Presbyterians and Subsistence
The issue for the 1990s for Alaskan Natives is the establishment of a rural preference for subsistence hunting and fishing. The Presbytery of Yukon has taken the following action:
The Presbytery of Yukon, an Alaskan judicatory of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, meeting at Jewel Lake Parish in Anchorage on Saturday, October 11, 1997, joins with the Alaska Christian Conference in standing with the Alaska Natives in their desire to maintain their subsistence way of life. Therefore we urge our legislators to allow the people of this state to vote on amending the Constitution of Alaska to grant a rural subsistence preference.
Alaska Christian Conference
A Resolution on Native Subsistence and Indian Country 97-1. From the Alaska Christian Conference Biennial Assembly meeting in Wasilla, Alaska, February 24-26, 1997.
The "1994 Final Report" of the Alaska Native Review Commission, after an exhaustive two-year review of tribal, federal and state activities, found the strengthening of the governmental role of Alaska Native tribes to be crucial to the future success of Alaska Native communities.
These recommendations which support Indian Country and stronger tribal control were heartily endorsed when presented, by the congressional delegation, the Governor, the Alaska Federation of Natives, and the legislature.
However, little progress has been made toward implementation of the commission's recommendations until in December 1996, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Indian Country existed in Venetie and Arctic Village.
Suddenly, Alaska public officials appear to fear that tribes might gain too much power. Therefore the State Legislature appropriated one million dollars of public funds to oppose any tribal sovereignty. We deeply regret this action of the Legislature and believe that the issues can be worked out and urge the Legislature to sit down with Native tribes and discuss these issues and the positive impact tribal governments can bring. Tribes in the Lower 48 states have worked with their states for years and are able to co-exist amicably.
On February 15-17, 300 villagers from around this state and from a broad perspective of the Native community attended a Subsistence Roundtable sponsored by the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. From this conference a Draft Proclamation was developed. This is being distributed within the Native community for comment, and then the working group will develop a declaration with more detail.
Those delegates assembled at the Alaska Christian Conference Biennial Assembly wish to go on record that we encourage them in their efforts and stand with the Alaska Natives in their desire to maintain their culture, their subsistence way of life, and exercise stronger control over their own communities as the Alaska Native Review Commission has recommended.
Signed: Rev. Richard K. Heacock, Jr., President
Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.L., Secretary
Council Issues Call For Subsistence Papers
The Presbytery of Yukon Council issued a call for papers of the subject of subsistence at its meeting on July 18, 1998. The paper(s) selected will be distributed to presbytery delegates prior to the fall Presbytery of Yukon meeting on October 9 and 10, 1998.
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