"Alaska Native Leaders Call For Legal Overhaul To Protect Subsistence

"Frustration over salmon scarcities and long-running federal-state conflicts lead to push for overhaul of federal subsistence law to make it more Indigenous-focused"

"The crash of salmon stocks in Western Alaska’s Kuskokwim River has sparked a bitter court fight between the federal and state governments, and now Alaska Native leaders are calling for congressional action to ensure that Indigenous Alaskans have priority for harvests when stocks are scarce.

The conflict has gripped this year’s Alaska Federation of Natives convention underway this week in Anchorage, where delegates expressed anger over state policies and fears for the future of fish and wildlife upon that they and their ancestors traditionally harvested.

A resolution introduced at the convention urges the federal government to “aggressively protect our hunting and fishing rights in court” against a state government that is “actively undermining Alaska Natives’ rights to subsistence.” The resolution also calls for Congress to strengthen federal law to “permanently protect the right of Alaska Native people to engage in subsistence fishing” in Alaska waters.

Subsistence is the term that describes traditional harvests of fish, game and plants for personal and noncommercial use. Salmon has traditionally been a subsistence staple."

Yereth Rosen reports for the Alaska Beacon October 20, 2023.

Source: Alaska Beacon, 10/23/2023