Issue won't go away

Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Subsistence has been mentioned since the first Legislature convened. Where has it gone, where is it going? Is it such a bear of an issue that it is in hibernation at all times? Is it a threat to let the indigenous people have the privilege that they have had for the last 10,000 years in Alaska? Maybe we should pay them off as we pay off other user groups of the natural resources. As an example, the Glacier Bay compensation program various permit holders have received compensation in thousand of dollars from the federal government. I would liken it to the Alaska Native Claims Act of 1971. We as shareholders were to receive compensation for all our fishing rights and hunting. It has been nowhere near the compensation that was paid to a single species permit holder in Glacier Bay. There is something wrong with this picture.

After 30 years of the original contract Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act we still have not received our compensation, we could call it a breech of contract with the original intent not fulfilling the social and economic needs of the indigenous people it was intended to benefit. We as users of all species in the ocean and the land to have survived for the last 10,000 years is not an easy thing to settle. The subsistence issue is not something that is going to go away nor will the users who depend on it. I would like to hear a clear message from the new session and the new governor on this issue. Or will it be a subject forever unsettled in the books of history of the state? By the way, you had better grant subsistence rights to most of the shareholders of the Native corporations for this might keep them from starving .

Tim Ackerman


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