Alaska Federation of Natives Unanimously Endorses Alaskans for Better Government Ballot Initiative

Press Release: ABG Endorsements 11.23.21

‘Wáahlaal Gíidaak Barbara Blake Anchorage, Alaska
November 23, 2021 Media@alaskansforbettergovernment.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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With a unanimous vote, Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) endorsed the Alaskans for Better Government ballot initiative during a recent meeting of the Board of Directors. They join a growing list of endorsers to call on the State to formally recognize, by law, the Tribes of Alaska.

“This proposed ballot initiative is a bellwether of the attitudes and beliefs of Alaskans. Our tribes are already federally recognized. That’s a fact. Support for getting this on the ballot will give Alaskans an opportunity to acknowledge and urge state policy makers to keep making progress in state-tribal relations. Our people have been here since time immemorial, and our fellow Alaskans showing respect is very positive. Get involved and help get this on the ballot,“ said Julie Kitka, President of AFN.

AFN is the largest statewide organization in Alaska dedicated to enhancing and promoting the cultural, economic and political voice of the entire Alaska Native community. Representing a consortium of Tribes and tribal consortia, village corporations, regional corporations, and Native non-profits, AFN has historically provided political endorsements in the months before an election. The swift and unanimous vote speaks volumes of the growing momentum for a long-overdue step towards securing a government-to-government relationship between the State and Tribes.

Six other endorsers join AFN in support of Alaskans for Better Government, including Sealaska Corporation, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes, Tangirnaq Native Village, Old Harbor Native Village Corporation, Copper River Native Association and Sealaska Heritage Institute. During last week’s Annual Local Government Conference in Anchorage, the Alaska Municipal League also unanimously voted to support State recognition of Tribes.

“There has been many years of confusion and resistance to recognizing Alaska’s Tribes. Among our three branches of government, the state court has acknowledged that Tribes are here and continue to exist as sovereigns; the executive branch, through the Attorney General, has issued an opinion that found the same. The legislature has not yet been able to do that, so this is a path to having the third branch give final recognition. This initiative does not change the law, but what I would say to that is, our laws are a reflection of our values,” said Alex Cleghorn,

This communication was paid for by Alaskans for Better Government, 721 Depot Dr, Suite 100, Anchorage, AK 99501. Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson, Chair, approved this communication. Top contributors are Sixteen Thirty Fund, Washington, DC; Tides Advocacy, San Francisco, CA; and Copper River Native Association, Copper Center, AK.

President of the Tangirnaq Native Village.

Alaskans for Better Government is a simple, straightforward mechanism to streamline service delivery; amplify federal and state funding for deep, sustainable, and long-term impact; and tap into the 10,000 plus years of Indigenous knowledge in order to enhance the lives of all Alaskans.

Tribal governments in Alaska lead the nation in efficient management of resources and provision of services for their citizens, and play a crucial role in advocating for better governance. State recognition would improve the relationship between the State and Tribal governments to work together more effectively.

A volunteer and paid signature drive is underway across the state to collect more than 36,000 signatures before the start of the legislative session for the initiative to qualify for the 2022 ballot. Alaskans who wish to learn more, get involved, or donate to the campaign can visit www.AlaskansForBetterGovernment.com.

Press Contact: Alex Murphy, Campaign Manager – Alaskans for Better Government, media@alaskansforbettergovernment.com

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