I urge Governor Walker to immediately drop the State’s appeal in Akiachak Native Community v. Department of the Interior. As I’ve recently read and agree with, “Tribal land is at the core of our Native cultures. It is the basis of our way of life, and our livelihood.
Strengthening Tribal lands strengthens the future of all Alaskans. Tribal lands provide access to billions of dollars of Federal grant monies. Strengthening Tribal lands will promote economic development in rural Alaska. Tribal enterprises on Tribal lands bring millions of dollars into State treasuries in the Lower 48. Tribal self-determination over public safety – through for example Tribal courts – can save the State money by reducing costly Trooper visits, and prevent violence.” It is critical that local issues be handled by the closest local governing entity as possible, to include tribal entities. The answers for local issues – whatever the issue is – and best governance for a community comes from local control and/or governance.
Governor Walker, you pledged to begin tribal relations with a dialog – over a cup of coffee. I remember your welcomed pledge so clearly, and I urge you to do just that.
We need good working relationships with Alaska’s Tribes so bridges can be built, baseless fears eradicated, and provide help for each other in a time of great need. Open the doors to a new era for the benefit of all Alaskans. After all, doing what has been done over and over in the past is, well, a little crazy.
My opinion is not from a legal perspective, but based on experience. My long career with the State of Alaska gave me a front row seat to witness the baseless fears of which I speak. These fears are on the State side, not the Alaska Native side.
And, as former Director of DCRA, the state division which houses the Land Trustee administration, I can tell you the state needs to get out of the Land Trustee business. A new mechanism is in order, and it can be resolved with good dialog.
So again, Governor Walker, I implore you, drop Alaska’s appeal in this case.
Submitted with the greatest respect.
See: Alaska Dispatch