Biden Administration to require head of federal subsistence board to be Alaska Native

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It’s the latest iteration of blood-quantum laws, as understood by the Biden Administration. The Departments of the Interior and Agriculture this week announced a proposal to add a quota minimum for Alaska tribal representation on the Federal Subsistence Board, the body that manages subsistence use on federal lands and waters in Alaska.

The departments propose adding three additional public members to the board who will be nominated by federally recognized tribal governments in Alaska.

The three additional members will be required to have personal knowledge of and direct experience with subsistence uses in rural Alaska, including Alaska Native subsistence uses, and will be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with the concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture.

In addition, the chair of the board will be required to have personal knowledge of and experience with rural subsistence uses. In other words, these positions have Native blood quantum requirements.

“For thousands of years, subsistence practices have been immensely important for Alaska Native communities, and remain deeply intertwined with their lifeways, food security, and cultures,” the departments said in a news release.

The Federal Subsistence Management Program is jointly managed by both departments and is overseen by the Federal Subsistence Board, which administers the subsistence priority and manages regulations for the use of fish and wildlife resources for subsistence purposes on federal public lands and waters in Alaska. The board is currently made up of five members from federal agencies and three public members.

“Since time immemorial, subsistence practices have played a central role in meeting the nutritional, social, economic, spiritual and cultural needs of Alaska Native people,” said Secretary Deb Haaland, who discussed the proposal in remarks at the National Congress of American Indians Executive Council Winter Session this week.

“By strengthening indigenous representation on the Federal Subsistence Board, we seek to not only preserve these important traditions, but to fully recognize tribal sovereignty and ensure the inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge for future subsistence-related planning. When indigenous communities are at the table, everyone who enjoys a subsistence lifestyle has more opportunities to thrive,”  she said. 

“Incorporating indigenous knowledge that has been gained over millennium into our Federal Subsistence decision-making is an important step in that effort,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Strengthening nation-to-nation relationships is a priority of the Biden-Harris administration. The proposed changes to the board are described as reflecting the “meaningful role Tribal consultation holds and the Administration’s commitment to speaking with and listening to Tribal leaders when making decisions that impact their communities.” 

Comments compiled from these listening sessions with Native groups in 2022 are in the Federal Subsistence Policy Consultation Summary Reportwhich describe the adverse impacts that a changing climate is having on Alaska Native subsistence practices and Alaska Native and rural communities; the desire to expand tribal partnerships and the incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge into subsistence management; and the desire for greater tribal representation within the federal subsistence management system. 

“Tribes and Tribal consortia also requested that the chair of the FSB be required to possess personal knowledge and experience with subsistence uses in rural Alaska to ensure that they understand the scope and impact that the board’s decisions have on all subsistence users. This enhanced input and perspective will safeguard subsistence opportunities for all federally qualified subsistence users,” the departments said.

However, whoever is the chair will have some tribal ties that could lead to a conflict of interest, an unintended consequence not imagined by the administration.

The proposal may be met with some skepticism from the general hunting and fishing community that is not part of a tribe. The Federal Register will open soon for people to provide comments. Tribal leaders will get a separate notice sent to them to urge them to comment, the departments said.

27 COMMENTS

    • Natives were here first and depended upon subsistence thousands of years ago and is a good choice for subsistence board head, better than a safari club trophy hunter who kills for sport.
      I have been reading your posts and you know pal, you may have a problem.

      • And I have been reading YOUR posts here 3rd, and you know, you DO have a problem. And that problem is refusing to think for yourself, and blindly trusting corrupt authority.

      • Oh please, show me the native villagers, who truly subsists like they did “thousands of years ago”. You can not and therefor forfeit any moral ground to stand on. Modern hunting much like your maligned trophy hunter rules the day.
        As to your claim of “they were here first” can you proof that? So what? You read ANY history at all? It is full of fights, occupation of territory and creation of new countries…..
        This clearly is an effort to pit not only non-natives, but natives of varying tribes against one another and lays the groundwork to appoint “climate change activists” to skew the vote in favor of their agenda.

      • 3 rd generation-

        We are all natives of this earth.
        Your view is myopic.

        Biden’s request is racist anti American as it gets and sows division. Repulsive to an honorable man .

        My family has been in Alaska more than 4 generations.

        We live in Alaska as a brotherhood.
        Every one of us migrated from somewhere else.
        Oddly the land you stand on has mixed many times with the core of the earth.
        The position of this continent changes at all times and mixes with the molecular structure of all other dirt on earth.
        We share the same air .

        Your- my parents were here first is preschool logic.

        The truth is we are all here NOW !

        Dispel racism and embrace your brothers and treat them as equals.

  1. This is forthright racism. A time will come when, thanks to Obama and Biden policies and dictates, Alaskans will become bold enough to discontinue being sensitive to the woke components of the current social requirements that touch on race. We need to throw off the blinders, stop being politically correct, and begin demanding that we, our children and grandchildren look back to the generation that won WWII for advice on social policies.

    • Yes, you great white saviors should be recognized for wonderful insight on how to destroy the traditional way of life! As long as you can make money off of it to hell with allowing people to harvest food for themselves.

  2. Shame they could not just seek the most qualified individual for the position.
    .
    Reminder to all. The opposite of racism is not anti-racism, affirmative action, or racial quotas. The opposite of racism is apathy.

    • Rifles, binoculars, glasses, radios, gasoline, electricity, batteries, generators, steel, plastic, flight, ballistics, ad infinitum…..

  3. How about if an Alaska Native leader.is on one board already or an elected official, they not be allowed to serve in a federal advisory board. What I hear and see in this is discrimination towards other alaska native people the native leaders don’t support. It’s going to exclude opportunities for indigenous people not accepted in the sp called native leaders group. No one even makes them provide data for opioid prescribing. They’re gerrymandering our lives to fit their politics. This is why we need to have our elections certified by someone of other than a Cook inlet region inc voter tabulation that guarantees rick solid shareholder management. We’re being herded by pigs into pens by these people. Cattle have better regulatory oversight. It’s meant to exclude opportunities for those natives like me that survived extremely horrendous life altering medical errors and assaults by their leadership.

  4. I am sure they are already hunting for a puppet, like Mary Peltola that will do and say what they deem fit.
    As an Alaskan Native, I feel that the best person should get the job…regardless of ethnicity. Providing the applicant be one of only two genders to choose from, biologically.

  5. Remember MRAK’s article about Tribes saying White persons should not have Subsistence use. An All Alaska Native subsistence board gets those tribes mentioned a step closer to barring White villagers living among their majority Native villagers. Who will advocate for the White villagers when they are a minority in their region.

  6. Even Molly of Denali PBS shows as shown her little make-belief town Qyah, AK has one white man villager who would subsist as Molly’s family and Native neighbors do.

  7. This reporting is innacurate. There is no blood quantum requirement for the Board public members. They just have to be rural subsistence users. However, the requirement to have board members nominated by tribal entities is in direct conflict with Title VIII of ANILCA and I think a successful legal challenge to this aspect of the proposed rule could be mounted.

  8. “Tribal leaders will get a separate notice sent to them to urge them to comment, the departments said”. – With one of those nice, shiney Treasury Checks?
    Just remember to smudge some sage before each board meeting to purify the room.

  9. Sure, because non-Natives have never lived as subsistence hunters. Except, that they do. Except that part.

    • Nearly all subsistence activity I’ve observed in my career in
      the villages centered around taking their Questcards to the ACC Store.

      And their dividends to the bootleggers.

  10. So when will Alaska stand up and demand to be treated as a state instead of a Territory?

    Alaska “statehood” is a sham.

  11. This could be a gift from Dementia Hitler, as it confirms that the rural preference built into ANILCA is indeed a racial preference that requires a race-based solution to administer. Sounds like a vehicle to challenge the preference in court via the regime’s action and to ignore it in practice. Force the feds to take Alaska to court to enforce it. Cheers –

  12. I do hope each individual reading this article makes the time to comment on this proposal in the Federal Register. This aggressive racial discrimination is not the direction our state needs to go. Rural Alaskans have been doing great getting along, helping each other, backing each other. This rule will divide our State. Please don’t let that happen. Add three new rural representatives, but please advocate to remove the racial component.

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