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Holding Our Ground Part 8


Holding Our Ground

"Programs are presented as broadcast in 1985 and 1986. Some of the issues may have changed. A new series is looking at how these issues have changed over time. For more program information please contact the producer: Jim Sykes, PO Box 696, Palmer, AK 99645. The address given at the end of the program is no longer correct."

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TapeAlaska Transcripts, PO Box 696, Palmer, AK 99645
HOLDING OUR GROUND
(c) 1985 Western Media Concepts, Inc.
"SUBSISTENCE AND THE LAW"
(Part 8 of 16)

[Jasper Joseph] We do not put the limit on how many cattle or how many cows or how much food should outsiders have. We do not make any regulations on that. When we try to hunt and provide ourselves and feed our family, our children, somebody comes around and tells us, "If you catch birds, if you catch moose, or if you gather food, we will put you in jail." We have been promised punishment for trying to survive.

[NARRATOR] THE SUBSISTENCE WAY OF LIFE CONTINUES TO BE VITAL TO VILLAGES ALL OVER ALASKA. MONUMENTAL CHANGES IN LAW CAME WITH ALASKA STATEHOOD. AND THEN IN 1971, CONGRESS PASSED ANCSA, THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT, WITH MORE REGULATIONS. NOW ALASKA'S NATIVE PEOPLES ARE TRYING TO DEVELOP LAWS THAT MEET THEIR NEEDS. THIS IS HOLDING OUR GROUND.

FUNDING FOR "HOLDING OUR GROUND" IS PROVIDED BY THE ALASKA HUMANITIES FORUM, THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES, RURAL ALASKA COMMUNITY ACTION PROGRAM, THE NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH, AND ZIONTZ-PIRTLE LAW FIRM.

[Peter Goll, Juneau] The people would go out to a certain area, they would harvest the abalone. In would come the divers from the commercial vessels and they would move into this area and clean it out. The people went to the Department of Fish and Game and they said "We are going to our traditional area to get abalone and we are being competed with unfairly by people with more elaborate equipment", and they were told to get some diving equipment themselves. Well, the solution isn't to get some diving equipment themselves, the solution is to develop a legal mechanism to protect the local Indigenous use from outside intervention, if you will, or outside exploitation. And the issue that's raised is, whose resource is it? Is it the public's resource? Is it the States resource? Is it the Nation's resource?"

NATIVE PEOPLES NEVER HAD TO CONSIDER SUCH QUESTIONS UNTIL RUSSIA SOLD ALASKA TO THE UNITED STATES. THERE IS PLENTY OF EVIDENCE SUGGESTING THE RUSSIANS THOUGHT THEY WERE SELLING ONLY TRADING RIGHTS AND A FEW FORTS. THE AMERICANS THOUGHT THEY BOUGHT ALL OF ALASKA AND ITS RESOURCES.

TOM LONNER.
With the coming of American dominion over the land, and without the consent or knowledge of Alaska Native people, their wealth had been usurped by the American government. Lands, waters, fish, wildlife, minerals, and forests all passed into government hands and were converted into common property resources, that is, wealth held by the government on behalf of all Americans. Over the last two centuries, millions of immigrants from Europe and elsewhere have come to America and were awarded citizenship. To my knowledge, none have been required to surrender at their point of entry into the country, all of their wealth to the government for common use in order to obtain citizenship. That seems to me to be the unwritten contract: an exchange of great wealth for simple citizenship.

AS MORE IMMIGRANTS CAME TO ALASKA, LANDS WERE USED LESS AND LESS FREELY BY THE NATIVE PEOPLES. THE MOST DRAMATIC CHANGES CAME WITH STATEHOOD IN 1959. A YEAR LATER, THE STATE TOOK CONTROL OF FISH AND GAME MANAGEMENT FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. IN 1971, CONGRESS PASSED ANCSA, THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT. THAT ACT EXTINGUISHED ABORIGINAL LAND TITLE ALONG WITH ABORIGINAL HUNTING AND FISHING RIGHTS. ALASKA NATIVES WERE LEFT WITH ABOUT ONE-TENTH OF THE LAND THEY HAD TRADITIONALLY USED AND OCCUPIED. BUT THE LAND WAS NOT GIVEN TO INDIVIDUALS OR TRIBAL GROUPS, IT IS HELD INSTEAD BY PROFIT-MAKING NATIVE CORPORATIONS, CREATED BY THE CLAIMS ACT. TWO MAJOR FORCES ACCELERATED THE LAND CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT. ALASKA WANTED TO SELECT STATEHOOD LANDS AND OIL COMPANIES WANTED NORTH SLOPE OIL. THERE WAS A GREAT DEAL OF PRESSURE TO SETTLE.

The purchasing party, the United States was interested primarily in extracting resources from the land, not settling on the land. (TOM LONNER) The compensated party, Alaska Natives, was relinquishing rights to the rewards of that extraction, but did not intend to relinquish rights to chase and harvest the wild resources which traversed or inhabited all the lands.

NATIVE CORPORATION LANDS ARE NOW TREATED AS PRIVATE PROPERTY IN THE EYES OF THE LAW. THE CORPORATION DECIDES WHAT HAPPENS ON NATIVE LANDS.

BETTY THOMAS-DENNY OF TANACROSS
...Because of the land claim I think it restricted the land use to many of our people. I know that currently people can't trap, hunt, fish, or even pick berries anywhere because they have this fear of trespassing.

We cannot live without our land, without trapping, without fishing, without hunting. (CATHERINE ATTLA OF HUSLIA) If they ever tell us where not to go or where not to trap that's when it's it's going to get tough, because we've been living like our ancestors all these years and if we cannot do that no more it's going to be a lot of unhappy people, unhealthy mostly.

MARIE ADAMS OF BARROW
... There are traditional subsistence laws within the community and they have their own laws, basically their own structure, and how they hunt, what is acceptable, what is not. And what's been happening the last several years is with the new federal government, the state government coming in and basically imposing laws without clearly understanding or going out to see what is out there has created a lot of confusion.

SUBSISTENCE IS MORE THAN HUNTING, FISHING, AND GATHERING. IT IS THE WORK OF MANY PEOPLE IN THE VILLAGES, AND IT CARRIES WITH IT CULTURAL AND SPRITUAL TRADITIONS.

CHIEF JONATHON SOLOMON OF FORT YUKON:
We are not a visitor upon these lands, we are in the same ecosystem as the animal on these lands. The caribou is part of the Gwich'in people religion, but we also believe that the population of the Gwich'in people in the Yukon Flat goes up and down with the numbers of these animals. This is why it is very important to us when we talk about the Porcupine Caribou herd that it be protected for our generations to come, because this is our belief.

WHEN THE CLAIMS ACT EXTINGUISHED SUBSISTENCE HUNTING AND FISHING RIGHTS, THE STATE WAS LEFT TO HANDLE IT. ALASKA NATIVES WORKED VERY HARD TO GET SUBSISTENCE ACTIVITIES RECOGNIZED BY STATE AND FEDERAL LAW.

CALEB PUNGOWIYI OF NOME.
This extinguishment should not have been accepted. It is surprising though, that after the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act there were several acts that were passed by the Congress that either provided for protection or provided for provisions of subsistence hunting and fishing for Alaska Natives.

PUNGOWIYI REFERS TO ANILCA, THE ALASKA NATIONAL INTEREST LANDS CONSERVATION ACT, PASSED BY CONGRESS IN 1980. IT DEFINES SUBSISTENCE USERS AS RURAL RESIDENTS AND DEMANDS THEY GET PRIORITY. THE STATE OF ALASKA KNEW ANILCA WAS COMING, AND IN 1978, THE STATE LEGISLATURE PASSED A SUBSISTENCE PRIORITY ACT WHICH GAVE SUBSISTENCE USERS PREFERENCE IN TIMES OF SCARCITY.

ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL LARRI SPENGLER.
Before 1978, as long as you caught it and ate it, basically, it was subsistence, it was personal use. But now subsistence use was defined as customary and traditional use.

THE STATE HAS TROUBLE DEFINING CUSTOMARY AND TRADTIONAL USE, THE LANGUAGE USED IN THE ANILCA LAW.

TOM LONNER WAS THE FIRST TO HEAD THE ALASKA FISH AND GAME SUBSISTENCE DIVISION, WHEN IT WAS CREATED IN 1979.
While it talks about customary and traditional uses, it very rapidly reduces those to economic uses only, and then proceeds to limit those.

LONNER'S SUBSISTENCE DIVISION CREATED REGULATIONS TO DEFINE SUBSISTENCE CRITERIA, BASICALLY A LONG TERM PATTERN OF CONSISTENT RESOURCE USE NEAR THE USERS HOME, TRADITIONAL METHODS OF HANDLING AND PRESERVING, ALONG WITH SHARING THE RESOURCE AND THE TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE HANDED DOWN THROUGH GENERATIONS.

We were trying to get back into patterns of tradition and custom and so on and get off of this purely economic mode that the State had adopted in its very protective subsistence law. Laws that were used to control subsistence prior to the State's subsistence law were done essentially without any specific recognition for subsistence and what would be meant by customary and traditional use, or just the basic necessities of life in rural Alaska.

SOME URBAN HUNTERS DISAGREED WITH THE STATE REGULATIONS. IN 1982, AN INIATIATIVE TO REPEAL THE STATE SUBSISTENCE LAW WAS BROUGHT BEFORE ALASKA VOTERS AND SOUNDLY REJECTED. STATE REGULATIONS REMAINED INTACT. SOME URBAN SUBSISTENCE USERS HAD ALREADY BEEN ACCOMMODATED UNDER THE EXISTING RULES, BUT IN 1985, THE STATE'S HIGHEST COURT BROADENED THE SUBSISTENCE USE CATEGORY TO MORE URBAN RESIDENTS. THAT DECISION DID NOT COMPLY WITH THE FEDERAL ANILCA LAW, WHICH CLEARLY STATES SUBSISTENCE IS DONE BY RURAL RESIDENTS.

STATE SENATOR MITCH ABOOD MADE SURE NO ACTION WAS TAKEN IN 1985 ON NINE SUBSISTENCE BILLS INTENDED TO CORRECT THE LAW.
Yes, I guess you could call it my fault. I said those bills are going to stay right in this committee until someone will come to their senses and come together from all walks of this thing, this problem, and sit down and discuss it and each one give a little bit.

IN THE ABSENCE OF A NEW LAW EMERGENCY REGULATIONS WERE PUT IN PLACE BY THE FISH AND GAME BOARDS, REGULATIONS THAT EMPHASIZE HISTORICAL USE AND LOCAL RESIDENCE. SOME URBAN HUNTERS FELT SLIGHTED BY THOSE EMERGENCY REGULATIONS, AND RURAL SUBSISTENCE USERS FEARED INCREASED COMPETITION. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, WILLIAM HORN, NOTIFIED THE GOVEROR THAT ALASKA'S OUT OF COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL LAW REGULATING SUBSISTENCE BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO URBAN HUNTERS AND FISHERS. UNLESS THE STATE COMES BACK INTO COMPLIANCE BY JUNE 1, 1986, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE OVER FISH AND GAME MANAGEMENT. SENATOR ABOOD SAYS HE WILL INTRODUCE A SUBSISTENCE BILL EARLY IN 1986 TO COMPLY WITH THE FEDERAL LAW.

CUSTOMARY AND TRADITIONAL USE MUST BE DEFINED BY THE STATE, ALONG WITH A SYSTEM THAT RECOGNIZES DIFFERENT SITUATIONS. SUBSISTENCE DIVISION CHIEF BEHNKE SAYS THAT SUBSISTENCE USERS CAN BE PROTECTED ON A PRIORITY BASIS AND THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITY FOR OTHER HUNTERS AND FISHERS AS WELL. SOME URBAN HUNTERS DISAGREE AND SAY THEY WILL TAKE THEIR CASE OF EQUAL ACCESS TO STATE AND FEDERAL COURTS. IN SEVERAL OTHER STATES WHERE INDIANS LOST SUBSISTENCE RIGHTS, THEY HAVE BEEN REINSTATED.

STATE, FEDERAL, AND CORPORATION RULES DON'T ALWAYS MAKE SENSE TO PEOPLE LIVING IN THE VILLAGES. WHILE MOST NON-NATIVE HUNTERS ARE ACCUSTOMED TO GETTING A PERMIT FOR ONE ANIMAL, TRADITIONAL CUSTOMS ARE QUITE DIFFERENT.

DARRYL TRIGG OF NOME.
It has always been our custom to allow the good hunters to catch more than the current limits and share with people who are berry pickers or green pickers or fishermen, who in turn would share their crop and catch with the hunters. The lands that were to be ours are now controlled by a Board of Directors with restrictions on the use of that land by about every Federal and State agency that exists. Now, they don't seem to recall that the Eskimo has lived and survived up here for thousands of years without scarring the land. Before they came with their laws and regulations, there was always a good balance of game to feed our people. It is proven that the Eskimo has never hunted themselves out of game, and probably never will.

Subsistence is a living, breathing, dynamic human activity. (TOM LONNER) Regulatory regimes tend to place the steel web of exactness on the activity, in the form of exact definitions, exact locations, exact numbers. This exactness cannot respond to the ever-changing human needs or ever-changing environmental conditions which comprise subsistence.

THE ARBITRARY SETTING OF SEASONS BY THE STATE IS SOMETIMES SEEN AS INAPPROPRIATE. THE TRADITIONAL REASON FOR HUNTING AT A CERTAIN TIME IS DIFFERENT THAN THE STATE OR FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS REASON FOR A SEASON.

JIMMY WALKER OF HOLY CROSS.
The fish and moose we eat, that's pretty much our diet, like up north they got to have their whale. Same thing you know, that's our regular diet. If we're restricted to hunting seasons, you know, and that's making it hard on the village. We'd like to see more local control. For the Elders and middle aged, it's really a problem. Some went out and got arrested when they had nothing, nothing to eat. They were just scrounging for the next meal. What are you going to do? You going to leave your family hungry when there's a big healthy moose running by and somebody else tell you what you can eat, can't eat, when to eat that meat?

Our culture is not based on beef. It's not based on corn. (SHELDON KATCHATAG OF UNALAKLEET) It's based on those resources which have gotten us from primitive times to where we are today. And even now, in this very modern age, we still derive approximately 70% of the food we need from the land and not from the supermarket.

THE CASH ECONOMY IS NOW PART OF REMOTE ALASKA, BUT TO A LIMITED DEGREE. ELDERS TEND TO DEPEND MORE ON SUBSISTENCE THAN YOUNGER PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE ACQUAINTED WITH WESTERN FOODS. FOOD IS ONLY ONE PART OF SUBSISTENCE LIVING AFFECTED BY RELATIVELY NEW REGULATIONS.

ELLIE STICKMAN OF NULATO.
Before the land claims came, my people before me used to go out into the woods and get whatever they want from the land for free. It's there to use, the wood, the fish in the river, the moose, the berries, tea, everything. It was there to be used. And now the way it is, we have to find out whose land it is first before we can do anything, before we can go out and get logs, before we can even go out and get wood to burn for our winter heat.

JUDGE THOMAS BERGER TRAVELLED TO VILLAGES IN ALL REGIONS OF ALASKA TO ASK PEOPLE ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT. BERGER RECOMMENDED THAT TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS SHOULD HAVE EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION OVER FISH AND WILDLIFE TAKEN ON NATIVE LANDS, AND SHARE MANAGEMENT WITH THE FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS ON OTHER LANDS.
In Alaska, Native societies large and small were erected on a subsistence base. Today subsistence gives continuity to village life, and given the limited opportunities for wage or salaried employment in rural Alaska, it is seen to be the key to the survival of village life in village society. Although ANCSA extinguished aboriginal hunting and fishing rights, Alaska Natives still regard subsistence as their birthright. Even those not engaged in subsistence regard it as essential to their future well-being.

We're really concerned about our lifestyle in the villages, due to no development and jobs for our young people, (JIMMY WALKER) in this immediate area, it looks pretty glum. So it's, getting back to the issue of subsistence, we've got to have that, otherwise we're not going to survive.

THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, NATIONS HAVE TAKEN STRONG MEASURES TO PROTECT THE SUBSISTENCE LIFESTYLES OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES. CANADA HAS GIVEN EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TO FUR-BEARING ANIMALS AND SHARED JURISDICTION OF MOOSE AND CARIBOU TO THE NATIVES OF QUEBEC AND THE WESTERN ARCTIC. IN ALASKA, NATIVES HAVE TAKEN THE LEAD TO PROTECT SEVERAL SPECIES THAT ARE USED FOR SUBSISTENCE. IN 1977, THE INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION SUPPORTED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, BANNED BOWHEAD WHALING.

MARIE ADAMS.
When they were asked to stop whaling, it was incomprehensible, and people were deeply hurt.

BURTON REXFORD IS A BARROW WHALING CAPTAIN
...In spite of the Native people's knowledge of the great bowhead whale, the Eskimos have been repeatedly put on a chopping block by the world scientists and regulatory government agencies.

ESKIMO WHALING CAPTAINS FORMED ALASKA ESKIMO WHALING COMMISSION AND CONVINCED THE U.S. GOVERNMENT THEY SHOULD HAVE SOME WHALES. A STRINGENT QUOTA SYSTEM WAS DEVISED BY THE INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION. IN 1981, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SIGNED OVER MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY TO THE ALASKA ESKIMO WHALING COMMISSION. THE NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH SET UP A SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE AND HELPED COORDINATE RESEARCH ON THE BOWHEAD WHALE. IN 1985, THE INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION RECOGNIZED THE WHALING CAPTAINS REQUEST FOR AN ENLARGED BOWHEAD QUOTA.

IN 1975, OIL DEVELOPMENT ON ALASKA'S NORTH SLOPE BROUGHT NATIVE POEPLES TOGETHER ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ALASKA-CANADA BORDER. THE ALASKANS NEGOTIATED A POSITION TO SECURE THE ARCTIC WILDLIFE RANGE, AND THEN GOT TOGETHER AGAIN WITH CANADIANS FROM EIGHT VILLAGES IN 1982.

JONATHON SOLOMON.
Indigenous people met in Arctic Village and we formed what is known today as the International Porcupine Caribou Commission. And we filed it with the United Nations. We did not file it with the United States, we filed it with the United Nations under their agreement in Stockholm.

VICTOR MITANDER IS A LAND CLAIMS NEGOTIATOR FOR THE COUNCIL OF YUKON INDIANS.
We want to ensure that there is cooperation in terms of the management of the herd and its habitat, and to first of all insure that there is conservation of the herd itself with the view of providing ongoing subsistence needs of the Native users. Secondly is to provide for the Native users to participate in the Porcupine Caribou management. Thirdly is to recognize and protect certain harvesting rights of the Porcupine Caribou for the Native users, while at the same time acknowledging that there are other users, non-Native users of the herd itself. Also to provide communication amongst governments and government to Native users and amongst Native user communities.

THE STATE OF ALASKA HAS WORKED DIRECTELY WITH THE INTERNATIONAL PORCUPINE CARIBOU COMMISSION AND IT LED TO A MEETING WITH THE ALASKA GOVERNOR IN OCTOBER OF 1983.

JONATHON SOLOMON.
The governor of the state of Alaska called us into his office and said "You guys been working on this caribou treaty for many years" he says, "It's about time we move on with it" and he formed a task force. And today with the Fish and Game of State of Alaska we have worked out the wording.

THE REMAINING STEPS WILL BE WORKED OUT WITH THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, AND THEN THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT WILL NEGOTIATE THE TREATY WITH THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT.

IN 1984, NATIVES LIVING IN THE YUKON-KUSKOKWIM DELTA DEVELOPED INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS TO PROTECT GEESE POPULATIONS.

HAROLD SPARCK HEADS NUNAM KITLUTSISTI, A NONPROFIT CORPORATION WHICH REPRESENTS NATURAL RESOURCE ISSUES FOR 56 VILLAGES IN SOUTHWEST ALASKA.
The Federal Fish and Wildlife Service showed up and said,"the sky is falling, the sky is falling" and the Native people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta are responsible for it, solely responsible for the loss of all these geese. The first thing that came out of several of the Elders mouths was "Wait a minute, they're talking about these animals that we eat. Now, when we were young, when these animals were strong in numbers, the little birds that fly around like clouds were very strong too. Nobody eats them, how come they are very few in number too? They go to the very same places that these big birds go. And maybe what these guys are saying is that they're looking for somebody to blame all this problem on. So our concern is number one, we gotta make sure we're not stuck with the onus of being responsible for this whole thing, but number two, we have to watch out for our children.

THE VILLAGERS DISCOVERED THERE WERE PROBLEMS IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE FLYWAY.

[Harold Sparck] We linked take in the Yukon Delta to conversion of wetlands in the Central Valley of California to the take by gringos out of Los Angeles going down into Mexico and hunting without any enforcement whatsoever.

HELICOPTER INTERFERENCE WAS STOPPED AT ONE FEEDING GROUND IN ALASKA, CALIFORNIA BOUGHT BACK WETLANDS IN CALIFORNIA'S CENTRAL VALLEY, AND THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT AGREED THEY WOULD PAY ATTENTION TO HABITATS AND RECORD THE TAKE OF WATERFOWL THERE.

[Harold Sparck] Our villages voluntarily agreed to lay down their guns and to stop taking eggs, in exchange for California reducing their take by 50 per cent. So we went around the federal government in order to get this taker-to-taker agreement, and then California supported our habitat concerns. Lo and behold, our villages complied, California's complied and again the guiding principle was birds at the turn of the century, that's what they wanted, our villages wanted.

PEOPLE ARE WATCHING CLOSELY TO SEE IF THIS TAKER-TO-TAKER AGREEMENT WILL ALLOW GEESE POPULATIONS TO INCREASE FOR PEOPLE WHO DEPEND ON THEM. SUBSISTENCE USERS SAY THAT STATE AND FEDERAL AUTHORITIES SHOULD RELY MORE ON THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE IN GAME MANAGEMENT.

WOODROW MORRISON JR. OF HYDABURG.
The people's lives are governed by these natural cycles, that seasons do change, sometimes you have an early winter here in Anchorage, sometimes you don't. Well, the animals' lives are geared to those changes, rather than to dates on the calendar. And if people are going to be able to live in a time-honored way, and be able to pay respect to their relatives in a proper way, then they should be able to follow those cycles.

WHILE THE STATE SUBSISTENCE LAW IS CURRENTLY IN TURMOIL, THERE ARE SUCCESS STORIES TO BE FOUND WHERE SUBSISTENCE USERS HAVE MADE THEIR CASE TO THE STATE GAME BOARD.

FRED BISMARCK IS CHAIRMAN OF THE FISH AND GAME BOARD FROM TYONEK.
This year, I spent 21 days at the hearings and we finally got our winter moose hunt, but the winter moose hunt depends on the snow. We have a different herd of moose that live up on the hills. They don't come off the hills until there is heavy snow. The board made it flexible for us. If the heavy snow came in November, they could of had their season in November, but if the snow don't come 'til January, then we got the last fifteen days in January for the January moose hunt.

NON-SUBSISTENCE HUNTERS HAVE ACCESS TO THE SAME MOOSE DURING A REGULAR FALL SEASON. LOCAL CONTROL OF RESOURCES IS IMPORTANT TO PEOPLE WHEREVER THEY LIVE. NEXT WEEK A LOOK AT HOW ALASKA NATIVE PEOPLES EXERT THOSE GOVERNMENTAL POWERS IN A PROGRAM CALLED SOVEREIGNTY: HOW IT WORKS. PLEASE JOIN US. FOR HOLDING OUR GROUND, THIS IS ADELINE RABOFF.

[PRODUCTION AND FUNDING CREDITS]
THIS PROGRAM IS PRODUCED BY JIM SYKES, WRITTEN BY BILL DUBAY AND SUE BURRUS. ALSO EDITED AND RESEARCHED BY SUE BURRUS. SPECIAL THANKS TO THE COMMUNITY OF GAMBELL FOR DANCING, SINGING, AND DRUMMING. AND ALSO TO THE INUIT CIRCUMPOLAR CONFERENCE. "HOLDING OUR GROUND" IS A PRODUCTION OF WESTERN MEDIA CONCEPTS WHICH IS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTENT.

FUNDING FOR "HOLDING OUR GROUND" IS PROVIDED BY THE ALASKA HUMANITIES FORUM, THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES, RURAL ALASKA COMMUNITY ACTION PROGRAM, THE NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH, AND ZIONTZ-PIRTLE LAW FIRM.

[Western Media Concepts no longer exists. Please Contact TapeAlaska, PO Box 696, Palmer, AK 99645 for information about Holding Our Ground.]

 

PROGRAM SUMMARIES:

1. The People, the Land, and the Law
Comprehensive 30-minute survey of the burning issues facing Alaska's Native community in the second half of this decade. This tour over the vast landscape of Alaska Native affairs serves as an overview of the topics to be treated in depth during the other 14 segments.

2. The Land and Sea
The ages-old Native feeling about the land comes across the airwaves like a fresh breeze. Two starkly different realities are presented—the Native concept of oneness with the land and the Western notion of land ownership and development. How do these contrasting philosophies fit the Native in rural Alaska?

3. Subsistence—A Way of Life
Far from the political and legal controversies surrounding subsistence, Natives carry on their traditional subsistence lifestyles. Hear their very personal descriptions of subsistence, what it is, and what it means to them. An important aspect of this documentary will be to delve into the mix of subsistence and cash economies.

4. Sovereignty—What it Means to People
Self-determination is the heart of a rising grassroots political movement. The listener will learn that this quest by Native people to control their own futures reaches far into the past. And the listener will discover that American political theory is not as much at odds with the sovereignty movement as one might think.

5. Traditional Councils and Corporate Boardrooms
Who calls the shots in the Native community: A look at power, history, and decision making. The audience will consider change from the perspectives of traditional village rule to government and corporate bureaucracies.

6. The Land and the Corporations
Traditional Native lands became corporate assets because the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act created profit-making Native corporations to hold the land. This segment will look at one of the toughest questions facing the Native community today: "Do these Native corporations have an obligation to develop their lands to earn a profit for their shareholders, or do they have an obligation to preserve those lands for subsistence and for generations to come?"

7. Risking and Saving the Land
Land owned by Native corporations can be lost through sales, corporate takeover, bankruptcy, or taxation. This has generated so much concern among Natives trying to save their land that there are now a number of options to prevent loss of these lands. This program is an exploration of the major risks and what alternatives are available.

8 Subsistence and the Law
Carrying on the subsistence lifestyle without interference from the law is a thing of the past. Traditional ways of hunting fishing, and gathering are now subject to political and legal changes and challenges in what may well be Alaska's most bitter controversy. Hear discussion of the new role of Alaska Natives as treaty-makers and game managers.

9. Sovereignty - How it Works in Real Life
Local government control is a reality in some areas of Native Alaska. In other areas Natives are working to implement their own unique forms of self- government. Some have found self-determination in traditional government. Take a close look at the communities where sovereignty is becoming a reality.

10. The Newborns—Left Out of ANCSA
When the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. passed on December 18, 1971, all those yet to be born were left out. Now thousands of teenagers and toddlers alike are on the outside of ANCSA looking in. The Native community is divided into ANCSA shareholders and newborns, and the problems could get worse. Natives young and old speak out in eloquent terms.

11. From Hunter, Fisher, Gatherer to Corporate Director
The corporation idea—how and why it was chosen as a vehicle for land claims. Was this a good way to give Alaska Natives a piece of the American dream, or was it a way of assimilating them? This program examines how Natives have made the transition from traditional life to corporate director or shareholder

12. Changing the Claims Act—The Key Players
Nearly every Native organization in the state is jumping on the "Let's do something about ANCSA" idea. What began as grassroots dissatisfaction with the act has now shifted into a well-organized movement. There is the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the United Tribes of Alaska, the Alaska Federation of Natives, and Association of Village Council Presidents, and others.

13. Recommendations of the Alaska Native Review Commission
An historic journey by Canadian Judge Thomas R. Berger has culminated in some provocative recommendations about the options open to Alaska's Natives. Listeners will hear a cross-section of views about what Berger reported and how this may affect changes in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

14. Other Settlements with Indigenous Peoples Settlement Act
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act inspired other indigenous peoples in the world to seek land claims in the settlements with their countries. This program will look at those efforts in Canada, Greenland, Australia, Norway, and elsewhere. Now some of the land claims proposals of others are being studied by Alaskans seeking to improve ANCSA.

15. The Dream versus the Reality
The final segment considers what people wanted all along in land claims and what they got. Should all the hard work of the past be scrapped? How has the dream changed? Voices of many people speak of the future, what they want and how they will go about getting it for themselves and their Children.

16. Special Program--Berger's Recommendations

 

 

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Last modified February 7, 2007