Friday, March 26, 2010

Standing for Native Hawaiians Strengthens Native Americans

Native Americans must continue to stand side-by-side on the front lines with Native Hawaiians to help pass the Senate version of The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (Akaka Bill). The Native Hawaiians have been fellow sojourners in our indigenous struggles. Their history is not unique to our own. A three fold cord is not easily broken. Native Hawaiians, Native Alaskans and Lower '48 Natives together are a force to be reckoned with if we stay united now and after this bill is passed.

Even though Native Alaskans and Native Americans are indigenous relatives - there are always internal and external forces that try to keep indigenous groups weakened and separated.

An internal example of seperation is a well respected national association that has a policy that doesn't allow indigenously owned Alaska Native corporations to participate on their board. Alaska Natives handle this oversight with grace and dignity, but it needs to change. Opening up their board to the Northern Natives will greatly strengthen the organization.

An external example of forces trying to divide indigenous people was special interest groups portraying the Native 8(a) program as an Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) only loophole. Alaska Natives corporations did not have the ability to have casino's so many, like Chugach Alaska Corporation, participated in the Native 8(a) Program earlier than most tribes. ANCs had to find a way to make money or they would lose their indigenous land. Fortunately many tribes now successfully participate in the 8(a) program and have united with the Native Alaskans to bring the public information to preserve the program.

The main point is that it is important to support our indigenous friends and relatives even if they are not on the continental United States. Thinking Global is thinking strong.

Standing with the Hawaiians, helping them when they need it, embracing them as indigenous relatives, asking them for help when we need it, will exponentially increase our strength and healing. Our indigenous diversity is an asset that must be cultivated.

I have had the great priviledge to live next door to a friend who happens to be Native Hawaiian. I can tell you that we are kindred spirits. Similiarly, on a mass scale, there is no doubt - that the borders of Indian Country will also be enlarged when WE continue to open their hearts to our Native Hawaiian relatives by continued support.

Contact your senator and tell them to support the Akaka Bill.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

United States Representative Don Young Says its Time to Seal the Deal Congress Made Sealaska 39 Years Ago!

At the House Natural Resources Committee hearing today, the United States Representative Don Young, with both passion and conviction, reminded the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that the Native-owned Sealaska corporation is entitled to their land promised to them in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) by the United States Congress 39 YEARS AGO! The Tongass Forest is the land of Sealaska's forefathers. It is a perfect selection for this Native entity.

Young valiantly challenged BLM to support Sealaska and cut the red tape. He underscored this with the fact that the United States of America has been through seven Presidents and seven Secretaries of the Interior since this legislation was enacted.

Representative Young did not speak to BLM out of something he researched and then "cut and pasted" into a speech for the hearing. He did not need anyone to prepare talking points for him. Young has lived with and witnessed the intense struggle of the Native Americans indigenous to Alaska. Watching Young valiantly stand-up for what Congress promised the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian Indians of Sealaska 39 Years ago reminded many proud Alaskans of why they elected him.

Like a lot of past and present citizens in Southeast Alaska, many of Sealaska executives and directors, hunt and fish on Sealaska land. They are not going to turn it into Mars as the XYZ Society would have you believe. They love the land. It is their life blood. Sealaska is not a cold hard corporation. Because Sealaska is a conscientious Native corporation there is almost a biological element to the corporation that brings balance not just to the books - but to the land. Support S. 881 and H.R. 2099.

As a society it is time evolve. As a society it is time to grow up. As a society it is time to honor our promises to Native Americans. Sealaska has a right to fulfill their land settlement that was agreed upon and promised to them 39 years ago. It doesn't matter if elite special interest groups like it or not. When a deal is made, a deal should be honored by an honorable country. As a person of honor, as a society of honor -- it is time to seal the deal for Sealaska!

Brenda Dukart

Watch Representative Young's admonishment to BLM at the hearing.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Sealaska is Tongess Land Caretaker of Choice"

Sealaska, the indigenous caretakers - of THEIR indigenous land, have over well over 20,000 Native shareholders who provide a checks and balance for the corporation. Native American's do not want their land to be taken care of in a harmful manner. It is their lifeblood. Sealaska is made up of these indigenous caretakers and they will look out for their own land better than the Wilderness Society could.

Have you ever asked Sealaska if they planted any new healthy trees? Trees Sealaska had begun replanting in 1982 grew to fifty feet tall and eight inches thick, and about 150,000 seedlings would be planted on 1,000 acres in the following year.

Sealaska does not hatchet the Circle of Life - they help complete it. Trees left to disease or beetle infestation are targets for great uncontrollable forest fires. Responsible land management is expected for Sealaska and they live up to their responsibility.

The Forest Services says, "Forest management can be consistent with wildlife objectives. There are especially bright prospects for partial cutting on the Tongass. Managing for a mosaic of forest patches has been suggested for deer in southeast Alaska. In addition, recent work suggests that certain types of partial cutting conserves deer habitat and old-growth structure, while maintaining the health of the forest."

Lets understand Sealaska's natural green disposition before jumping to conclusions. Sealaska is looking out for the generations of the future and so you can trust they will manage their land with that in mind. As stated, the land is the life blood of Sealaska's people: the Tlingit, Haida and Tshimshian' Sierra Club you should sleep like a baby tonight.