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Testimony

Submitted to the
Alaska Natives Commission
Social/Cultural Task Force at

Ft. Yukon, Alaska
June 9, 1993

ALASKA NATIVES COMMISSION
JOINT FEDERAL-STATE COMMISSION
ON
POLICIES AND PROGRAMS AFFECTING ALASKA NATIVES
4000 Old Seward Highway, Suite 100
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Witness List | PDF Version

 

MR. EATON: Any other questions? Thank you very much. Jonathon.

MR. SOLOMON: After last night, (indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Now, maybe we should have you swear in (laughter).

TESTIMONY OF JONATHON P. SOLOMON

MR. SOLOMON: I want to talk about an issue that really concerns me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Could you state your name, please? Please state your name.

MR. SOLOMON: My name is Jonathon Solomon, I'm from Fort Yukon. Alaska. I'm secretary-treasurer of Tanana Chief and I'm the president of a -- the (indiscernible) Corporation.

My concern is Public Law 93-638, which really bothers me lately. I've been brought up all life with tribal government, and raised in this town under tribal government authority. I'm 61 years old. I remember all my life living under tribal government, the chief and council of this village, where the decision makers was the chief and council decide; the chief executed. And if you go around the state, all the state organization is called -- call for action, is to Native people return back to the tribal government, form of government, self-determination. That's why Public Law 93-638 was passed.

But in that law, it's -- in the law of Public Law 93-638, they have a recognized -- organization can be authorized for contract. And they put a REAA council and traditional council. But I know -- I don't know the reason behind this, is that they included the village ANCSA corporation and the region ANCSA corporation. But in the recollections of that, you know, they put -- the region corporation in my area is Doyon Armon (ph.). Had the ultimate decision of who can contract 638. A profit-making corporation that's got nothing to do with tribal government can authorize another organization to contract 638, Self-Determination Act for Native People, overriding whatever village council's decisions.

And I'm the secretary-treasurer of Tanana Chief. Tanana Chief (indiscernible) under resolution from all 43 village council to represent them. Still, that's got to go to Doyon, Limited for authority to contract 638, which is bullshit to me. No profit-making corporation in the United States has the authority to tell tribal government what to do or what -- who to contract with. And that should be corrected.

In -- right now --

(Tape changed - Tape 4, Side 1)

MR. SOLOMON: in D.C. And the man that's handling it is called John Bushman (ph.) . And his number in Washington, D.C. is 202-224-2309. I think that if the Alaska Commission is really concerned about Native people and its issue in the State of Alaska, should talk to these people about correcting a law like this or regulation, which can be corrected by the Secretary of Interior with a stroke of the pen. Because it's regulation that's killing us.

And I can never understand the reason behind these things. Because if you look in the Anchorage, looking in the region, (indiscernible) Native Association or the Cook Inlet Native Tribal -- I mean, organization that we're contracted 638 under the authority of the village people, tribal government was done away by the Cook Inlet Region Corporation, ANCSA, and created their own. Right now it's all under the ANCSA corporation.

Is that's what's going to happen in my region, if we don't do something about it. I need the commissioners to do something about these kinds of regulation and these kinds of law that govern governs our area. To me, tribal government is number one. The region and village corporations are here under them. The tribal governments around this state is the one that got the Land Claims Act, not the region corporations and the village corporation.

Thank you.

MR. EATON: Thank you. Questions?

FATHER ELLIOTT: Could you give -- Jonathon, could you give me an example of what you've just said, of the where you have to make an appeal to a corporation that can (indiscernible) tribal --

MR. SOLOMON: (Indiscernible) here. The Fairbanks Native Association (indiscernible) my area, okay, they deal with -- they were allowed to give them something, contracting some 638 program. But they went to Doyon and they wanted the Doyon Corporation to withdraw their resolution that would allow Tanana Chief to contract 638's, and that they would be authorized to do that except -- instead of Tanana Chief.

And the way the 638 reads now, Doyon can do that. Without consultation with the tribal government in the villages.

MR. EATON: I think, Jonathon, at some risk of putting words in your mouth, what you're talking about is jurisdictional issues.

MR. SOLOMON: Jurisdictional, number one is tribal government.

MR. EATON: Right. Who is in charge?

MR. SOLOMON: The tribal government is supposed to be in charge.

MR. EATON: I understand. And that is the issue that we're talking about.

MR. SOLOMON: Right, we -- MR. EATON: Six thirty-eight is symptomatic to the problem.

MR. SOLOMON: Yeah. Six thirty-eight says that no, that the region corporations and the village corporations will be in charge.

MR. EATON: The problem is, is that the federal and state government, from time to time, arbitrarily tell a unit, for lack of a better term, of Native leadership that they have certain preemptive rights. You get into jurisdictional conflicts, which are not necessarily the same statewide.

MR. SOLOMON: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. EATON: And 638 issue is symptomatic of the problem of outsiders giving that responsibility to one over another unit of Native identity.

MR. SOLOMON: Yeah. I can give you an example. You know, we have a Native council here which is tribal government REAA. We have a Native corporation here called the (indiscernible) Corporation. If a bunch of people get together and form an organization, the Chesey (ph.) Corporation can authorize these organizations to override the Native council. And we need that corrected.

If we're talking about tribal governments in all areas, are the people that represent their Native people on issues of social services; then we need to get rid of these profit corporations overriding them.

MR. EATON: Other questions? Thank you, Jonathan.

(Pause)

 

This document was ocr scanned. We have made every attempt to keep the online document the same as the original, including the recorder's original misspellings or typos.

 
 

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