LINNELL IS ON RECORD FOR SHARED MANAGEMENT OF GAME: The Alaska Outdoor Council is opposing Gov. Bill Walker’s appointment to the Board of Game. She showed her hand, and she was playing the Native preference card.
Karen Linnell, a life-long resident of the Copper River Basin, and an Alaska Native, was appointed by Walker in 2016. She is a subsistence hunter and fisher, and is a board member of Ahtna, Incorporated. She is also the Executive Director of the Copper River-Ahtna Inter-Tribal Resource Conservation District, and Chair of the Wrangell-St. Elias Subsistence Resource Commission. She has served on the Copper River Basin Fish and Game Advisory Committee for over eight years.
But it’s what she did immediately after her appointment that just didn’t cut it for the Alaska Outdoor Council, says Executive Director Rod Arno.
Three weeks after the announcement about her addition to the Board of Game, Linnell signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior to form a partnership between DOI and the Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission providing a quota of moose for Alaska Native villages in the Ahtna region.
By signing the agreement with the Interior Department, Linnell established a conflict of interest — she is now a signatory to an agreement that allocates a public resource to a specific racial group. At the same time, as a board appointee, she is bound by the Alaska State Constitution to allocate game equally to all Alaskans. (Article VIII Section 3, Common Use).
The Outdoor Council says that on Jan. 13, Linnell, in her role as executive director of the Intertribal Resource Council, stated to the Federal Subsistence Board something that struck fear into the hearts of sportsmen:
“So why we’re here today is to talk a little bit about this MOA and what it can do. And this is going to — could lead to a unified tribal, State, and Federal co-management structure.”
That’s a disqualifier, the Outdoor Council says. State management of the public resources is the Alaska Constitution’s stated value. Co-management is not compatible and Linnell is now on the record in favor of giving up state authority.
This is the same problem that is tripping up Gov. Walker’s choice for Attorney General — an unwillingness to fight for Alaska state sovereignty, but instead to negotiate it away in an out-of-court, behind the scenes settlement with tribes, where the public has no visibility and no input.
As constitutionalists say, Walker is killing the Alaska Constitution with “death by a thousand cuts.”
It’s more like death by a thousand appointments, but the result is the same, said Arno.
More on how you can take action at the Alaska Outdoor Council website.