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Symposium will advance tribal governance


Leona Long 907-474-5086

An academic forum exploring ways Alaska Native communities can increase self-governance and sustain their own development will be held Nov. 20-22 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The Third Annual Tribal Governance Symposium will be hosted by UAF’s tribal management program in partnership with First Alaskans Institute. Other UAF sponsors include the College of Rural and Community Development and its Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development.

This year’s event, titled Land-Water-Life, is expected to draw more than 200 people from across Alaska. It will run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 20-21 and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 22 in Wood Center on the Fairbanks campus.

“We are excited for this year’s symposium, as we are partnering with a dynamic organization, First Alaskans Institute, known for their work in catalyzing conversations that address challenges faced by Alaska Native peoples and communities, while at the same time recognizing the many strengths that lie within the people and communities to address the challenges,” said Jessica Black, assistant professor of tribal management. “It is also a critical time to have conversations regarding land and water and the intersectionality these resources have with people, given current social, economic and political factors impacting the state and its citizens.”

“We want to push boundaries in conversations and work together to find solutions to challenges facing Alaska Native communities and advance tribal governance,” said co-organizer Andrea Sanders, director of the Alaska Native Policy Center at First Alaskans Institute.

The symposium features panels of tribal leaders, UAF professors, Alaska Native elders, and Alaska Native corporation and nonprofit leaders. Topics include tribal governance, indigenous stewardship, advocacy and advancement of ways of life, and being good relatives. The symposium culminates with small work sessions so participants can build solutions together.

“We are moving away from the colonial model of education that lectures and tells people how and what to think,” said Sanders. “We are working hard to get people from every region in Alaska so we can tap into the indigenous knowledge across the state. We want people to learn from each other to share knowledge, connect and inspire each other. We can only do that with dialogue.”

Keynote speakers include Yup’ik sisters Christina Salmon-Bringhurst and AlexAnna Salmon of the Igiugig Village Council, and Che Wilson, a Māori iwi leader from New Zealand.

Symposium participants can earn one academic credit from UAF’s tribal management program. For more about the program or the symposium, visithttp://tribalmgmt.uaf.edu/gov17. For more information about First Alaskans Institute, visit www.firstalaskans.org.

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