AFN, corps., other groups do not speak for all Natives

Posted: Monday, October 11, 2010

I would like to make it clear that the Alaska Federation of Natives, the regional corporations, and other Native organizations do not speak for all Alaska Natives especially when engaged in political endorsements.

Recently, AFN stated that the Board of Directors voted to endorse a candidate for the office of U.S. Senate. The Bristol Bay Native Corp. also recently endorsed a political candidate for the U.S. Senate.

If anything, those endorsements divide the Alaskan Native community since many of us do not do not accept any organization's right to speak for all of us Natives regarding political endorsements.

There is a great schism between the leadership of AFN and many of our regional organizations and tribal governments of rural and remote Alaska. Many of us do not think that AFN and our regional organizations aggressively address the issues of great importance to our people in our villages. I am certain the AFN leadership did not poll our villages to see if they approve of any endorsement for public office.

The same practice is happening with regional Native corporations as well. This practice has to stop. Some Native leaders seem to think they know what is best for us. Well, they don't and cannot think they should engage in endorsing candidates all Natives cannot possibly all agree upon.

The general public should understand that Native statewide and regional organization leadership does not speak for all Natives and that we will vote however we want regardless of what AFN decides at the upcoming convention in Fairbanks.

Nels Anderson Jr.


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