As Alaskans gather for the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention to share stories and opinions, Ballot Measure 1 is a large part of the conversation. With less than a month until the election, tribal support for the initiative is surging among Alaska Native organizations statewide, with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and Norton Bay Intertribal Watershed Council joining regional powerhouses Tanana Chiefs Conference and Bristol Bay Native Association in speaking out in favor of the measure. There is now support from nearly 100 tribal governments represented by some of the largest tribal consortiums in the state.
“Protecting our land, our water and our legacy of salmon for our children and grandchildren is at the core of who we are as Alaska Natives,” said Gayla Hoseth, Ballot Measure 1 sponsor and Second Chief of the Curyung Tribal Council. “Ballot Measure 1 is bringing together an unprecedented movement of everyday Alaskans who want clear rules for development in salmon habitat, and who want to finally give Alaska Natives a voice to protect our way of life.”
In a resolution passed last year supporting the Board of Fish recommendations to update state law governing development in salmon habitat, Tanana Chiefs Conference, which represents 42 Yukon River tribes, stated that “Alaska Native Tribes depend upon salmon as a fundamental part of our social, cultural, economic, and spiritual wellbeing.”
“Tanana Chiefs Conference has made it a priority to protect our hunting and fishing resources for our people,” it continued. “The voice of Alaska Native Tribes is powerful and critical to changing the systems that threaten our way of life, and we must act.”
Events during AFN will give attendees an opportunity to learn more about wild Alaska salmon and Ballot Measure 1. They include:
“It’s time to make the protection of salmon and salmon habitat a priority,” said Peter Evon, Executive Director of the Bethel Orutsararmiut Native Council. “Taking action now to protect our salmon is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children, and it is our responsibility to not let them down.”
Yes for Salmon is a diverse group of Alaska-based individuals, businesses and organizations dedicated to passing a ballot initiative that updates Alaska’s law governing development in salmon habitat. For more information, visit www.yesforsalmon.org.
A full list of tribal entities and multi-tribe coalitions supporting Ballot Measure 1: