indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Alaska Natives call for unity at annual convention
Friday, October 24, 2003

The largest gathering of Alaska Natives kicked off on Thursday with a rousing message to stay united in the face of challenges to Native rights.

The annual Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) convention has drawn thousands to Anchorage for three days of meetings at the Egan Center. On opening day, delegates heard from AFN President Julie Kitka, Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) and state and federal officials on the need to work together to solve common problems. Jobs, education and health were high on the agenda.

But it was an address from Jackie Johnson, the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), that drove the point home. Johnson, a member of Alaska's Tlingit Tribe, said she was speaking from the heart when she noted the state's indigenous people were deeply divided into two camps: traditional tribal governments and for-profit corporations.

"In recent years, we've been seeing the increasing friction between our tribal governments and corporations," she said. "But at the end of the day, these are merely two sides of our own selves, two elements that are absolutely critical to our survival, two structures that must have shared goals if we are to survive as distinct people."

As a former tribal council member and a sitting member of the board of directors of a regional corporation, Johnson acknowledged that tribes and corporations have "fundamentally different goals." "Yet let there be no mistake, we need both voices to fully protect the interest of our people," she said.

The remarks served to highlight a legislative proposal to change how Alaska's 220-plus tribes receive federal funds. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, wants to redirect tribal money to the state or regional organizations -- perhaps the corporations -- because he says not every village can expect to have their own justice system or housing departments, particularly when times are tight.

The proposal, contained in riders to appropriations bills, has sparked concern among Native leaders and their advocates. It didn't help when Stevens, speaking to the Alaska media, said the Native sovereignty movement threatened the state.

"You are self-governing, self-determining peoples living in tribes throughout Alaska and that poses no threat to the state," said Myra Munson, an attorney whose work for Alaska Natives earned her this year's Denali Award, AFN's highest honor for non-Natives. "It poses no threat to the non-Native citizens of this state."

Many Natives feel the push to change how they receive services is an attack on their federal recognition. The Bush administration has been asked by Alaska Republicans to reconsider the status of each tribe. But Kitka said AFN would fight to keep the tribal question separate from the funding one.

"We cannot afford to have anyone sit on the sidelines because nobody can say it's a tribal problem, it's a non-profit problem, or it's this or that," she said. "We going to need everybody's help. The only way we're going to survive these challenges is if we pull together and have the most united Native community we have ever had."

The unity theme was echoed by Johnson, who called on Native leaders from the tribes and corporations to respond to the funding issue by developing solutions of their own. "If we let our tribal status be diminished or taken from us, if we let others control or shape our governmental structures and our relationship to the federal government," she told delegates, "I believe that every generation to come will look back to this time with regret and shame."

"Indecision is not an option," she added. If we do not decide, others will decide for us."

AFN runs through Saturday. KNBA 90.3 FM carries live audio converage through http://www.knba.org. Live video is also available through a link on the AFN web site at http://www.nativefederation.org/frames/2003convention.html.

Relevant Links:
Alaska Federation of Natives - http://www.nativefederation.org/flash.html

Related Stories:
Editorial: Alaska cannot afford full tribal sovereignty (10/23)
Stevens won't back away from Native funding issue (10/23)
Alaska Natives discuss village law enforcement (10/23)
Live coverage of AFN convention available (10/23)
Alaska Native: 'We became the other N-word' (10/21)
Alaska Natives meeting for annual conference (10/20)
Editorial: Stevens should apologize for remarks (10/13)
Murkowski won't offer opinion on Native riders (10/13)
Stevens blames sovereignty push on lower 48 group (10/9)
Stevens remarks on Alaska Natives draw fire (10/7)
Alaska Natives oppose limits to tribal court funding (09/23)
Alaska court hears suit on village law enforcement (09/18)
Bill cuts funds to Alaska tribal justice systems (09/10)
Alaska Natives debunk federal funding myths (05/07)
Stevens files Alaska Native gaming rider (01/24)
Alaska Natives press unity on sovereignty (10/25)
Stevens: Too many Alaska Native tribes (10/24)
AFN events kick off today in Anchorage (10/21)
GOP request has Alaska Natives fuming (1/28)
Stevens: 'Problem' with Alaska Natives (01/29)

Copyright 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Senate committee examines costs of substance abuse on tribes (7/30)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee delays action on land-into-trust (7/30)
Inmate charged with murdering Mississippi Choctaw man in jail (7/30)
Native Sun News: Keystone XL Pipeline protest draws big crowd (7/30)
James Giago Davies: Don't judge anyone's depth of Lakotaness (7/30)
Tara Houska: DC rally puts focus on threats to sacred Oak Flat (7/30)
Sarah Sunshine Manning: Native mother left to die in a jail cell (7/30)
Julian Brave NoiseCat: Native issues you aren't hearing about (7/30)
Peter d'Errico: Seeking action after apology from Pope Francis (7/30)
Suspect in custody over deadly shooting on Crow Reservation (7/30)
Shooting highlights racial tensions on Wind River Reservation (7/30)
Pueblo man goes on trial for brutal murder of Navajo woman (7/30)
Another sentence in Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption scandal (7/30)
Oglala Sioux Tribe on track to complete $16.5M nursing home (7/30)
Quapaw Tribe hosts relatives for annual language conference (7/30)
Former police chief for Swinomish Tribe pleads guilty to theft (7/30)
Winnebago Tribe seeks more time to remove old bank building (7/30)
Opinion: Eastern Cherokee leaders kick reporter out of meeting (7/30)
BIA allows two more New Mexico gaming deals to go into effect (7/30)
Former workers at Choctaw Nation casino plead guilty to theft (7/30)
Indian family in Washington still pursuing casino on trust land (7/30)
Red Lake Nation leader supports sales of liquor at two casinos (7/30)
Mohegan Tribe reports increase in profit from casino enterprise (7/30)
Sen. Barrasso introduces another version of land-into-trust fix (7/29)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe adopts banishment for drug dealers (7/29)
Native Sun News: Rapid City trial ends with no defense witnesses (7/29)
Lakota Country Times: Youth come to Pine Ridge for 'Exposures' (7/29)
Charles Trimble: Being mixed-race Indian and being proud of it (7/29)
Ivan Star: It's up to all of us to keep the Lakota language alive (7/29)
Congress fails to provide funds to help tribes comply with VAWA (7/29)
Suit alleges tribal leaders received kickbacks from lobbying firm (7/29)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe claims DOJ support for marijuana (7/29)
Community on Crow Reservation on lockdown due to shooting (7/29)
Former Chippewa Cree Tribe chair sentenced in corruption case (7/29)
Hillary Clinton refuses to answer questions about Keystone XL (7/29)
Judge upset with delay in drilling dispute affecting sacred land (7/29)
Tribal leaders scale back plans to regulate energy development (7/29)
Fort Belknap Indian Community awaits tests in deaths of bison (7/29)
Column: Northern Cheyenne Tribe took a final stand in Oklahoma (7/29)
Public school board in Indiana votes to eliminate 'Indian' mascot (7/29)
Opinion: Sioux tribes deserve a seat on university naming panel (7/29)
Study outlines impacts of tribal gaming on economy in Oklahoma (7/29)
Judge orders Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe to stop work on casino (7/29)
Fond du Lac Band prevails yet again in long-running casino feud (7/29)
Chukchansi Tribe hosts job fair amid hopes of reopening casino (7/29)
Cowlitz Tribe still working on design plans for contested casino (7/29)
Indian Health Service discusses LGBT issues in historic meeting (7/28)
Haskell students to study fracking on North Dakota reservation (7/28)
Erica Pinto makes history as first woman leader of Jamul Village (7/28)
Native Sun News: Young artist wins top award at Native market (7/28)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe hosts war pony races (7/28)
Steve Russell: The hypocrisy of race and Cherokee citizenship (7/28)
Terese Marie Mailhot: I was raised to be angry at White women (7/28)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Indian Country stuck with bad Republican (7/28)
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.