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Murkowski Encouraged by Increased Tribal Consultation Announcement

WASHINGTON, DC – Just weeks after Senator Murkowski urged the Obama Administration to follow through on the federal government’s commitments and fulfill the expectations surrounding tribal consultation – as well as the need for promises to Alaska’s First People to be kept – she welcomed the news that the Department of Interior is revising its consultation framework, providing a greater role for Alaska Native Corporations to be involved in federal decisions affecting them and their Native shareholders.

Senator Murkowski continuously stresses the need for action on this issue, as recently as just yesterday in Fairbanks with the Alaska Tribal Court Conference.  She also has made it a top agenda issue in her position on the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee, as well as through maintaining engagement with Alaska Native organizations.

“For the past 40 years, Alaska Native Corporations have played a leading role as advocates for federal policies that protect the interests of their Native shareholders,” said Murkowski.  “I think it is high time that the Interior Department and other federal agencies respect the leadership role of elected corporation leaders and fully consulting with them on policies directly impacting them.”

On June 22nd, Senator Murkowski wrote a letter to the White House, saying:

“Consultation is a term that has been said to embody your Administration’s approach to federal Indian policy. Let us not regress to an era where the federal government made systematic promises to Tribal governments that it had no intention of keeping.”

Today, the Department of the Interior – which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs – announced “a new framework for meaningful consultation with Alaska Native Corporations.”  In the preamble to their new policy, the Interior Department says they are modifying Tribal Consultation Policy when it comes to Alaska Native Corporations.  This comes on the eve of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s visit to Alaska, where he will be in Barrow and Nuiqsut over the weekend before holding a press availability in Anchorage on Monday.

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