Options and Considerations for more Comprehensive Alaska Native Subsistence Rights and Use
5:30PM May 19, 2022
Good morning, everyone and welcome to our first or third eighth and subsistence workshop. We're happy to have you here with us. We're gonna get started here in about one minute. I'd also like to thank our team that's with us here today Rosita world Rick Agnew Skye Starkey and new van Jack and on a query and Tyson Caden, Belinda. We're going to get started here with a quick recap of some of our first and second workshop, as well as Ken going into some of the AFM options and also you know, options for subsistence. Um, with that said, This workshop is going to recorded so if you lost something or had to step out for a second or want to rewatch it or don't you know, we will have that up, hopefully within 24 hours, as well as the transcription and the presentations. Also workshops one and two are also online as well so we ask that you please feel free to share those with your organization's if you have no or as well, so thank you. But with that said, we're gonna have workshops, a quick overview of workshops one and two. And we head off to is it Tyson or Melinda Melinda?
Hi, Thanks, Ben. Yep, it's gonna be me today. So bear with me a moment while I figure out how to share my screen with you all. Okay, how is that?
That's good thinking.
Okay, great. Well, thank you for joining us everyone for the third and final of AFN subsistence action workshops. My name is Mindy Meyers and I'm an attorney at Vanness Feldman. A significant part of my practice here. And perhaps my favorite part is assisting Alaskan Native organizations with access issues, including those for subsistence purposes, back in my home state of Alaska. So we're going to be doing something a little bit different today for this final workshop. So I want to give you a quick roadmap of where we're going. Back in workshop one. We looked at an overview of Alaska subsistence framework. My colleague Tyson kata presented a complete overview of Alaska subsistence framework, including several of the significant federal laws impacting Alaska Native subsistence rights. In workshop two we looked at an overview of Alaska Native participation in subsistence decision making. And Anna query from Landy Bennett Blumstein explored the various state and federal processes used by Alaska natives to participate in subsistence hunting and fishing. And she gave us an overview of some of the most significant cases impacting subsistence rights and uses. And as a reminder, if you've missed those workshops, they're now available for viewing on AFN subsistence action workshops website the link to which we have here and I'm sure will post in the chat so in this third and final workshop of this series, we are going to be evaluating a few concrete options and action steps that could be utilized by AFN to advance your objectives to achieve more comprehensive subsistence rights and uses for Alaska Native peoples. So as you'll see, these options range from broad to very narrowly focused and they vary significantly in terms of their feasibility. Not any one of these options alone is going to solve every single subsistence difficulty in Alaska. But looking at such a wide range is going to present a variety of potential solutions that will advance us towards the ultimate objective of achieving improved subsistence rights in the state. So to inform today's discussion, we can be the panel of experts on Alaska subsistence legal and political issues, and these panelists are going to help us think through some of the benefits, drawbacks and potential likelihood of success for these options. And we've got a few colleagues and friends here who are going to offer some critical historical perspective to help frame these options as well. So we're anticipating a lively discussion. Hopefully you'll find it to be engaging and we want to make sure that we are holding time at the end to take your questions. So you all can engage directly with the panelists as well. So before we can get into our discussion, we need to take a quick step back and do a review of how we arrived at this current structure of dual federal and state management in Alaska and be covered because we covered this in such great detail and the other two workshops. I'm going to keep this very high level. But in 1971, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act extinguished any aboriginal title and hunting and fishing rights in Alaska. So the engso statute itself does not contain any explicit protection of subsistence rights. But it's clear from the Congressional Record that Congress expected that the federal government and the state would step in to protect the subsistence needs of the Alaska people. So nine years later with the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act nilka. We see the current subsistence management regime on public lands in Alaska, and this protects subsistence uses on federal lands for rural residents, but it does not specifically address the rights of Alaskan Native people. I know that provided that the state could manage subsistence uses on federal lands if it adopted a rural preference on non federal lands. So the state did for a brief time, operate under this regime. But as Anna explained last week, in 1989, the Alaska State Supreme Court determined that the statute that granted that preference to row residents to take fishing game for subsistence violated the Alaska constitution and struck it down. So following that McDowell case, the state fell out of compliance with the nilka and lost regulatory authority over federal lands.
So where does that leave us? Federal priority from Anelka title eight for rural residents applied on federal lands, non federal lands, including Alaska Native Corporation on lands and tribally owned lands are subject to the state subsistence laws, which applies to all Alaska residents. So that sets up this dual management structure and then further complicating the structure. Other federal statutes have subsistence implications. So we talked through these in great detail in workshop one so you know, I'm not going to go into detail here but Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act Migratory Bird Treaty Act, whaling convention act and others. So as we've been discussing for the past several weeks, this has resulted in a series of challenges for Alaska Native people attempting to utilize subsistence resources. There's the lack of priority for Alaska Native subsistence use federal management priorities based on rural residency. State Management reflects interests of urban residents and it's all Alaskan policy and neither the federal nor state regime prioritizes subsistence use by Alaskan Native peoples. There are also multiple species and multiple management frameworks. And we discussed these in in significant detail in the first workshop. But as you all know, there is a extremely complex interplay between jurisdictions, agencies, and forums and different entities regarding species management in Alaska. And all of these different forums allow for varying roles and levels of participation in subsistence management for Alaska Native people and often there are significant obstacles to informed participation in these processes. This is compounded by different management approaches and values. We see it with, you know, state and federal approaches that target species specific management well traditional approaches adopt a more holistic management style. There's no consistent framework for CO management of resources approaches differ by statute, agency and species. And finally the state is continually trying to undercut federal authority for subsistence management. So in light of all these issues, today, we're going to finally consider what can be done to achieve some meaningful subsistent management reform to make this system function better for the Alaska Native people. So I'm going to go through a very high level overview of some of the options that we're going to be discussing with our panelists shortly. But before we get into those options, I want to offer a few caveats and disclaimers. These options presented today do not contemplate or present the entire universe of issues that would need consideration for any of these options to be implemented. We're just presenting them as potential courses of action to set up a framework for discussion. And as I mentioned earlier, these options vary significantly in terms of their feasibility. Some would be pretty heavy lifts and many would bring about substantial political implications and challenges. And not every one option is going to solve every subsistence difficulty in Alaska. As you know, these are multifaceted challenges and unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that will address every single one. But considering the range will give us, you know, a range of solutions as well. And we also don't want to over or under emphasize the role of litigation here but we we do want to point out that litigation is always an option that's in the background as we as we go through these options. I hope that in our panel discussion, we're gonna get into some of the litigation that has meaningfully moved the ball forward in terms of subsistence rights in Alaska. And finally, we just want to be clear that we are not advocating for any one option in particular, we're only presenting and evaluating the benefits and challenges of each.
So for those of you who have been involved in these issues for a long time, you're going to recognize some of these options because some are potential courses of action that AFN has been considering. In some cases for decades. I want to make sure that we give special acknowledgement to the work that has been done over the past several years, in particular by former AFN counsel Bob Anderson, who is served currently serving as Solicitor at the Department of the Interior. These options are largely drawn from some of the papers that he did analysing courses of action about nine or 10 years ago. And then everyone who you see on this call has been substantially involved in working on these issues for some time. So we're not reinventing the wheel here, but we do think it's important to go back through and discuss the legal strategies that have been out there for a while, because with some exceptions, they largely do remain the same as they did a decade ago. And while some of the options that require action by Congress, or the state still have significant political hurdles, some greater today than a decade ago. Now we do have Bob Anderson in the solicitor position at the Interior Department, which I think changes the landscape on the feasibility of some of these administrative options. So with that very long disclaimer, let's dive in. We're gonna start with federal legislative options. So all of these would require action by Congress in order to implement them. First up is the option to repeal the NX extinguishment clause. As we noted above, and as discussed in prior workshops, section four B of exit, extinguished aboriginal title and hunting and fishing rights in Alaska. So there's always discussion of the option to pursue repealing this clause. And this could range from a total repeal. Repeal limited to public lands or repeal limited to excellence. However, repealing the extinguishment clause, which we know would be a significant lift would also necessitate implementing a replacement framework to to step in by an extinguishing these rights. It's unclear what the what the state of play would be following that action. So that is a consideration for the future. Another significant option would be to amend title eight of Anelka to provide Alaska native or native plus priority for subsistence uses on all lands and waters in Alaska, as we discussed, and it'll protect subsistence rights on public lands for rural residents, but this priority could potentially be amended to provide a higher priority for Alaska native or Alaska Native plus for rural residents, known as the native plus option. And if we are deleting the rural resident priority and replacing it with a preference for Alaska Natives, this revision might also be an opportunity to work with a new definition of Alaskan natives that could incorporate descendants. So along those same lines, AFN could seek to expand subsistence rights and uses by revising the definition of Alaska native to include members of recognized tribes in Alaska and or descendants of Alaska Natives. Many of the statutes that we've been discussing in prior workshops utilize the definition of Alaska Native that refers back to the definition in AXA, which uses the quarter blood quantum definition. And aside from the fact that this definition is problematic on its own, we've heard significant concerns from Alaska Native people that they've not been able to pass down subsistence traditions to their children or grandchildren, because subsequent generations are finding it harder and harder to meet this blood quantum definition. So we could pursue revising this definition through revising my definition of Alaska Native in NX itself, which might have some unintended consequences. Or it could be done through revising the definition of Alaska Native in specific statutes such as a NoCo or the MMPA, etc. And depending on the context in which we would need the definition revised, it could also be addressed through regulatory change rather than statutory.
AFN can also pursue broad amendments to title eight of a NOFA to tackle some of the broader issues with the current program. These are just a few of the potential ideas for what that could look like. An amendment could preclude state management of federal lands, address and protect subsistence fisheries, authorized Alaskan Native management of Alaska Native own land, promote Alaska Native self determination to support customary and traditional ways of life. And of course, recognize that many Alaska Native subsistence users today don't meet this definition of rural more narrowly, and then could seek to amend Anelka to address some of the specific management problems with the federal program. For example, AFN could seek to amend section 809, which covers governance cooperative agreements to establish requirements for Alaska Native co management. taillight revisions could also set standards for the Department of Interior and agriculture for engaging in these agreements. And this could be an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned from the Aetna and Kuskokwim efforts which I hope that we'll be discussing with the panel shortly. Moving away from amendments to Anelka AFN could also pursue amendments for other federal statutes to address some discrete subsistence management challenges that have been encountered. For example, amending the MMPA to address the standards for cooperative agreements. To address co management or address or amending the MMPA to require consultation with Alaska Native organizations, and the development of conflict avoidance agreements regarding incidental take permitting. There's also the option to amend the Magnuson Stevens act to add Alaska Native seats to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. We could look at pursuing legislation that would address some of the resource allocation conflicts that we've seen. So you know, when subsistence uses versus other uses, conflicts come up, we could address that in the statute. How those should be handled. And finally, I think this is an important point that should underlie all efforts is AFN can advocate for funding for Alaska Native organizations to participate more effectively in CO management arrangements. I also want to make sure that we touch on some of the opportunities to pursue legislative options that are narrowly tear targeted to address Alaskan Native handicraft issues that we've seen come up. For example, amending the MMPA to specifically address some of the state bans we've seen on ibori. There's been some legislation introduced to combat these in the past. And we've also seen legislation targeted at providing clarification of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to address issues related to the use of feathers and Alaskan Native handicrafts. And back to back to my note I made a moment ago about appropriations. Broadly speaking, AFN should be seeking legislation that would allocate funding for implementation of these initiatives that are already in place as well as new initiatives. Because as we all know, lack of funding is a significant barrier to effective participation in the federal management process even for involvement that falls far short of CO management. So we want to make sure that, that we're seeking congressional appropriations to implement existing programs as well as provide more tools for increased participation by Alaska Natives in these programs. So let's move on to federal administrative options. Unlike the federal legislative options that we just covered, which all require action by Congress, these options could all be implemented through administrative action within the executive branch. So let's start with some options for how we can increase and improve co management AFN could advocate for an executive order mandating co management on federal lands. Currently, there are a few secretarial orders that encourage cooperation and collaboration with indigenous people. We've got them listed here. The most recent was a joint secretarial order by Holland and mill sack. But anyone who is familiar with these orders knows that they fall far short of requiring co management with Alaskan Natives.
So an executive order would promote greater ability for Alaska Native people to inform and direct federal management decisions. Although we'd have to note that effectiveness of a change like this could ultimately be constrained by some of the provisions in existing statutes, but we can get to those AFN could advocate for incorporating indigenous knowledge or traditional ecological knowledge into federal decision making. We know that this has historically been an area of significant disconnect. Between the federal decision making and management and traditional approaches to management. And currently, the Federal processes are very deeply rooted in Western scientific approaches and values, which often do not account for the value of indigenous knowledge, which has been built by Alaska Native people over 1000s of years on their own traditional lands. So an example of greater alignment between federal processes and traditional approaches and values could be achieved by revising regulations. To direct agencies to include indigenous knowledge or traditional ecological knowledge as best available science when making federal decisions. We've seen some agency models moving in the right direction on this recently, earlier this year, NOAA put out for public comment its internal guidance document, best practices for engaging and incorporating TTK and decision making. And we think it's notable that this 2019 policy also extends beyond federally recognized tribes and agencies to apply collection and use of tk to indigenous peoples regardless of whether or not they're federally recognized. We've also seen action by the White House office on Science and Technology Policy, in coordination with the Council on Environmental Quality. They recently put out a memo on elevating it K in federal scientific and policy processes. So this type of effort already has a fairly high level of visibility here in Washington and could be capitalized on if and could pursue a change in regulation regarding the definition of rural Anna covered this in in great detail last week, but the process for evaluating community status as rural or non rural could be amended to curtail some of this over breadth of non rural determinations. That's been a significant problem for groups. who seek to engage in subsistence use near some of the more populated areas in the state. We've already discussed improving co management through legislation, but in some instances, it could also be improved through regulatory changes. For example, regulations could direct agencies to move from cooperative agreements to co management agreements. And the CO management regulations under specific statutes like the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and other statutes could be amended as well. We know that management of Alaska Native allotments has been a significant issue for many currently, allotments are managed under the state management regime. But federal jurisdiction under Title eight a nilka could be extended to allotments by amending the Anelka regulations and bringing those allotments within the federal subsistence management framework. AFN could pursue a secretarial order declaring that title eight of a NOFA is Indian legislation. For those who are not familiar with canons of construction and the law, designating a statute as Indian legislation means that any ambiguities in the statute are to be interpreted in a manner that favors native peoples and interpreted in a manner that native people would have understand, would have understood the terms of the agreement at the time. So declaring title eight as Indian legislation would direct that the subsistence management program be implemented in a manner that resolves ambiguities in a NOPA in a manner that favors Alaska Native people. There's also the option for AFN to encourage the federal government to expand its contracting with Alaska native tribes and Native corporations and operating significant portions of the federal subsistence management program.
AFN could request that the President convened a high level interagency working group to examine and propose additional reforms to Alaska subsistence management. The benefits of convening such a group at high level like this is that the President could direct the group to examine multiple proposals for administrative reform. You have high level government officials at the table and they could be directed to focus their efforts on incorporating Alaska Natives relationship to their land and continuation of traditional way of life into these recommendations. There's some good precedent for this type of presidential Working Group one which you may all be familiar with. Is the White House Council on Native American Affairs. And then we've got several options here for administrative reform directed at revising the structure and operation of the federal subsistence board and the regional advisory councils. One option would be to move the federal subsistence board to be a standalone office that reports directly to the Secretary of the Interior. Another would be to amend regulations to further change the composition of the board to allow for greater participation by Alaska Native representatives. You'll see here that the balance is is not equal in the current setup. And finally, regulations could be made to increase the differential treatment of recommendations made by the Regional advisory councils. Finally, we're going to quickly look at some state legislative and administrative options for improving the state subsistence management program. As a reminder in the McDowell case, in 1989, the Alaska Supreme Court determined that the statute granting preference to rural residents to take fishing game for subsistence purposes, violated the Alaska constitution. When that statute was invalidated, the state fell out of compliance with the nilka and the fence resumed management of fishing game on federal lands and Alaska. So to address that, situation, AFN could pursue a state constitutional amendment authorizing a rural native or native plus subsistence priority. And by adopting such an amendment adopting a rural preference that would bring Alaska back into compliance with section 805 of a NOFA and would allow the state to seek to restore its management on federal lands. However, if you've been in this for a while, you know that significant attempts were made to bring Alaska into compliance with Anelka and we are going to discuss some of the challenges associated with those efforts with our panel shortly. AFN could also work with the governor's office to secure his commitment to co management and or other reforms to improve the subsistence management on state and private land and Alaska. For example, AFN could ask the Governor to take executive action aimed at increasing or requiring co management of resources on state lands or Alaskan Native own lands. An AFN could also work with the governor's office to identify other opportunities for tribes Alaska Native corporations and Alaskan Native organizations to increase participation in the state management program. And as I noted briefly above, I'd be remiss if I did not mention that litigation is always a potential option for securing and protecting Alaskan Native subsistence rights. litigation, of course has its downsides. It's adversarial. It's time consuming, it's expensive. But we have to acknowledge that some of the greatest strides in advancing protection of Alaska Native subsistence has been made through evolving case law in the state. So we just want to remind everyone that litigation is in the background of many of these options that we've discussed today. Okay, that was a lot of information. And these options don't even represent the entire universe of potential reforms. But I think they give us a solid basis for us to get into our panel discussion on how we can start working to advance a offends objective to achieve more comprehensive subsistence rights and uses for Alaska Native people. And before we turn to the panel discussion, I want to remind you, we're going to hold some time for you all at the end to ask questions. So you can engage directly with our panel of experts. And with that, I'm going to ask the panelists to briefly introduce themselves. I'd like to start with our panelists from AFN and then move to sky and Anna from Landy, Bennett bloom Steen and then my colleagues Rick and Andrew from Vanness. Feldman. So Ben, do you want to introduce our AFN panelists?
Of course, thank you for that recap. Really appreciate it. And so as I'm sure our group does as well, I am I serve as the eighth and vice president of AFN. I'm honored to be in this position. With that said I'm even more honored to introduce Tom Tilden, who already has a subsistence chair and also Rosita world who is just amazing and a former chair as well. So Tom do want to say a couple words. Head over to residual fast
we are waiting for Tom. Yeah,
so Fourier Can you hear me? Oh,
can you hear Tom?
Yeah, okay. Well, first off, I want to take the presentation that was just made and welcome, everyone to the recording here. And I think that you know, in the last three sessions we've covered a lot of territory and I think that we've got a long ways to go when you look ahead. And, and all the different options that that was just shown to us today, I think has to be discussed on a statewide basis. But Rosita has been behind subsistence for many, many years heard, I have fought all kinds of battles, and I'd like to resort to Rosita because Zita is a historian and she has worked very hard on making sure that subsistence is a priority and that local people in rural villages be heard Rosina. We're gonna go ahead and turn the mic over to you.
Thank you very much, Tom. Thank you very much for those kind words. And thank you also, Ben, and thank you, Ben. Also an AFN. For the great job of their first two panels, a lot of great information there that I want to make sure that we have access to to hand over to our education folks so that they can develop educational materials so that our young ones could start you know, have a head start and learning all about subsistence. Thomas wrote, I served as AFN subsistent chair probably for 1520 years and I was pulled back on it just because I couldn't keep out of the business and get offering my my advice to AFN so I think they saw fit to put me back on the subsistence committee. And it's true that we've gone through long battles and very expensive battles. I might point out probably 15 years ago, we estimated that we had spent something like $20 million on subsistence. And those costs continue to burden Alaska Native people as they continue to fight for their subsistence rights. I guess first of all, I want to say that I think we need to begin with some basic precepts. And first of all, the recognition you know that Native people have this special relationship to our land and into our resources. That's not only a physical, tangible relationship, but also a spiritual relationship and that these relationships are the basis of native culture and they and basic, basic to our culture. But they're also critical for our physical survival for food security. I think that's, you know, a very first statement, you know, that we need to make. And then a second thing is that I think we need to recognize and state formally, that the Congress does have a moral and legal obligation to protect Alaska Native people and our livelihood and subsistence, and that this moral and legal obligation is also based on this legal trust relationship that Native people have with the federal government. So I think those are things that we need to say right on the onset. The other thing that I think we need to say is that we want to make sure that we keep any specific Alaska Native exemptions in place, you know, such as the marine Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and also the I know that our people feel very strongly about protecting the existing and CO management agreements that are authorized by MMPA. You know, in the work that we've been trying to do, looking at at different options, those are things that came up as, you know, basic requirements. And I have to say that
I probably have very strong feelings about what needs to be done and I don't know that I could keep myself you know, restricted to saying these are options, because in all of the work that I've done, I feel very strongly that the very first thing that needs to be done is to amend angkasa to to rescind that extension, and then to have a statement in place that Alaska Native subsistence priority should be protected. And then that should also include a definition of Alaska natives that speaks to the ongoing efforts to enroll lineal descendants into into native corporation. So I'd like a broad definition and that also one that is recognized, you know, by the tribes themselves, and I know many of the tribes and, and also native corporations have also beginning are beginning to move to, to that limit lineal descendant, definition. And then I also think that in in this amendment, that we also need to have a positive statement about a coal management this is something that Native people have been for decades have been saying it is a must. And we can see you know, by the current management, I mean just today if we look at what's going on with the Kuskokwim fisheries, you know, we need to have a voice in that call management because I'm sorry to say that I don't have the utmost confidence in the state management regime where you know, they manage depleted resources. And then offer them up for not only subsistence but sometimes commercial use as well. So I feel very strongly that those are basic precepts, you know, that shouldn't be in that amendment. Also, right now, we can see from the high fuel costs that our people are having to bear in a rural community that we need a disaster relief Relief Fund, and we need it today. We need it for our people who are having to pay these high fuel costs and not be able to go out to subsistence hunting fish. I think that's a critical critical issue. Today, as you know, with all that high fuel costs, I'm just very concerned you know, that our people aren't going to be able to go out hunting because of those high costs along with the other kind of high costs that are associated with subsistence hunting. So far as the state you know, I wasn't initially going to say I don't know if there's any hope for getting a constitutional amendment passed in the state. I know we work very, very hard to do that. And at one point in time, we I think we're a one vote away where we could have brought a resolution to the our citizens to at that time, I No would have supported it. So, so I kind of given up on the state, but then the state went and adopted the recognition of tribes. So that gave me some optimism that maybe we can move forward and say that this state of Alaska is going to recognize the special rights of a native of native people as they have done with the tribal recognition and then also extend that to our subsistence hunting and fishing. So those are kind of my my overview statements. And I want to thank everyone for the great work that they have done in outlining these options, and I'm looking forward to our discussion.
Thank you. Very much. Rosita, and I always appreciate every time that you participate in in discussion regarding subsistence your knowledge is just incredible. And I think that you know, you know, we're, we're a majority in our lands but the minority when decisions are being made regarding or leaving our subsistence lifestyle, and, and now during this pandemic, I mean, it's just really shows how important subsistence is to us. I mean, when you look at inflation and the cost of goods in the rural stores is just astronomical, and the shortage of goods I mean, you try to find the choice soy sauce, for instance, in any store and you can't find it anymore, I mean, the shortage of goods is affecting us and, and in the price of fuel to even subsistence certain fishes been affected. Scott sky I know you've been around for for many, many years now. But for subsistence, would you go ahead and like,
want to say hi to all my old friends and people that I've worked with for many, many years, and I've sort of taken maybe senior status, where I'm not really working day to day on a lot of small issues anymore, but I am still engaged in the larger issues and trying to do whatever I can to help some resolution to this incredibly dysfunctional and complex issues that that that face Alaska Native for subsistence I mean, honestly, what it takes 20 minutes or more just to summarize the complexity of of it all it should, you know, speak to all of us about how complex a system is and really how it remains so broken so yeah, just hello to everybody and it's good to see you again.
Thank you, sky. Ben. I'm sorry. I you know, I did not get your list of the panelists, but I see Richard Agnew there and Is he one of the
panelists? He is
not here for Richard then. Okay,
thank you very much. My name is Rick Agnew. And we've been Stallman had been working on these issues for many years with AFN. Proudly the time Rosita when we were trying to get the constitutional amendment done, and you're right, it was one vote away. And I'm happy to participate. I guess my role on the panel is more a little bit more history in federal legislative intent and, and maybe what's feasible in Congress. So I'm happy to speak to that at the appropriate time. I would say that just Just a quick comment. All legislation is a creature of its time. And a nilka was enacted in 1980. And at that time, they wrote laws very complex Lee they put added a lot of requirements that you probably wouldn't put in today. Especially if you're moving to a native preference or CO management. That whole system of the subsistence board and advisory councils and probably it was well intentioned but adds a whole lot of complexity and the dual management trigger has defaulted. And so the entire purpose of title eight is has been thrown into a ditch. So I'm happy to speak to that if anybody's interested as we go through the panel. Discussion I'm talking about maybe how we got here, but I really appreciate Tyson many, outlining how complex this is. You know, Fish and Wildlife don't know boundaries. And the law is put up a huge amount of boundaries. And this is one of the most complex areas of federal law you can see. So if there's a way to get it better, which it needs to be done needs to be made. Better. I'm happy to help with that effort.
Thank you, Richard. And, and, you know, I, my heart really goes out for the people on the Kuskokwim and Yukon area that I just can't imagine what they're going through. I mean, it just, it's beyond my imagination. I mean, I just I feel so, so sad for those folks that are not even able to subsistence fish. I mean, I just can't imagine that that's, that's just really hard to take in this be to recede in regard to Aaron down at Southeastern the slow decline, which is just really scary as we look look toward the future. And the Folkstone and Chignik as well. I mean, there's just you see subsistence playing more and more important role here. We also have Andrew, founder, Jack, I mean, Andrew, you want to go ahead and take the mic?
Yes, sir. Thank you. My name is Andrew Vander Jack and I am an attorney with the law firm Vanness Feldman. And so my colleagues, Rick and Mindy and Tyson are on the line. It's a real honor to be a part of this panel. Particularly with Dr. Warhol and with you Mr. Tilden, and with Sky who have been fighting for Alaska Natives, subsistence rights for entire careers. I want to say for my colleague, Rick, he didn't mention it, but I'd like to just acknowledge that Rick served as Chief Counsel and staff director to the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, working with Congressman Don young and working on the 1991 amendments to AXA. And so he's in a unique position to speak to the challenges of pursuing federal legislation. But you know, as Dr. Worrell said, you know, sometimes things things happen that we don't expect, and we can't give up. And I think the 1991 amendments are a great example of that. And I recall the stories I've heard of Julie, going door to door to each of the members of the committees of jurisdiction, in lobbying for the changes to the law that needed to be made, and that got done. And that was a significant piece of legislation and more recently, the amendments to the violence against women and the potential opportunity that is there for exercising jurisdiction within Alaska Native villages, just a huge success. Dr. Worrell also mentioned in speaking to high fuel costs and the need to be able to declare disasters for subsistence fisheries. And I just note you know in in we did some some work with with fisheries here event as Feldman. You know, those disaster declarations can take years, years to get done and I and i i It causes me to think, to document that I was recently reading Kellyanne and go share the document when Tyson was giving his presentation in the first workshop, the ICC document on food sovereignty and the recommendations that show up in that document. And one of one of the things that needs to be accomplished. We can talk about, you know, legal framework. But there's so much more than that. You know, we talked about fisheries disaster declarations. Much of this needs to be able to be done in real time, right? Can't wait for two years can't wait for three so many of these. These policies need to be implemented quickly. And I know that that was highlighted in the ICC document. I know that it's been It's an issue that's been raised by other groups as well. But but that document and other documents, talk about the many other factors that go into this. Beyond just the legal framework, and the legal framework is the problem, right? So the problem that we're here to talk about today is we have so many Gosh, darn lawyers on the line. But there's so much more. There's education, right and explaining to folks that we're not trying to expand a right we're trying to fulfill a promise. There's the respect that we need from our federal managers and from other stakeholders in Alaska. There's the need to be able to participate in control, management decisions on the ground, and as Mindy spoke to, there's the need for funding, because none of this happens without the resources whether it's from the Federal management side or from the Alaska Native management side. So thank you for the opportunity to be here.
Thank you very much, Andrew. I'd like to call on Anna at this time.
Hi, and thank you. Just a brief introduction. I think most people who are on the presentation today remember me from last week. My name is Anna Crary. I am an attorney here in Anchorage at Landy Bennett Blumstein, I've had the tremendous benefit of being able to practice with Skye over the past six, seven years now and learn from him. Just you know, I'm very grateful for the experiences and the information and insight that he has very generously shared with me. A large portion portion, excuse me of the work that I do here at Landy, Bennett focuses upon subsistence and, you know, I work with Alaskan Native organizations and individual stakeholders and native corporations and tribes all over the state. And, you know, regardless of where my clients are located, the issues that they're seeing, you know, really strike the same chord of, you know, poor relationships with state managers, poor relationships with federal managers. Diminished access to crucial subsistence resources. And you know, just I think, the same level and the same nature of of struggle that has existed since statehood, perhaps since since previously when these resources started to be apportioned in a way that did not provide for subsidy you know, for sufficient opportunity for those who depend on the resource the most. So I think the what everyone has said before me today, all stands true, you know, and I agree with all of it. You know, I agree with Dr. worls assessments and her her basic precepts, you know, I think it's crucial to frame what we're what we're doing and to frame what we're talking about, and how we talk about that. You know, in a very in a very specific and in a very empowering particular way. You know, I cannot agree more with Andrew and Mindy's note that, you know, financial resources are so necessary and you know, I see this really as an access to justice issue, where it does require money, you know, to get to the table. And, you know, I think that largely, that's tremendously unfair, because it shouldn't cost 10s of 1000s of dollars to be able to effectively advocate for you know, right that you've, you've practiced and exercised since time immemorial. But it appears that that is what's necessary now. And so I think it's crucial to, to focus on that too, you know, and to find ways to be able to, you know, have a voice and be heard, without also having to bankrupt oneself to do it. Um, so I'm, you know, I'm here, I'm happy to answer questions or weigh in on any, any of the topics that come up today. And, you know, just want to say, again, thank you for the opportunity to sit here.
Thank you very much. Thank
you. Thank you, Anna. And I just before we move on, want to make sure that we were also addressing, you know, the lack of funding is is also a lack of ability to participate based on you know, time is money and we recognize that Alaska Native organizations and groups, it's incredibly unfair that that you're faced with a firehose of federal consultations without, you know, you shouldn't have to have a dedicated person in your organization to simply be responding to consultation requests and comments, and expect that that is effective participation for CO management purposes. So I thank you for bringing that up again at the end. And before we launch into our panel discussions, I want to make sure that we we start off by either allowing Mr Tilden or Dr. Worrell or Ben to set us up with what our A offends top priorities to get out of these, you know, subsistence changes that you would like us to, to start focusing on today.
Thanks, Linda. That's a great question. Tom. We'll go Kate to the candidate. Nice start that discussion. I do know that we have Rosita, and Tom, you guys have amazing stronger preference. You've been through this. You've been on the Hill in Virginia and DC seen their struggle. I came on when Secretary Jewell was the Secretary and I remember you know going you know what they're talking about coal management. And one of the things I said is like, no, without, you know, federal jobs, you're gonna lose federal jobs. I was like, No, we're gonna gain jobs in rural Alaska by expanding coal management. And so just Canada's barriers are, are are almost you know, institutionalize both Congress and in and what's an impairment terrier. So the question we all make up to, to, towards it is with this and was even mentioned earlier, you know, going back to the few minutes for me is a big barrier to you know, our asking price and substance use So, looking at you know, that that's the overlying barrier is moving to four B, possibly, or, you know, extending a preference to aim seeing these two ainsi lands. And those are two big arching barriers and make a big difference in terms of how we're asking you to participate in you know, in subsistence. So, I think with that said, I did maybe ask Rosita and Tom, and you know, Rick, to you been through this, you know, on the hill as well. If you have any comments on what do you think of me this question?
was the I think you're on mute.
Oh, you didn't hear my full ERATION already, huh? So anyway, you know, I was thinking that there were some other things you know, that I talked about precepts, I think really important in terms of setting, setting the groundwork setting the framework, and I know that you know, our friends or colleagues here the attorneys have done a good job in terms of outlining, you know, all of the all of the legal and and administrative issues surrounding subsistence. But I think, you know, for we need to have a formal legal and political analysis of all of these subsistence issues and and then bring that I think we need to have Secondly, I think we need to then meet with the Native community to make sure that we're all in sync, that we're unified because there are some differences, you know, among the regions and we in some of the work that we've been trying to do around amending MMPA. You know, we've tried to iron out some of these differences. So I think we really need to have a statewide native native meeting where we will set the framework and say these, this is the direction that we want to go. I think, I think these initial steps of outlining all the subsistence laws, the administrative issues, those are really good steps. And then I think we need to do that. That real thorough legal analysis. The other thing that I think, I think, you know, the overview showed is that there are just a multitude of legislative acts regulations that that that affect subsistence, and I think, you know, again in that preset presets, I think we have to have you know, that that outline identification of all of those things because it's surprising where it does pop up because we know subsistence also, you know, entails you know, the use of the of the byproducts for arts and crafts, which are really critically important in terms of our rural economies. And I keep telling people, you have to accept that still in Alaska. We have dual economies, subsistence economies, which is very, very real in terms of economic, economic terms. And I don't think there's that full recognition that, you know, it's just not a whim or a cultural value or we're talking about cultural survival. We are talking about physical survival. So I think there has to be that recognition that indeed in our communities, that that subsistence economies are very real and should be supported in terms of the extension you know, to the byproducts where Native people are making arts and crafts and selling them. So that that has to be in included also in our discussions around subsistence. It's not just a simple, one little thing, we're going to look at little one major thing that we're going to do in terms of amending engso, and I say I'm a man NXR I just don't know about Anelka because Uh, nope, in my mind has been a total failure. Well, maybe not total failure. We didn't they and board did make some good decisions around a COVID impacts that the state immediately challenged so I just I don't know where else I could go with this. But I just think you know, that we are embarked I think on some good steps with this compilation of all the material. I think we need to do that legal analysis, full legal and political analysis and political analysis is also critical, you know, to advancing any kind of option that to take care of our subsistence issues.
Thank you. Dr. whorl. I think that's actually a great lead in to have Rick talk about some of the challenges the history we've seen with attempts to work with the nilka What do you think some of the most significant challenges are going to be as we look at you know, either dealing with extinguishment or just making amendments to title eight?
Um, a couple of comments there. I think Dr. Wolf is exactly right. You want to as a people do both legal analysis and a political analysis, you know, because I just be pragmatic about Congress and how it works. To go to Congress in to change the law. The immediate question you get is, what do you what's your request? What do you need? What's the ask? And it has to be clear. So just some, some recommendations for the group here to try to coalesce around a specific request if you're seeking legislation. Congress does not do very well. In any complex issue, where people come in and complain, but they don't have a specific answer. It's really, it doesn't work very well. It's sort of, you know, water in the desert. It just dries up really fast. So that's one recommendation. Second is just kind of really pragmatic for the time being, you probably had time to think through what works best for AFN as in seeking change on subsistence on federal laws with respect to subsistence, in part because, you know, I worked for Congressman young for a long time and you know, he when he passed away, formally, there is no house member right now, and that they're by practice, limited in what they can do with the house representatives can do without an elected member. of Congress from Alaska. There's the primary it's coming up on June 11, the generals on in August, but it says sort of a stutter step there. So because a PERT, a person will be elected to represent Alaska in the House of Representatives in August, but that that's a special election, then there's a final, like next election, which will take effect in January. So you do have some time because I don't see a situation where you're trying to do something in this Congress. Congress would go ahead without somebody in the House of Representatives, the People's chamber, representing Alaska. So it's just that that kind of consideration. And I think it's really important to galvanize around some answers. A challenge has been mentioned in your prior meetings. And in this session already. Many you can comment on quite a bit about that. It's incredibly complex. There are numerous federal statutes. So in that world, I think indicated you wouldn't want to amend some of those statutes you want to keep the Alaska Native exemption. So that's where that legal analysis and legislative political analysis needs to kind of come together and figure out what legal issues you want to solve and some of them are very obvious and the legislative path to get them solved. And the last thing I'd say just on sort of history in some ways past is prologue in in some ways it is it's important to know the history of title eight certainly important to know the history of AXA. It's important to know all the way up to bow now of Violence Against Women Act, to know all that history, but what we're trying to do is amend the law going forward. So don't be too limited by history. What you really want to do is some kind of cross cutting legislative effort that that can get enacted. And it's not limited to the Anelka framework. I think the nilka sponsors, title eight sponsors would probably admit that Well, that didn't work. I mean, it worked for a while in a limited way, but so I think they would say a Don't be tied down too much. By this framework. We had do better by fixing it. And then there's another there's a whole nother pathway that was mentioned early on, about the administrative pathways you described many, and I did in the prior session as well. Those things are hugely important. This administration is approach of fixing where disadvantaged communities and populations have been wronged by implementation of laws and and they want to fix it, fix them. Wherever they can, you can fix the entire world but but I do think that that's a promising avenue to get. I think a fishing rights for Alaska Natives much better protected and resolved in this administration, but it is going to take an effort there too, because it's quite similar to legislation. You have to go to the administration with a problem statement and an answer. So, so that that's really feeling there. And the last thing I'd say is, Sky was absolutely fantastic on this over the years on CO management, with a team in a law firm there and that was an example of how you have how persistent you have to be even to try to get some limited, good co management efforts done in different geographic areas. Line up the people that are impacted and be very specific with what you recommend the Congress and and you can get those things done. I mean, I think we're fortunate that Congressman young in particular was open to co management and like the idea and I guess I'll say one, like one final thing is, I do think that one of the areas of legislation that could have a pretty clear pathway is Alaska Native control of Alaskan Native own lands in a you know, ANC lands, tribal lands, allotments. There's a lot of sort of common sense in that and and that's, that would be one of those cross cutting things that doesn't get to bureaucratized. If you're, if your principle was we ought to be able to control our lands. That I think is pretty fertile ground looking forward. I yield back my time here.
Thank you, Rick. Since You Went into CO management, I want to jump around a little bit and if sky is willing, I'd like to ask you, what does true co management mean to you and what you've seen in your efforts to implement these frameworks and do the current secretarial orders and directives get us where we need to go?
Pretty, pretty simple. No on that. I think we're not any in my view. We're not anywhere close to really come as well. I mean, I think what we've done in the past, legitimately is a step by step approach thinking. We take a step. We know it's not good enough. We take the next step and we build and build and build and so that's been sort of the theory and the philosophy. But, you know, we, during the Obama administration, we got the Kuskokwim inter tribal Fish Commission and agreement there and then we had the the autonomic co management agreement. And really what it demonstrates to me is that the implementation of CO management really depends on the good faith efforts. of whatever administration's in. So maybe during this administration, we'll actually see some critical management and some advancements, but we didn't see it in the past administration. So but what is true call management at this point, and what I think what I mean my view of this after these years is that the biggest fallacy with the system that we have now is there's no true self determination by Alaska Natives on how to you know, take care of managing Fish and Wildlife to take care of their customer and traditional subsistence uses. I mean, you have the Federal Board, telling Alaskan natives what they need to live their life you have the state boards, telling Alaskan natives what they need. And then you have the Alaska Department of Fish and Game which may be the worst actor of all, implementing things in a way that's disingenuous oftentimes. So you have all these blocks, and you really have no way for Alaska natives to actually be in control of this really important aspect of their life. And so to me come asthma it means Alaskan Natives have this degree of self determination and work with whatever other land manager federal or state to basically make sure that the populations are healthy. That traditional knowledge is incorporated in across the board and and these kinds of things, but the central premise of co-management is that Alaska Natives have a degree of self determination. And that's why just piggybacking on to Rick's presentation, about what might be the most achievable to me, and looking at this over many years. The real key is that Alaska Natives at least have the ability to manage Fish Wildlife on the lands they reach their Aboriginal lands that they retained and never ceded during the Claims Act, because if you have that control and the management over your own lands, that call management and other things naturally fall into place, because you have this real stake in the game you have real management authority. And so yeah, that's that's my view after these years. Thank you.
Thank you. Skyn Melinda, I add in real fast too. There are examples of really good color management out there and Nunavut. Nunavut is one example, where actually the policy starts at the 100 tribal organizations and builds its way up to actually the government actually objects to the policy that's built by the community. So there are examples out there called management that you know, we've don't know about, you know, definitely take a look at and review so, thank you sky for that those comments.
I wanted to throw out the AW see the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. I think they did an exemplary job of taking control of the sciences, because the sciences that were done were not was not good science. And they demonstrated that you know, in in look, I mean, they you know, they, the management regime at that point in time, you know, said that, you know, whales were endangered. And yes, the whale population had indeed decreased but not to the extent you know, that there should have been a zero moratorium, I mean, moratorium on on whale hunting. And I think that the whalers in there, as a employed biologist, you know, to go out there and really assess, you know, the, the whale population that they were able to demonstrate, you know, their ability to to manage the resources. So I think that's a model. You know, I've always said, you know, that the best model is, you know, for good management regime is to have native, you know, people who have been hunting and fishing for 1000s of years and who are dependent on a healthy resource, so it just makes it so logical, you know, to have them engaged.
If I might offer an observation on that. I would never underestimate that the power of that example because it was a controversial. whaling was highly controversial back then. And it was an effort by indigenous people to self regulate, put together their own regulation, as you noted, they're using good science. And it it it's a little a lot of people haven't observed that very much the Whaling Commission, but in the end, it has worked and it was one of the few examples we ever be able, we were able to put up in Congress, where we said, this is domestically in the US, a self regulation by indigenous people of a resource and in a controversial area, which at the time internationally, was highly controversial, and was able to be enacted and it has been managed really well ever since. It's a it's a it's an exceptionally good example.
I just I agree. I mean, it it is it's, it's totally something to build on. But the advantage to whaling is that it's Alaska Native specific. That right is only for Alaska Natives, and it's very explicit. And so it gets you over a huge hurdle. And when you're working with a Noca, and you've got rural, and you have all these regional councils that you have to give deference to and on and on and on. And so, you know, when you look at co-management in terms of on federal lands in the nilka, it becomes a much more complex, and procedurally, you know, heavy aspect, and that's, you know, whereas with whaling, it's, it's clean, it's, you know, it's an Alaskan Native preference.
Well, that's a good lead in for my next question. So I think we all agree that a PWC is the gold standard for for how this can this model can work. So let's move into some of these more complex models that you're talking about Skye. I was hoping that you could walk us through your Anna, the Aetna intertribal Resources Commission and the Kuskokwim model and how those agreements came together and some of the challenges that that we're now faced with. Well, sky is frozen. I don't know if that's too much to punt it to Anna
sky is definitely frozen and I would 100% defer to him to talk about the specific mechanics of the Aetna of of the Aetna relationship because he was so integral and so intimately involved in the development of that. So let's see if we can get his I don't know if we can get his tech back up and working. I'm not sure if someone can help him out from the back end. From behind the scenes.
Well, we can stick with you while we while I'm on you. I was hoping that you could build a little bit more not to jump around but on what you presented last week. In the absence of great administrative or legislative change. What do you think Alaska Native people can do now to more effectively utilize the system we're in and work within our current structures?
Um, I think that generally what I what I have seen is that organization, both within regions and across the state is really important. Um, you know, I'm dealing with this as sort of like a I don't want to say a discrete issue, but an issue a fisheries issue that touches on both subsistence and commercial uses of, of salmon, you know, in state manage fisheries right now. Um, and I think it's been my experience that you know, when you go to these to like board of fish meetings, for example, there's a there's a there's a very sort of like region specific focus, obviously, because these meetings happen on a regional basis. Right, and because there are specific state management plans that are drafted for individual regions. What we're seeing though, or what I'm seeing, at least is that, you know, obviously the management of salmon in one region has significant impacts upon the management of salmon in another region, because you know, that you can't predict where fish go, you can generally guess like, oh, well, we know that, you know, some fish will escape to this river and some fish will escape to that river. But when you're looking at a lot of state managed fisheries, you're looking at a lot of commingling of stocks and interception of those stocks. And I think that when what I've seen is that when user groups come to board official meetings, and you know, they can be like subsistence user groups, they are commercial user groups, you know, and I want I also want to emphasize, too, that there are a significant number of Alaska Native interests represented through commercial fisheries. You know, a lot of people make their their livelihood through commercial fisheries, and, you know, but also, you know, have documented historical subsistence uses of those same fish. So it's, it's an even, it's a much more complicated issue than, you know, what, what we would what we would be able to really, you know, delve into in detail here, but being able to unite different regions, and to unite and to sort of understand what those interests are across regions and how multiple regions have shared interests, in how things are managed outside of their region, I think is really crucial. And it's important now, especially where we are seeing, at least unofficially, you know, really serious, sustained yield concerns come up in state managed fisheries. And, you know, for example, you know, there was there was no subsistence chum fishery on the Yukon River last year. And I mean, that's, that's, it's devastating, right. It's devastating to the economy, and it's devastating to the food security of people along the Yukon River. We've seen tremendously diminished returns of Charmin genic stocks along the Kuskokwim River again, you know, tremendously detrimental to food security in that region. But we haven't seen a corresponding acknowledgement from you know, from state management, at least that so many of those stocks that escaped to those rivers are intercepted and fisheries further to the south. You know, like in certain Peninsula area fisheries. And so having been able to have, you know, really, I think, solid communication and strategy and understanding within different regions that are, you know, maybe seemingly discretely affected but in my opinion, you know, very sort of holistically affected by these larger multiregion issues, I think is crucial, you know, because I think it becomes important for a y que subsistence and commercial users to be able to go to a board of fish meeting, you know, that that deals with another area, but to show up and provide testimony to build a record that says, what you the decisions that you make at this meeting are affecting us up here. And here's why, and to how, you know, to have users do that, to like I said, to build a record and to you know, create a basis for potentially litigate like a change through litigation, but also, you know, just to build those relationships between those regions, and between those those groups and those people. And so I see this guy's back on now, so I'll let him I'll let him weigh in on on your authentic question, but I think it's crucial for regions to you know, to reach out and to support one another and to recognize what they have in common and how they can support one another in achieving those common goals.
Thank you, Anna. Guy, do you want me to repeat my question or do you want to jump back in?
I heard it but my computer is somehow not liking me to be on. Yeah. Dr. Nick, the well, I want to say that the agreement came together. And I just want to pay credit to Byron Melotte. I mean, Byron was the lieutenant governor and he actually traveled with Ana. He was in DC, and he came to me with the Deputy Secretary Conner, and he was just forthright about you know that Alaskan natives needed to be at the table and they needed to manage their own lands and having somebody from the state doing that really pushed us I think helped push us over the edge. I mean, they were really, really taken aback. And, and I think it cleared cleared a lot of a lot of hurdles to have Byron do that. So credit to Byron and all the people in ordina that have worked for decades now to try to, you know, to try to get this project to try to affirm their subsistence rights. And unfortunately, some of the people that have worked the hardest are no longer with us. Anyway, the agreement came together. After a lot of thought about really, the whole goal was to try to get away for tribes for the Ottoman inter tribal Fish Commission to manage subsistence hunting and fishing on their own on the public lands and to be able to do that for their members. A couple of mistakes we made we got Deputy Secretary Conner to sign it but we did not get agriculture to sign it probably needs to come back to that. So implementation, I mean, the Federal Board has just been dragging its feet and it's just again, it's just another implementation issue, and you've got the Regional Council, so you've got to go through so it was a good start. And I think, as Rosita said the honor tribal has been able to contribute to some of the science and to the traditional knowledge but in terms of actually being able to manage hunting and fishing for their members on public lands. It hasn't lived up to its promise. It might be a place to go back and try again. But it's it's it's it's a difficult it's a difficult administrative thing to work through, honestly.
Thank you for that. Before we open up to discussion with the broader group, I want to make sure that we go back and have a discussion about legislative strategy and feasibility for pursuing some of the federal legislative options, as well as some of the administrative options that we laid out earlier in the presentation. So if Andrew is willing, I am going to ask for your thoughts and walking people through the process and and maybe we can have a discussion about feasibility.
Absolutely, and of course, everybody on this panel can can speak to this but I'd be happy to offer a couple of comments. I have to first agree wholeheartedly with the notion of focusing on the administrative side. I have you can't see it, but papers all over my desk that are background papers that inform this panel discussion that all of us have been going over, including FM's recommendations from 2013. And among those are several from Bob Anderson. And he is in Washington DC and he is in a very important position. And he was the architect of many of these proposals. They're certainly had an enormous influence on them. And he's here and he's in a position to be helpful and we can talk about legislative strategy. But I think it's been suggested already, it would be difficult to get something done. I'll just say it out loud by the end of this Congress for multiple reasons. But it is really important to have the administration on our side is really important to have folks like Bob, taking an active role. The White House taking an active role. I mean, if and has laid out a strategy and it's all in it's a really comprehensive for such a short document strategy that walks through all the different considerations. But administrative is absolutely critical to that. And I would, you know, turn into legislative strategy.
You know, I guess I'll say something that is a little bit cheap, but I'm gonna say it anyway. Elections have consequences. Right. We hear this it comes up, but we're right in the middle of an election season. Right. Our governor is up, Senator Murkowski is up. We've lost Congressman young the individual who represented our state the one representative and a body of 435. With all of that seniority and all of those relationships and that ability to work across the aisle. We've lost a congressman for all Alaska that has real consequences and and we need to see how things play out over the next several months in the upcoming elections. And engage with the folks who are running engage with the folks who are there. But that is going to inform the strategy, I guess, is the bottom line there. In terms of pure mechanics. You know, I think it's important to note as many people here are aware that, you know, where we go on on Capitol Hill, particularly if we're talking about the extinguishment clause, is going to be the Senate Committee on Energy natural resources. Previously, the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs which held on to jurisdiction over AXA. So it's important to understand that committee, Senator Murkowski is a member of that committee, the former chair of that committee, with Senator Murkowski is also now the ranking member and if the Senate goes to Republican control would be the chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. And then of course, there's the House Committee on natural resources and the subcommittee for the indigenous peoples of the United States. So these are starting places. The members on those committees, Senator Schatz from Hawaii, who is the current chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senators Brasco, and mansion, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. But we are talking about many other facets of the legal framework. And so I do want to note that it's not just those committees, right, the Commerce Committee, of which Senator Sullivan is a member, critically important when we're talking about the Marine Mammal Protection Act, when we're talking about the state ivory bands, when we're talking about the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Senator Sullivan has and that committee has a very important role to play. In this framework, the Senate Appropriations Committee. We're talking about resources and Senator Murkowski is the ranking member and could be chair of the subcommittee for the interior and environment of appropriations. Incredibly powerful position and important position when we're talking about getting things done in Washington DC, and and the funding for it. And, you know, even other committees I you know, just as an aside, you know, the finance committee that attacked that, you know, how taxes work, whaling captains can receive a tax deduction for their investment in the resources they need to serve their way that accrues now that's a little bit off topic, but the point is that, you know, we can really talk about many different places that we can go in Congress to pursue the objectives that the Alaska Federation of Natives lays out as priorities for this for this effort. But I guess just stepping back from the legislative process, Rick already spoke about the legislative process. It's it's not an easy process. It takes an enormous amount of educational effort. But one of the things that that we have learned from one of our senior colleagues, Alan mints, in the work that we've done on Capitol Hill, is just the incredible importance of stakeholder engagement in the face of adversity. It's it's really hard to do. I know there are organizations that have fought and fought and fought the Alaska Native community on subsistence I know that and I don't want to make light of that. But engagement with folks who seem to be
implacable, who seemed to not be willing to engage to find solutions remains important. And I and I know that in some of the legislative efforts that we've been through, we've gone back to organizations and we've said, we recognize that you're a stakeholder that you're going to have a voice, that you're going to be lobbying on this topic. And the you have the option to lobby against us and we want to sit down with you and a lot of times those organizations will say, Well, no, you don't, we don't really have an interest, they do have an interest and they will engage and they will be aggressive in their engagement. And a lot of those organizations have ties to national organizations. And so it's really important to keep in mind the really hard work of engaging with folks who have with whom we have had a difficult history. And remembering as Dr. Worrell said that, you know, never to give up. Sometimes things change. And we have worked with organizations that have have changed their views. And sometimes what it takes is not vocal support, but a willingness to step aside from vocal opposition. And so the more we can work with folks, even where there have been these difficulties, you know, you never know about the next generation, a generation that has been schooled up more on issues of equity and justice than the previous generation. And so we're attempting to reengage with some of these organizations and finding folks with whom we can have a conversation remains critically important to the overall legislative effort. It really is very important. That's what I'd say about that.
Thank you. Well, in along the theme of looking for help in unexpected places to go back a few minutes, I want to make sure that we discuss today the potential opportunity with the recently reauthorized Violence Against Women Act. And maybe Andrew or Rick could speak to how that jurisdictional experiment might have some impact or opportunities for subsistence use in Alaska.
Well, yeah, I mean, I again, this is a topic that you know, I think Anna and others also could could speak to with with good background. I want to be clear that, you know, we were not directly involved in developing the proposal that ultimately was in the Violence Against Women Act, to to enable Alaska native tribes and tribal consortia up to 30 and potentially more across the state of Alaska to exercise criminal jurisdiction not only over members, but over non native individuals, non members in crimes of domestic violence and related crimes. I think that the lesson for me is that in an issue where there was so much frustration, and so much concern that it would be difficult to advance the ball. The delegation was able to do it was able to get that legislation done and was able to get that legislation done. And let's be honest, Congressman young, played a very important role and over in the House working on both sides of the aisle, Senator Murkowski it a very important role in that introducing that language and in holding hearings to draw attention to the issue. It didn't get done in one Congress. It took a long period of time, even after the legislation had been been introduced. But I think that it created an opportunity and made a change that nobody expected 10 years ago. And that's just that's the fundamental lesson. Nobody expected legislation like that to pass 10 years ago, and it just shows the art of the possible when we're all working together as a as a broader community.
Thank you, unless anyone has further thoughts on that piece. I want to make sure that we've got time to engage with the audience. We've got a few questions in our q&a. So feel free to drop more in there or if you raise your hand I think then can call on you. Um, I'm going to start with one that I will try to answer. Regarding funding for tribes, has there been any effort to pay tribes for their traditional knowledge as well as assist them with consultation? On the T K issue? I am not aware of any such effort. I think this is a really interesting idea and something that we could begin a really interesting discussion about, I know that there have been concerns raised by Native communities about what happens to Te K once it's shared with federal agencies, what sort of control native communities can maintain with regard to that information and how it's used. So I think this is going to be an area where there's a lot of opportunity, but also some significant issues to discuss in the future.
Hi, I just wanted to report that we are doing a te case study with Fish and Wildlife Service looking at the wolf population, primarily in the Prince of Wales. So that's been funded by our Fish and Wildlife Service. That's great.
Many adults with this, Rick and I also know that there's the seeds of that approach in some of this administration's implementation of the infrastructure act i j. And I recall something I should remember it better and we probably should look it up. But it wasn't just provide for participation of tribal and native communities, but it was to pay for the knowledge, which is the heart of that question. So there's, this may be something where the solicitor Anderson could help the Secretary of the Interior could help but we that's a very good question to actually get compensated for that knowledge base. I think it started in the administration and hasn't gone very far. But we should look into it more.
I want to build on that a little bit. And just point out too, that some of the organizations I work with me and those have and again, these are these are organizations specific policies, but we're board members are you know doing it well, first of all board members get, you know, per diems and honorariums. And so, they are they are compensated in that way for the time that they spend on you know, with that organization, sharing their traditional knowledge with respect to you know, management of a certain species there, you know, so I think that there are ways in which individual Alaskan natives, you know, within certain organizations are compensated for that, but it's not it's not necessarily directly coming right from the state or from the federal government when that information is provided, which I agree is problematic. I do also, I want to note that a lot of those organizations do receive a lot of funding from the federal government. So in some ways, there is like, you know, an indirect provision of funding, not necessarily in exchange for you know, the provision of of indigenous knowledge, but there are ways in which sometimes money will flow to the holder of that information so that they are compensated for their time or for their, you know, there's their their basic provision of that knowledge, but I think it would certainly be helpful to talk with or get it to negotiate with Fish and Wildlife Service on the federal side. who right now are in the process of amending their Alaska Native policy that you know, the I guess they use as a document to train, you know, internal Fish and Wildlife Service employees with respect to their relations with Alaska Native individuals and groups to raise that topic and say, hey, you know, we know that not a whole lot of information in here about how you intends to compensate or we know whether you intend to compensate at all for us, you know, sharing this, this knowledge with you. Perhaps this is something that needs to be included in that policy.
Yeah, that's a good point. Thank you, Anna. And I just want to note that a note this specifically provides for for research, incorporating indigenous knowledge and or local local knowledge and then sharing that research with the state and other local and regional councils. So I think this is a an area that is, is going to be a place to spend some time in the near future. All right, we've got a question here. What are some things that someone working within a federal agency and participating in tribal consultations can do to help drive change in the right direction? I'm sure that we have lots of people on the panel who have lots of thoughts about this. Maybe Ben or Rosita wants to take this one.
I'll give a stab at it because we do a lot of kind of similar work in in work in other areas that we could apply to subsistence with a federal agency folks, and that is the first thing is they need to understand native culture. And I think, you know, there I know that Fish and Wildlife Service does a lot you know, to try to orient federal workers federal that are engaged with management and engage with the Native community. I know they tried to provide cultural orientations to them. So I think, you know, that's the very first thing and then what I'm finding is that it you know, I think Rick alluded to this is that the younger population I'm I'm finding are more open to cultural diversity, diversity as a whole and also to social social equity. I'm not saying get rid of old the old folks and bring in new ones, but maybe what we can do you know it and I know we're at a time where, you know, people don't some people don't want to discuss, discuss, you know, indigenous lifestyles and things that are are happening to indigenous people. So we have to be really careful of that framework, because I know I think Fish and Wildlife got a directive. Under the last administration where they weren't supposed to, you know, there was kind of like ethnic cleansing that was going on. So, I guess the recommendation is, number one is that they, you know, provide good cultural orientations to federal agency people who are engaged in subsistence, and maybe that might get them more predisposed to understanding and thinking about how their decisions affect native cultures.
And it's fun to add on to that. Rosita from AFS standpoint, we kind of view consultation as kind of a first step cost Asian is actually really hard for a whole group of Alaska to to see, you know, what the issues are, but not people don't want to talk in such an open forum, especially within our own communities. So you know, tribal connotations first step, any government or agency should do further outreach to our individual tribes. He knows a couple rotations in agencies, as well. So that's why I got out there as well.
Thank you, then on to that exactly. If the question was what kind of person in the federal agency do I guess I would recommend a couple of things. One, speak up to don't treat. The idea of sharing knowledge as just through formal consultation has been noted. There's some limitations there. Deal with people on a co management basis and and talk with talk with affected communities much more directly, and not necessarily formally, you know, I mean, there's no limitation on talking with different groups. So that'd be my advice.
I guess if given the opportunity here, I'd weigh in as well. I think one of the one of the constant themes that I see is that consultation is not about making a presentation. It's not about talking at it's about listening and so often, that just doesn't happen. There. There's this you know, people frame it as the check the box exercise, but it's that's a separate issue. I think. I think there's there's an independent issue, which is that the agencies and the representatives of the agencies need to take the time to come listen, and and make sure that the entity with whom you are consulting is is fully heard before the agency weighs in or provides a consultation or vice versa, right. I mean, it's, it's fine to make a presentation, but it's it's a two way process. And that simply hasn't been the case.
I'll also note that in terms of consulting with groups, you want to make sure you're consulting with the right groups, or multiple groups. We represent a lot of entities on the North Slope, and there's often controversy about which entities are consulted with or which issues and I know that that issue is pervasive throughout Alaska that an agency person who doesn't really understand the region or the conflicts or the resources, meets with one NATO organization and thinks that they've checked the box on consultation and they've really missed the mark. So I think that's an important part, but I'm encouraged by the question that federal employees are interested in improving this process. So thank you for your question. Please,
in regards to the Federal Register, I think there should be more federal agencies involved as well. I think that one of them that's overlooked is the health organization. I just want to use one of the villages in our region as an example, the village of big yogic the a few years ago, what they did was they said that the that they were going to ask all of the village residents to only eat food within 50 miles of their villages that they caught or raised. And the health benefits that that happened when they did that for one month was just incredible. I mean, blood pressure went down. skin issues went away. Headaches and all kind of improvements in their health was just incredible. And so they did it again the next year, and now they're doing a tube for two months out of the year. And so I think we need to include other agencies. In addition to the ones that we're working with parks in the national monuments and organizations like that. And I think that, that those organizations, of course, I think that they really need to hire local folks. I think a lot of our children are going off to school and learning all the things that need to be done. They really need to be hired and be part of the decision making. And so I'm really encouraged by that and then the other day, another but previous question regards to tribes, and money. What are the things that are out there Bristol Bay when we were faced with the Pebble Mine, we've formed an organization that is a tribal organization and we had to get away from the state of Alaska tribal seats, reorganization because it seems as though that number one, we're involved in a lot of litigation, because we were able to be sued, but as a tribe, we were immune from some of the litigation so we formed a tribal organization called United Tribes or Mr. Bae. And during that time, looking at funding, we were able to, as a tribal organization, were able to seek funding from foundations. And that was able to assist us in a big way in regards to fighting for saving our salmon out there, but I just want to share those two things. Thank you.
Thank you, Tom. Okay. Oh, go ahead.
Can I offer just one more comment? I feel like my earlier comments were incomplete and didn't quite get to it. I think another answer to the question is what the tribe define consultation? And that that may be the answer.
That's a good point. Andrew, thank you. I'm with Menendez. Okay. What do I see more? Van Casa van door has a hand up. I will recognize Mark Mark is asking native it's just a chair of those of the seaboard border fisheries. And Mark in my opinions was awesome. So Mark, as your hands up Sona mute. Yeah.
Thanks, Ben. Can you all hear me? I have a terrible cold and sorry. Yeah. Here. Yeah. So and perhaps I'm a little late, you know, in this portion of the discussion, but I was really thinking about some of the legislative reform part of the panel discussion and one of the things that I have experienced on the board of fishery is I keep running up against the Dow. And there has been many examples in it, especially in the last year and Prince William Sound and also in se when there was consensus amongst all the user groups amongst subsistence user group sport user groups commercial personal use, of the will and the intent and the recognition of the subsistence priority and trying to provide opportunities for that subsistence priority for for people and one of the things that we continue to bump up against is is this McDowell legislation and we've tried to get a little bit creative about how do we, you know, Can we can we structure regulations that allow for tribal permits? Well, no, then it becomes community permits, and then that really opens it up. And one of the examples that was given during a board of fish meeting was, well, if you have a community group, that you're allowing a community harvest permit for it could be the ski club of Eagle River could apply for this permit. Well, that's not so much of an issue if you're in a, an area where there's, that's difficult or expensive to access. But when you have rural designated areas that are relatively easy to access, for example, in Prince William Sound, that becomes a real problem and a real threat to the the folks that live in and subsist in those areas. So, you know, that has been a point of frustration for me as I continue to review and engage in subsistence proposals at the border fisheries level, and I would just offer that up to the you know, the great minds that are on this panel and collectively who are participating in this. This forum, that that has been an issue that I've experienced is bumping up against McDowell, again and again and again, where there is the intent and there's the will broadly to be able to provide these, this, this priority opportunity, but we just can't do it, or at least that's what we've been advised. So I would just offer that up in terms of potential for legislative reform or something that might be worthy of additional examination. Thank you.
Can I Can I just come in on that one? Okay, yeah. So it is McDowell spawn, but that the real problem that you're facing as a board of fish member is the idea from the Department of Law. And and the, in the, you know, the governor and political, the political people in state that they're interpreting McDowell is meeting all Alaskans are subsistence users. And you don't have to show that you have a customer in traditional use. You don't have to share your way of life depends on it. All Alaskans are automatically subsistence users, according to the state, and that's why you're being advised. That you can't do a like a tribal permit. I mean, a different way to look at McDowell is it's equal access and equal provision. But if you offer a tribe a special hunting or hunting or fishing opportunity, so long as you offer the same opportunity for other communities, to apply for it, that's another way to look at equal protection. So to me, it's a huge problem in the state of Alaska, and I think it's probably a litigation issue, to straighten out what the law means after McDowell and not just assume that the Department of Law is right. All Alaskans are subsistence users. And it's important because we talk a lot about federal law. We talk about our federal lands, we talk a lot about anx lands but there are regions in the state that depend a lot for hunting and fishing on state lands. And so state law also becomes very important.
I agree. Appreciate that. And I think that that was one of the things that we were trying to get at with that. I believe it was the native village of Geneva that had brought forth a proposal that I'm thinking of, and, and it was, you know, we were trying to extend that opportunity to community, right. And then the very broad definition of community, ie, the City Club of Eagle River, you know, would fall under that and so that's again, you know, for the lawyers to to sort out but that is one very specific example. And again, in se we're trying to provide some, some opportunity for subsistence harvest, close to the town size to the villages. There was a lot of there was a lot of will, again amongst all of the user groups to provide that opportunity. Not a little tricky. So anyways, I just offer that up, and I appreciate the discussion and super important Thank you very much.
Thank you so much more. I want to make sure that we address one quick question on this fishery disaster declarations before we move to closing comments. Martha Wittman asked Nunavik Island is not a river so they were less left out of the disaster declarations but experienced significantly low chum harvest last year. So who advocates for groups that were left out of disaster declarations? And then she also asked if there was research being done on these subsistence fisheries, which might be a question we can we can tackle later but if somebody wants to address the disaster declaration issues specifically, I think that would be helpful.
To start, this is something that AFN RS has been looking at, especially with, as you know, NOAA just announced how much money is being spent onto each declaration. There's multiple declarations. I think you can't claim got about 35 million I think could be wrong there. The next step is for a state is to dispense is to do the spend plan. And then I believe OMB has to prove this bedpan before it gets put into effect. One question that we have from AFN is, you know, Martha AFN is here to represent you in that situation. You know, they're, I think, I think the state the states, don't be going to have a public comment period. So you know, email me and we could know when that happens, I get it, you know, and see what they can do there you know, within the span plan so yeah, I think I've covered scoring without any lawyers have
more I can I can jump in with with that too. So I guess the the specific the answer that specific question you're asking Martha, you know, who advocates for groups that are left out? I mean, it's it's I hate saying this but really no one you know, if you haven't been it's so it sort of becomes it becomes important for the for the group to either, you know, advocate for itself or to connect with an organization that's involved in that disaster funding. What Ben is talking about that was when he when he is specifically referencing a state public comment period is really important. Because the state is going to get, you know, a big chunk of money and from the federal government, and they are going to have a period where they asked the public to weigh in on how that money should be spent, and where the state should apportion certain amounts of that money. And that becomes a really crucial moment, I think, for you and for people I knew in the back Island to weigh in and to participate in that process and say, hey, you know, we were we were equally hurt by this and, you know, here's how we were hurt by it. And you should, you know, a certain portion of that money should come to us or should come to organizations that, you know, we are affiliated with, so that we can, you know, obtain a benefit from that money too, because we need it, you know, we need it to to repair the economic harm and the subsistence harm that we experienced. But, you know, I think that your question really gets back to what a lot of you know, us on this panel had been emphasizing, which is the, the involvement, you know, in in the process and the advocacy and it just it becomes really important to be involved in that process. And, you know, like what Ben said to the extent that AFN is there to guide and to and to advise, and to help raise that, that issue and that point for you, I think that, you know, reach reach out to them and do that, and, you know, and to the extent that other organizations like ABCP, or, you know, bsfa or the intertribal Fish Commission can do that. I would really recommend reaching out and and having that conversation.
Thank you, Anna. Well, we're up against time so I want to offer our panelists an opportunity to offer any closing comments that you'd like to add, but specifically, I want to end on a hopeful note so if anybody wants to weigh in on what you think the greatest opportunities for progress on AFN subsistence priorities are in, in the short or long term. We'd love to hear them
well, I'll take a shot at it. I mean, I think that I really believe that there's a possibility that it's not unrealistic, that Alaska Natives could be given the authority to manage hunting and fishing on their own lands and have the right to do that. And at the very least preempt the state from being able to manage Alaska Native lands. I note that at the very end of the Trump administration of the one of the very last acts that they did, was, you know, there's actually return of land to the select save as could many people have lands that had been taken away from them. And they were, they were returned to the tribe. So these kinds of things do happen. I think, with the the Bauer legislation provide some hope. And and I think, you know, it's, there are some real, real progress that can be made with with DOI right now. I mean, finally, and I was think trying to think about this today. I don't remember another time that the, the Solicitor's Office has filed a lawsuit to enforce a Noca and they did that for the Kuskokwim. I mean, I think all the other cases that I can remember, were brought by legal services or nor for, you know, other people to enforce the Noca rights. So I mean, that's a good sign that DOI is wants to be active. So I think I do think there's some real progress that can be made.
I just very quickly agree with Skye on that. And I think, I do think and I said this, I think there is some potential for getting ownership, management rights over lands that native entities own. I think there's some real hope on that. And then way many way back at the beginning of this program, I saw a question in the chat about state recognition. The state legislature just passed the State Tribal recognition bill is HB 123. And it was supposed to be on the ballot this year. I don't know what to make of that. But, you know, maybe something could be made of it because it is a mechanism by which the state of Alaska recognizes federally recognized tribes and in the end, it's supposed to be ground to develop some agreements later on whether it has much effect on subsistence. I doubt it, but it's worth looking into the question was, what is what will be the effect of the bill and I think it's kind of uncertain at this point.
I guess just to build a little bit on on those comments. i i You know, suggested earlier that this is an uncertain time in terms of, you know, the elections that are coming up, and, you know, it's difficult to get things done in Congress when we get into election season, as just a fact. Right? I think it's kind of shut down out here. And everybody focuses on going back to their home districts and campaigning. But I would say that we have, you know, our two senators are incredible advocates for subsistence Alaska Native subsistence, and you see our delegation. Our senators reaching across the aisle to find solutions to advance legislation to protect the Alaska Native community and right to subsistence to the use of Alaska Native handicraft, whether that's in the Commerce Committee, or the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. And so I think there's an incredible opportunity. Yes, we've lost Congressman young. Yes, that's, that's a terrible loss. But you know, having worked for Senator Ted Stevens, for a little while on Capitol Hill, that was kind of an end of the world feeling as well, when we lost Senator Stevens, and we have we have incredible advocates in the Senate, and we move forward and find new solutions. And we're going to do that with our delegation. And, again, building off of what Skye said. There's there's a lot of opportunity to find creative solutions to all the issues we've discussed today. Thank you again for the opportunity to be a part of the discussion.
Thank you was either a Tom or Skye Tyson. Any closing comments?
Well, someone said we should close on an optimistic session here, but I guess I just want to reinforce that, you know, we have to look at all of these options, but it will be the Native community that makes the final decision as to how we are going to proceed. But I also want to say to the Native community, that it is us who has you know, we are the ones who have to advocate, you know, we're not going to have a big Savior come in to save us on subsistence. So it has to depend on us as Native people. And that means we're going to have to raise money. I'm telling you, just being on the subsistence committee and every time we make a proposal, which it always comes with, we need to raise the money. And if and we have to address the subsistence you know, it just can't go on. We keep spending money and money and maybe we make a little advance here and there, but I think we need to press forward for an overall comprehensive solution. And I think the other thing is, I want to call on people, you know, to assist us, I mean, we just had last year, this apology from the Sierra Club for all of their racist behavior, and closing up all the parks, you know, to indigenous people. I think we have to call on those you know, those kinds of national organizations that you know, are realizing that there has to be some social justice and equity for for Native people that you know, whose lands have been taken and I just don't want to get down to just you know, those these sayings again, but it's worked, and it's going to be work that we have to do as Native people and we are going to have to raise money, and we're going to have to call on people, you know, like the environmentalists who are always coming to us, you know, and asking for assistance, but when it comes to us asking for our subsistence assistance we don't hear from that. So anyway, I know that AFN has developed a number of comprehensive packages, but I think we need to bring this to the native people we need to be unified in pursuing legislation that protects us and I know it's not going to be the same a uniform position for everyone because there are going to have to be recognition of some of the differences. So but I think as Native people we need to move forward on this.
Exchange theta. Tom?
Yeah, I could just say a couple of things. I think that, you know, losing by one vote. Last time we practiced our junior I think that was sure a big eye opener and I think that one of the things we're sure that we need to discuss with opponents of subsistence reaching out to both the congressional as well as the legislative bodies to find out why and what their thoughts are and also the organization's wrecked outdoor counsel and and see whether or not there is any middle ground that we can work with him. And as Regina pointed out, that resources is really important. We need the resources. If we're going to seek a solution regardless of whether it's legal or whether it's federal or state solution. resources have got to be identified. And we have to be able to work with them and of course, this administration with just the clock is ticking and we're going to get a federal solution. We need the administration behind us. And so time is of the essence, but definitely there's a lot of challenges that are that we're faced with, but I think cooperatively I think that we can make headway and in the final solution to our listing. Thank you to all the books that you know, which then put us on. Thank you.
coriana So, we are 12 minutes past noon. We're supposed to be two hours. I know it's lunchtime. I don't want to keep people hungry and people going hungry. So you know, Ana, Ana, sky or Tyson within the say say now or forever hold your peace I guess
Okay, gets going I guess. I don't know what else to say after about Rosita and Tom have said you know, part of me being a fan staff is an honor of hearing and working from them and I've learned a lot from was the a Tom and Skye in the group here. Really, really this right? These workshops take about resources. We need legal opinions need policy opinions we need all this stuff takes time and action and money. And no offense to lawyers here but lawyers are expensive. So you know, please consider how you can help AFM if you can't help AFM financially to address these issues. I'm open please send me your pictures picture's worth 1000 words. And I remember when we sent policy briefs to DC, obviously is paragraphs but you actually don't see what substance is through our pictures. So if you have really good pictures for free, and share that with me, your stories, your account subsystems and barriers that you see. You know, the more more with that and the more we can share with our dedication and administration. So my door's always open to the group here. Together we can do some awesome things. And also, this workshop is gonna be recorded so if you want to go back listen to it. We should have that up within 24 hours or so. And the link is the same link worked on other two workshops. And also there's a link there that goes to our subsistence action, you know, defense site for you know, financial assistance. So, anyways, let me know your questions and I just want to thank the group. Thank you Melinda for this awesome panel and, and Tom and Rosita, and Mara, thank you for being here as well. Good exchange Kiana Anna bossy. Thank you. Thank you