FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Alaskans for Better Government has collected more than 55,000 signatures from Alaskans in support of an initiative to formalize the State’s government-to-government relationship with Tribes, blazing past the initial goal of 36,140. The campaign will submit petition booklets to the Division of Elections for verification today, after completing the signature drive nearly 3 weeks ahead of schedule.
Canvassers secured signatures from every single house district in Alaska, riding a tidal wave of support.
“Our signature requirement was the highest a ballot initiative has faced in 20 years. The fact that we finished early with backing from every community underscores that Alaskans understand how commonsense this is” said Chalyee Éesh Richard Peterson, President of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and co-chair of the campaign. “This initiative will open doors to more federal funding, better policy, and a more respectful partnership between the state and our Tribes to address issues that impact all Alaskans,” he said.
In conjunction with the completion of the signature drive, the campaign has engaged a distinguished group of Alaska Native leaders to form its Steering Committee and guide the initiative to victory:
- Marina Anderson – Executive Director at Organized Village of Kasaan
- Melanie Bahnke – President and CEO of Kawerak, Inc and Tribal member of the Native Village of Savoonga
- Gloria Burns – President of Ketchikan Indian Community
- Julie Kitka – President of Alaska Federation of Natives
- Joe Nelson – Tribal member of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and Yakutat Tlingit Tribe, Sealaska Board Chair
- Rhonda Pitka – Chief of the Village of Beaver, Chair of Athabascan Tribal Governments
- Lisa Wade – Executive Director for the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council
Alaskans for Better Government continues to receive key endorsements and financial support from prominent local organizations, most notably a $10,000 contribution from Sealaska corporation. Koniag Corporation, Alaska March On, and the Organized Village of Kake join a growing coalition of organizations driving the campaign for tribal recognition.
Alaskans who wish to learn more, get involved, or donate to the campaign can visit www.AlaskansForBetterGovernment.com.