Dillingham, AK – Today, the United Tribes of Bristol Bay formally endorsed Alaska Senator Mark Begich for reelection to the United States Senate. Senator Begich faces former Attorney General and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, whose short career in Alaska has been dedicated at attempting to overturn Native rights initiatives.
“Mark Begich has a solid record supporting Alaska Native interests,” said Robert Heyano, President of UTBB. “He has a demonstrated commitment to protecting Alaska Native subsistence ways of life in addition to assisting our communities with the myriad issues like economic development, public safety, and tribal self-determination.”
Dan Sullivan’s record stands in stark contrast. As Attorney General, Sullivan argued that the subsistence protections established under Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act should be narrowed to exclude vast stretches of Alaska waters from subsistence fishing. As DNR commissioner, Sullivan attempted to reclassify Bristol Bay lands as solely mineral land, omitting any use for subsistence hunting and fishing. In addition, he brainstormed the now infamous House Bill 77 – a bill granting himself the absolute right to issue permits without public notice or input.
“Mr. Sullivan’s record is filled with one attempt after another to diminish or outright end protections for Alaska Native and American Indian voters,” said Heyano. “On the contrary, Senator Begich has a proven record of accomplishments in advancing Native interests—including opposing the Pebble Mine and the devastating threat it poses to Bristol Bay’s abundant subsistence resources.”