AFN Applauds Historic Agreement Between Interior and Ahtna Region
Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission and U.S. Department of the Interior Sign Historic Cooperative Management Agreement
U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Deputy Secretary Michael Connor signed an agreement today to create a cooperative management demonstration project with the Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission (AITRC). The agreement formalizes the subsistence wildlife management partnership between the DOI and the AITRC regarding the allocation and harvest of moose and caribou on federal lands in the Ahtna region, providing for a greater tribal role in the management of subsistence wildlife resources.
“This is good news for the people of the Ahtna region and good news for Alaska. A great step forward,” said Julie Kitka, president of the Alaska Federation of Natives.
“Co-management and cooperative agreements like this are the future. Success with this project will lead to more such collaboration between governments and tribal organizations that understand the local needs of the people as well as the essential need for sustainable wildlife resources in Alaska,” Kitka said.
The agreement follows DOI secretary Sally Jewell’s announcement at the AFN Convention in October of the release of Secretarial Order 3342, which requires Interior Department agencies to include tribes in the management of federal lands and resources.
The Ahtna Cooperative Management Demonstration Project is the first cooperative agreement established nationwide under the DOI Secretarial Order No. 3342. It recognizes that tribes have special geographical, historical, and cultural connections to federal lands and waters, and that tribes have traditional ecological knowledge and practices regarding resource management that have been handed down through generations. It was established for the benefit of healthy ecosystems, wildlife populations, the Ahtna traditional way of life and all those that wish to enjoy the federal lands that lie within Ahtna’s traditional territory.
The Alaska Federation of Natives was formed in October 1966, when more than 400 Alaska Natives representing 17 Native organizations gathered for a three-day conference to address Alaska Native aboriginal land rights. It is now the largest statewide Native organization in Alaska. Its membership includes 152 federally recognized tribes, 152 village corporations, 12 regional corporations and 12 regional non-profit and tribal consortiums that contract and compact to run federal and state programs. AFN is governed by a 38-member Board, which is elected by its membership at the annual convention held each October. The mission of AFN is to enhance and promote the cultural, economic and political voice of the entire Alaska Native community. Learn more at www.nativefederation.org.
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