Selective consultation: Kaktovik says tribe never heard from Biden Admin. - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, May 14, 2021
HomePoliticsSelective consultation: Kaktovik says tribe never heard from Biden Admin.

Selective consultation: Kaktovik says tribe never heard from Biden Admin.

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The only federally recognized tribe in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge issued harsh words in response to the recent announcement from President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding oil and gas development in the Arctic.

The village of Kaktovik, which has a strong subsistence culture, is unhappy with President Biden. The village wants responsible oil drilling in ANWR and believes it should have been consulted before the president issued a joint statement with Canada.

Last week, Biden and Trudeau said they would work together to ‘safeguard the Porcupine caribou herd calving grounds,’ citing the governments’ prior lack of consultation with the region’s indigenous tribe. The two men were referring to the Gwich’in, which are not in the region where the drilling would take place, but do depend on caribou.

“Alaska Native tribes are sovereign governments recognized under the Constitution of the United States of America. Any federal actions that potentially impact our rights as promised under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act are to be done in concert with the tribal government potentially affected,” Kaktovik stated today.

“The Native Village of Kaktovik will always support the protection of our subsistence resources, but making decisions without tribal consultation often results in unintended consequences for indigenous people,” the village said in its press release.

“People live in ANWR too. The Iñupiat of Kaktovik have been here for as long as the caribou, but nobody is issuing statements promising to protect our sovereign rights. The government isn’t fighting to give us a voice about what can and cannot happen on our lands,” said Eddie Rexford, Sr., president of Native Village of Kaktovik. 

“Tribal consultation isn’t a favor to indigenous people, it’s required by law. There was absolutely no attempt to communicate or work with the tribe,” Rexford said.

Kaktovik also is unhappy with the Biden Administration for suddenly halting oil exploration in ANWR this winter. The Department of Interior said that the Kaktovik Inupiat Corp missed a Feb. 13 deadline to catalog polar bear dens that would need protection in the area.

Kaktovik Inupiat Corp. released a letter from federal officials, which contradicted the federal government story and showed that the Department of Interior ran the clock out on the deadline, rather than the corporation.


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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Remember that the next election. Don’t think Lisa Murkowski or the Democrats care about you! When Democrats try and take our guns, that includes what you hunt with. Research the bills they have already submitted, don’t take my word for it.

    • Years back a guy on Kodiak Island was attacked by a griz. He had a bolt-action rifle and managed to get only one shot off. Killed the bear, which lived long enough to maul him to death.
      A reliable military style auto-loader gives one that little margin of safety in the bush.

  • “The Native Village of Kaktovik will always support the protection of our subsistence resources, but making decisions without tribal consultation often results in unintended consequences for indigenous people,” the village said in its press release.

    “People live in ANWR too. The Iñupiat of Kaktovik have been here for as long as the caribou, but nobody is issuing statements promising to protect our sovereign rights. The government isn’t fighting to give us a voice about what can and cannot happen on our lands,” said Eddie Rexford, Sr., president of Native Village of Kaktovik.

    “Tribal consultation isn’t a favor to indigenous people, it’s required by law. There was absolutely no attempt to communicate or work with the tribe,” Rexford said. Therefore Biden Broke the law. Now TAKE HIM TO THE SUPREME COURT AND SORT OUT THIS MESS. Make him obey. He is not a king or a Dictator.

    • Except caribou have existed since before there were humans on the Earth. There are caribou fossils from North America that are 1.3 to 1.8 million years old. It’s now thought that humans may have lived in the North American Arctic for as long as 30,000 years. Caribpu predate humans by over 1 million years.

    • John J Kiernan. I would dispute your statement that the Inupiat of Kaktovik have been in the Arctic as long as the caribou. Science, Paleontology and Archaeology tell us differently. Caribou fossils have been found on the North American Arctic that are 1.3 to 1.8 million years old. Humans (at the most) have been in the North American Arctic for 30,000 years. Caribou were here for more than a million years before humans arrived. In fact, caribou have been on this Earth longer than humans.

      • The point is that the Federal Government has a legal obligation to consult with the Indigenous Federally-Recognized Tribe of Kaktovik.

        The other point is the Biden Administration used a polar bear den survey as their excuse to stop exploration.

        Animals are migratory and adaptable beings. They walk on the pipeline roads and shade themselves next to buildings.

        Animals are not stupid.

        However-most of the talking heads choose to stay ignorant of facts. I would bet 98% of the talking heads likely never seen a caribou in its natural habitat. Or an Inupiat person in their home village/community.

        To be even more dispicable, the Biden Administration consults, negotiates, and brokers a deal with a foreign country instead of even consulting with the American Tribe.

        Not only is Biden and Trudeau targeting domestic energy – but they are also creating an “Arctic Governance”.

        That is an Alaskan issue to be at the table before instead of trying to fix after the “Arctic Government” is institutionalized.

        • Trudy, good point that the reality is Biden (well, we actually know it’s not him directly for reasons that should not be mentioned), has indeed brokered “a deal with a foreign country” that affects an American tribe BEFORE even checking with that same American tribe.
          Once again, the typical “left” mantra that they care for the minority and downtrodden is only a noble catchphrase and rarely an action they follow up with. And often, it is just the opposite, as seen here.

        • Arctic Governance is one of the most vital current issues. It will affect Alaska in so many ways.

      • They rode Alaska like a surfboard, all the way from Pangea.
        Ahahahahahaha!

        • Except, Pangea started to break apart about 135 million years ago.

        • If the environmental activists had been there, the breakup of Pangea could have been fixed. They have the solutions to every one of earth’s problems.

  • Biden doesn’t even know where he is at any given time. The left thinks we are stupid enough to believe he can negotiate an agreement between two major countries (U.S. and Canada) and preserve the rights, ideals and ideas of an indigenous North American people who, in treaty with America and Canada, are entitled to equal rights and sovereignty over their ‘country’, including ancestral rights, and are completely equal to any others.
    How is that leftist gov’t working out so far? Only a few hundred thousand jobs lost/thrown away in a few weeks and more in jeopardy. From secure borders to no borders. Indigenous peoples being ignored to promote not them, but all the ‘Daddy Big Bucks’ wanting in on the Arctic oil bonanza. The leftist agenda in action. Don’t believe it? Open your eyes and ears.

  • Biden administration is EVIL to the core. They could care less about you or your caribou, Their only objective is controlling every move we make. Alaska has not begun to feel the pain from these rotten sobs.

  • Native rights and consolidation only applies when it agrees with what the Democrats want not the natives. Watch to see if the US or Canada even reply to Katoviks comments. You really think they care?

  • The Biden administration doesn’t care about the First Peoples of Alaska. The Biden administration only cares about their ideology. The Biden administration is violating the Native Claims Act and the Alaska Statehood Act. They are lawless.

  • Week by week, more and more natives will realize they have been made fools and tools of by the Democrats. Yet it is harder to convince people that they have been fooled than to fool them. Encourage your native friends to look honestly at what is going on and what their votes get them every year.
    Even Biden is a tool being used by folks looking to gain control of our lives. And week by week, a few more Democrats are realizing they will look foolish to continually support an emperor who, gasp, has no clothes.

  • Although “rights” should apply to everyone, this administration has proven that “rights” and protections only apply to the groups they select.

  • People of Kaktovik and basically all of the land holding people of the North Slope, you should have listened more closely to Joe Biden while he was running for president. Did you vote for Biden/Harris team? He told the whole nation time and time again that he was going to shut down the oil business on federal lands. Your desire to develop oil and natural gas responsively on your lands will not happen with an administration that is moving swiftly to the Green New Deal. Oil exploration and oil development jobs in the Arctic are going away and will not return as long as there is a Democrat in the White House. Better find those polar bear dens.

  • You mean Gibberish Joe the Illegitimate lied? Again?

  • If candidates were serious about the Native American vote, they would court Natives in Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, Wisconsin, and New York Those five states have a high enough percentage of Native voters to swing some elections.
    The majority of Natives in America are urban, and easy to reach by conventional methods. The Dems included Native outreach in their campaigns. The GOP said “No dogs or Indians allowed”.
    This racism played a significant part in Biden getting elected … not just because of losing the Native vote, but in losing too many of the other minorities votes.
    No dogs or Indians … no dogs or blacks … no dogs or them others allowed. It’s a self-inflicted wound.
    I’ve tried to shop in some stores in Anchorage where a sales person did all they could to drive my business away. I was clean, dressed well, and had a credit card.
    I’ve never been back to those stores … one of which went out of business a couple years ago.

    • While in the military a prominent Anchorage based business treated me the same and, like you, I have refused to patronize their stores for over 30 years now. It has been democrats who are the most biased, the most divisive and the most pandering, but there is a difference between inclusive and pandering. We will either all decide to be in this together and work together to accomplish great things or we will allow politicians to continue to divide us by race, religion and any other difference. But I still won’t shop in that store.

      • Back in the 80’s I, and a friend, who is also Native, were barhopping on Front street, in Fairbanks.
        We ran out of bars, so I said “There’s a bar across the street, under that hotel.”
        My friend said that they didn’t serve Natives there. I said “S**** that”, and we went in and sat at the bar.
        The bartender walked past us 3 or 5 times without even looking at us. Finally he stops, looks at us, and say’s that they don’t serve Natives.
        My friend said that it was ok and ordered a double J*w with a W*p back.
        The bartender said that was funny and gave us each one on the house, then we had to go.

        • I applaud your sense of humor. We are all humans and need to treat each other with proper respect.

        • I’m half Alaskan Native, and I had been legally stolen and adopted out by the Catholic Church.
          My dad’s family in southern Oregon were white supremacists and my mom’s on the Siletz reservation were Oregon and California Indians. Several of my cousins on her side were in the AIM.
          I got the best and worst of both worlds … and a sense of humor was my best defense.

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