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DILLINGHAM – Thursday, a packet of letters and resolutions from Alaska Native leaders in support of House Bill 199, the Wild Salmon Legacy Act introduced by Rep. Louise Stutes R–Kodiak, was submitted to the Alaska Legislature. The documents, including a statement from the Bristol Bay Native Corporation and support letters or resolutions from ten tribal councils, address the importance of updating state law to protect salmon habitat and asks legislators to pass HB 199. The support letters represent nearly 30,000 Alaska Native citizens.
“The member Tribes of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission support an update to Alaska’s habitat law because salmon are a critical and irreplaceable food source,” said Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, director of the Yukon River Intertribal Fish Commission. “The YRITFC member Tribes want the confidence and assurance that their much-needed rural economic development projects can move forward responsibly and without harming their salmon. They do not want to have to choose salmon over development or vice versa. These habitat updates make it so they won’t have to. They can have both.”
The package of support submitted by Alaska Native entities from across the state highlights the fundamental importance of salmon to Alaska Native people and their social, cultural, economic and spiritual well-being.
“We are grateful to Rep. Edgmon and Rep. Stutes for the leadership they have shown in safeguarding Alaska’s salmon resources,” said Gayla Hoseth, second chief of the Curyung Tribal Council in Dillingham. “We are proud to see the Legislature taking action to make sure that our salmon habitat is protected for future generations.”
The packet includes:
“We have the opportunity to strengthen the state fish habitat permitting law to ensure that future large-scale development projects in Alaska do not compromise the sustainability and health of Alaska’s wild salmon,” reads a resolution included in the packet that was issued by the Tanana Chiefs Conference in March of last year. “The voice of Alaska Native Tribes is powerful and critical to changing the systems that threaten our way of life, and we must act.”
The entire packet can be viewed here.
Stand for Salmon is a diverse group of Alaska-based individuals, businesses, and organizations united in taking immediate steps to ensure that Alaska remains the nation’s salmon state for generations to come. Learn more at www.standforsalmon.org.