Calista Land & Natural Resources Department Presents
Lands In Focus: Regional Advocacy
Storyknife, November/December 2023 edition
The annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention is an opportunity for Alaska Natives to come together to discuss shared priorities, many of which relate to our land, water, subsistence, and socioeconomic needs.
As an active AFN member, Calista helps support the development of AFN priorities and resolutions. This year, we were pleased to support all of the resolutions that came to a floor vote during AFN’s October convention.
Here are just a few of the resolutions that passed with Calista support this year.
Calista and The Kuskokwim Corporation partnered on a resolution that calls for increased investment and coordination to close the infrastructure gap in rural Alaska, as it relates to affordable energy, broadband, and other unmet needs in our communities.
Among its provisions, the resolution calls on the entities funding rural infrastructure projects to:
- Prioritize projects led by Alaska Native corporations, organizations and Tribes;
- Require projects to consult with and secure consent from Alaska Native landowners; and
- Eliminate cost-matching requirements that disadvantage Tribes and Native corporations.
Calista supported a resolution calling on federal agencies to protect our Alaska Native hunting and fishing rights amid state-federal litigation over navigable waters.
We voted to amend this resolution to call on Congress to repeal Section 4(b) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the provision that extinguished our aboriginal hunting and fishing rights.
The late addition of Section 4(b) of ANCSA was a betrayal of the hard work by Alaska Native leaders to negotiate a land claims settlement that protected the interests of our people.
The resolution and the amendment seeking the repeal of ANCSA Section 4(b) were adopted by AFN.
Calista supported a resolution to amend ANCSA to sunset Section 14(c)(3), which forces village corporations to convey a portion of the land they receive under ANCSA to the State of Alaska, for the future purpose of creating a municipal government.
More than 11,000 acres of village land in Alaska are being held by a small, underfunded state office, and are basically unavailable for important community needs.
Calista is supporting a bill in Congress to revert these 14(c)(3) lands back to Village corporations, and the House of Representatives held the bill’s first hearing in late October.
HAZARDOUS ELECTRONIC WASTE
Calista supported a resolution urging the Alaska Legislature to introduce and pass a comprehensive bill on electronic waste (e-waste) management. The electronic devices proliferating in our homes contain toxic materials that can leach into water and soil and can contaminate the air if they are burned.
Addressing e-waste is an important priority in our region, championed by the Association of Village Council Presidents, Donlin Gold, Delta Backhaul, and many other local and regional partners. This resolution calls for the responsibility for e-waste collection, recycling and disposal to fall on manufacturers versus local governments and taxpayers.