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APRN: House hearing for Alaska Native bill stirs passions

"Congressman Don Young is known for his hot temper, but at a hearing Thursday on the Sealaska Lands Bill, his words were directed at a visiting Alaskan.

The controversial bill would let the Sealaska Native Corporation select lands from within the Tongass National Forest in Southeast. Young has reintroduced his version of the bill despite hearing community concerns. Senator Lisa Murkowski has taken a different approach and altered her bill to try and come to compromises; her legislation was heard Wednesday by a Senate committee.

Young, at today’s meeting of the Indian Affairs Subcommittee, chastised Craig resident Bob Claus, the Forest Program Director with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. He accused Claus and his conservationist colleagues of ruining the timber industry, and now trying to harm the Alaska Native community.

Claus says his opposition to the Sealaska bill is shared by some of his Alaska Native neighbors, but Congressman Young verbally attacked him and said he “gets concerned” when a quote, “white guy talks about what the Natives are saying.”"

Get the Story:
Sealaska Debate Heats Up in DC (Alaska Public Radio Network 5/26)

House Committee Notice:
Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1408 (May 26, 2011)

Senate Committee Notice:
PUBLIC LANDS AND FORESTS HEARING ANNOUNCEMENT: to receive testimony on the following bills: S. 233, S. 268 S. 375, S. 714, and S. 730 (May 25, 2011)

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