Subsistence Updates

For the latest updates on US v. Alaska, please click here.

It has been 42 years since the basic ANILCA Title 8 Rural Subsistence Priority was put into federal law. Many changes have occurred in implementation and there is a whole body of federal and state law from litigation - some changes greatly protected our rights. Some just held the line from repeal. As the next generation of Native leaders looks at the current challenges we face, understanding the federal and state laws is the foundation to build on. If we do not understand the laws and the process of changing laws, our Native voice is easily marginalized. Our goal is to strengthen the Native voice around the critical needs in our community, which differs region by region. What is important in one region may not be a priority in another. The shortage of fish in our communities is a widespread concern. The warming of the waters due to changing climate and the movement of fish stocks is another widespread concern. Competition and possible conflict over fish is real.  And the situation is changing rapidly.

The opportunity in the Biden Administration is their willingness to listen to our concerns. What the Administration is willing to do, is not known. We see signs that they are willing to create structures to involve our tribes in greater advisory roles using Presidential Executive Orders. An example is the reinstatement of the Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area from the Kuskokwim Bay to the southern border of the Chukchi Sea. It incorporates indigenous knowledge and includes an intergovernmental tribal advisory council. This was done on the first day in office of President Biden and builds on the revoked Obama Executive Order done in the last days he was in office.

Knowing the laws and designing new types of opportunities to advance Native subsistence rights is critical right now. Presidential Executive Orders, Secretarial Executive Orders, regulation changes, or law changes are all possibilities.

Please join us by registering to attend a workshop below or contributing to the Subsistence Action Fund.

Subsistence Workshop Series

WORKSHOP 1 >> Overview of Alaska’s Subsistence Framework
May 5, 2022

This workshop was a complete review of Alaska’s subsistence framework, including laws impacting Native subsistence rights such as ANCSA, ANILCA, and MMPA.

Access text and audio transcripts of the session here.

Download a PDF of the slides Tyson Kade, Partner at Van Ness Feldman LLP presented here.

WORKSHOP 2 >> Native Participation in Subsistence Decision-Making
May 12, 2022

Our second workshop explored avenues of Native participation among the Federal Subsistence Board, Alaska State Legislature, State of Alaska Boards of Game & Fisheries, and significant court challenges.

Access text and audio transcripts of the session here.

Download a PDF of the slides Anna C. Crary of Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP presented here.

WORKSHOP 3 >> Options and Considerations for more Comprehensive Alaska Native Subsistence Rights and Use 
May 19, 10:00 am to Noon

This workshop focused on concrete options and action steps to advance AFN’s subsistence-related objectives.

Access text and audio transcripts of the session here.

Download a PDF of the slides Melinda L. Meade Meyers of Van Ness Feldman LLP presented here.

Background: The AFN Board of Directors, at its February 2022 meeting, passed the 2022 Subsistence Action Plan. The 2022 Subsistence Plan recognizes significant opportunities with the Biden Administration to expand our hunting and fishing rights. More modern views of social equity favor reconciliation with past wrongs and acknowledgment that some settlements were based on then-favored racial and political equality and diversity theories. Taking full advantage of the opportunities within the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress, AFN’s top subsistence priority is to pursue actions to obtain far more complete and comprehensive protection of rights to hunting, fishing, and gathering for Alaska Natives than exist under current law. 

AFN invites our members to participate in these upcoming workshops to learn how to get more involved in our Subsistence framework. Each series will be recorded for educational purposes for our membership.