: Farewell to my childhood friend Eugene Long Soldier (8/25)
Mark Trahant: Tapping the power of social media for Native vote (8/25)
Native Sun News: Laguna Pueblo still affected by uranium mine (8/25)
Oliver Semans: Seeing the light on Native voting rights struggle (8/25)
John Hopkins: Navajo Nation Council delegate makes bad choice (8/25)
James Mills: Non-Indian firm helps tribes create stronger nations (8/25)
Navajo voters to narrow field of 17 candidates for president's job (8/25)
Judge Humetewa hands down sentence in Indian child abuse case (8/25)
Scientists publish lengthy book based on study of Kennewick Man (8/25)
Rival tribe spends big in fight over Tohono O'odham Nation casino (8/25)
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.