As it seeks to focus its political priorities for 2012, the Alaska Federation of Natives released 43 draft resolutions on Thursday. The resolutions cover a diverse range of concerns related to subsistence hunting and fishing, health and safety, land and economics favored by the AFN board of directors.
In the mix is a call for a constitutional amendment, submitted by the AFN board of directors, aimed at restoring Native tribal and subsistence rights as well as better representation in the legislature.
The resolution summarizes the need for a constitutional amendment: "The failure to recognize the cultural and linguistic diversity of Alaska Native populations; the failure to recognize the subsistence rights and priorities of Alaska Natives; the failure to recognize the tribal rights and sovereignty of Alaska Native tribes; and the failure to provide for equitable representations of Natives and rural legislators undermines the rights of Alaska Natives to maintain their language, culture, subsistence way life, tribal rights and sovereignty, and full and equitable representation of Alaska Natives in the Alaska Legislature."
The AFN board is urging its members and the public to vote in the November election on a ballot measure allowing a constitutional convention. If the ballot measures fails, the AFN board will call upon the Alaska Legislature to take on the issue by approving a constitutional amendment.
Several other resolutions handed up from committees also deal with subsistence and harvest issues:
• Minimizing overzealous law enforcement of the marine mammal protection act;
• Crafing an exemption from the prohibition on the sale or purchase of migratory bird parts for Alaska Native handicrafts;
• Allowing for online moose harvest reporting;
• Convening a congressional oversight hearing on self-determination, including Alaska Native hunting and fishing rights;
• Reduction of salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and the Russian economic zone;
• Exempting elders 65 years and above from subsistence restrictions and closures; and
• Creating inter-tribal and Alaska Native Fish commissions.
Convention action on the resolutions takes place Saturday, the last day of AFN.