For many years, the People of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region have considered the question of whether to form a Regional Tribal Government (RTG). Several options for doing this have been considered, but the goal of achieving a regional tribal government to unify our People has remained elusive.
Earlier this year, Calista Corporation invited Tribal leaders to attend an in-person meeting in Anchorage to vote on a proposed Constitution. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting was postponed indefinitely.
In a July 10 letter, Calista Corporation invited Tribes to consider voting by mail to form the RTG. For discussion purposes, Calista provided updated materials including a draft Tribal Resolution, draft Constitution, and proposed Organizational Chart.
If you have any questions, please contact the Calista Government Relations Department by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or our fax number is (907) 562-0026.
Five years ago in Bethel, Calista Corporation convened a Regional Committee to explore the issue of forming a Regional Tribal Government. This Committee, comprised of 100 delegates from around the Region, considered several options, including formation of a regional borough under Alaska state law. 76% of the Regional Committee attendees voted to create a regional tribal government.
This year, Calista Corporation is inviting Tribes to consider a simpler approach, creating an RTG with limited powers that are not intended to infringe upon the sovereignty or interfere with the power of any tribal government within the region.
We believe other funds can be identified that would bring new resources to the Region and not harm the current federal funding stream the tribal governments and nonprofit associations are entitled to receive.
In fact, we believe that a widely-accepted Regional Tribal Government would create new opportunities for individual tribal governments to work better together to help our People and improve social service delivery. A unified Tribal Government would strengthen Tribes and communities, reduce costs, create jobs, and could provide for an effective regional public safety department and tribal court system in the future.
This is an exciting opportunity, and we hope you will support this effort to help empower the People of our Region.
Oct. 9, 2020: The RTG Process Continues - Updates and Facts
October 9, 2020
YK Delta Regional Tribal Government Process Continues
Calista Corporate Governance Committee Shares Updates and Facts on Discussions
(Anchorage, Alaska) – Willie Kasayulie, Chair of the Calista Corporation Corporate Governance Committee, shared an update on the process of forming a Regional Tribal Government (RTG) for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region:
“Over the past few weeks, our Governance Committee team held discussions with many Y-K Region Tribal leaders about the effort to form an Interim Regional Tribal Government. These discussions have revealed a great deal of support for the effort, but also underscored several concerns and misunderstandings,” said Willie Kasayulie.
It has come to our attention that a formal tribal resolution distributed to Tribes is causing confusion because it contains many factual errors. The Committee wanted to clarify and correct several points, as follows:
- Tribal governments have the sole authority and responsibility to decide whether to form the RTG. A newly formed RTG would not be “under” Calista. Rather the RTG would be a new Tribe created by the authority of the 56 federally recognized Tribes of the Region.
- Calista has no vote in the formation of the RTG. Calista is only providing a forum for the Tribal governments of the Region to make this decision. Whether the RTG is formed or not, Calista’s efforts will end once the Tribal governments make their decision.
- Some Tribes are concerned about the RTG overriding local Tribal governance decisions. The draft RTG constitution prevents this from happening, but additional protections can always be added by the Tribes once the Interim Regional Tribal Council is formed.
- Some Tribes are concerned about whether the RTG will take away Federal funding from the Tribal governments. The answer to that concern is “no.” In fact, the RTG will be able to bring in additional Federal funds to the Region and provide region-wide services, such as public safety, for the first time.
- A few Tribes have expressed interest in revising the draft RTG constitution. Due to COVID-19, it has not been possible to have face-to-face discussion about changes in the draft constitution. Tribes are of course welcome to propose revisions to the draft constitution and include those revisions as part of the voting resolution. For instance, a Tribe could add a statement to its voting resolution to support the formation of the RTG, with a stipulation that the draft constitution will be amended by the Interim RTG Council.
- If Tribes decide to form the RTG, it would be reasonable to develop amendments over a given period of time, then formally approve the RTG constitution once the Interim RTG Council is able to safely meet in person.
- Some Tribes have also expressed interest in having more time to decide whether to form the RTG. Right now, the deadline for deciding is October 31. At this time, only 50% of Tribes in the Region have had a chance to vote so the deadline will be extended to the end of the calendar year, December 31, 2020.
If Tribal leaders or others have any questions about this process, they can contact Calista’s Government Relations Department (email@example.com) or Calista’s Tribal Relations Liaison (firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 907-265-2936).
Willie Kasayulie, Chair
Calista Corporation Corporate Governance Committee
COVID-19 shows need for Regional Tribal Government
It is clear in times of crisis, like the one we face with the COVID-19 pandemic, that a regional tribal government is needed now more than ever for the YK Region.
A regional tribal government could:
- Partner with existing regional organizations
- Centralize and disseminate safety information
- Coordinate communication and outreach with the state and federal governments
- Unite tribal political power
All to ensure the people of the Region have access to everything they need to deal with the current pandemic and other issues that are certain to arise in the future.
President's Message: Regional Tribal Government
President’s Message: Regional Tribal Government
Andrew Guy, Calista Corporation President/CEO
Storyknife, Mar./Apr. 2020 edition
For years, Shareholders have asked Calista for help in strengthening our Region and empowering our Tribes and communities. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta faces many challenges. We face high rates of suicide and violence, high energy and fuel costs, inadequate funding for our schools and public facilities, lack of infrastructure, and public safety.
The challenges facing the YK Region are too critical to ignore. There are 56 federally recognized Tribes in our Region, and Calista has worked with our Tribes, nonprofits and for-profit corporations for decades—including through the 2014 Regional Steering Committee—to bring together one unified voice for our Region as envisioned by our Elders.
The Steering Committee recorded unanimous agreement for the need of regional governance and reported overwhelming support to pursue a Regional Tribal Government for the YK. The Steering Committee, composed of tribal, village corporation, and other regional stakeholders, recognized that only a regional tribe could effectively solve certain region-wide challenges.
The time to act is now. The Calista Board and other supporters believe it’s time to create a Regional Tribal Government. ANCSA was enacted in part to improve socio-economic conditions of Alaska Native people, and Calista is committed to that goal.
Regional nonprofits and ANCSA corporations can only do so much within the confines of their state chartered legal structures. Unlike a borough or a branch of state government, Tribal Governments are autonomous sovereign entities with great powers and privileges and are conduits for federal appropriations and federal trust obligations. A Regional Tribe would also keep Calista resources in the hands of Calista Shareholders by empowering the people of the Region, represented by each Tribe in the YK, to control how future resources revenue is directed and invested for our future generations.
As a Regional Tribal Government, the Tribes would:
- Maintain individual sovereignty while leveraging the power and political influence of what could be the largest alliance of Tribes in the nation
- Invest in YK villages and future generations by creating a tribally-owned sovereign wealth fund for regional distribution
- Have a powerful political voice and leverage that voice into government appropriations for infrastructure, energy, public safety, and more
- Make laws and ordinances for environmental protection and subsistence management
- Protect and regulate natural resources and fisheries
- Support the creation of a tribal land base
- Provide for law enforcement and public safety
- Develop and maintain infrastructure projects like roads, energy, and telecom
The benefits of a Regional Tribal Government would advance the standard of living for our communities, families and our people.
A meeting for Tribes to discuss the Regional Tribal Government has been postponed amid concerns over COVID-19, but we encourage you to continue sending in tribal authorizing resolutions so our planning efforts can continue while we monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and impacts to our state. We will keep you posted on a new meeting date once we know more.
The YK Tribal meeting to vote upon the creation of a Regional Tribal Government will be sponsored by Calista, but only tribal delegates will have the authority to vote on the proposal. Calista looks forward to hosting the meeting and we hope to see you there when you exercise your Tribe’s voice!
Letters to Tribes
Calista has sent the following letters to YK Tribes this year regarding formation of the RTG:
- September 10 Letter to Tribes (pdf) – Tribes invited to telephonic tribal consultation on RTG
- July 10 Letter to Tribes (pdf) – Tribes invited to vote by mail on draft Constitution
- March 27 Letter (pdf) – Gathering postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic
- February 3 Letter (pdf) – Tribes invited to in-person meeting to vote on draft Constitution
- Draft Constitution
- Draft Tribal Resolutions
Proposed Organizational Chart
- Summarizes the purpose of the RTG and delineates how it would be organized