SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska




March 15, 2016
Tuesday AM

(SitNews) Saxman, Alaska - After ten years of arduous effort, the Organized Village of Saxman announced they are filled with gratitude at the recent decision by the Federal Subsistence Board (FSB) to remove Saxman from the list of nonrural communities, thereby recognizing Saxman as a rural community. Under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), rural community members enjoy a priority to harvest wild fish and game on federal public lands and waters. In 2006, however, the Village of Saxman took the stance that the FSB wrongfully classified Saxman as a non-rural community, thereby denying its citizens the subsistence rights they had exercised since time immemorial.

The Federal Subsistence Board (FSB) officially restored the rural status of Saxman on March 10, 2016. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) grants a harvest priority of fish and game on public lands, but this priority is only extended to “rural communities”; however, in 2006, under political pressure from the State of Alaska, the FSB terminated Saxman’s rural status and grouped the village with the larger city of Ketchikan. Represented by Native American Rights Fund, Saxman later filed suit to restore its rural status, but parties settled the case in favor of this administrative fix.

The Organized Village of Saxman, worked for over ten years to restore the community’s rural status. The Native American Rights Fund expressed congratulations to all of the tribal citizens and community members who worked for so long to restore their essential subsistence rights.

“The importance of being recognized as a rural community is acute for Saxman and is crucial to survival. Subsistence is an essential cultural practice, a traditional worldview that is at the heart of surviving and thriving in Saxman,” said Lee Wallace, Tribal President of the Organized Village of Saxman.

The preference for the taking of fish and wildlife resources for subsistence uses on federal public lands and waters in Alaska, when these resources are sometimes scarce, is profoundly important to a traditional culture that has lived and breathed this lifestyle for millennia. The affirmation of being classified as rural means the retention and sustenance of natural resource harvest will remain for generations into the future.

“In Saxman, subsistence is a meaningful traditional cultural practice and a way of living and prospering in this world,” added President Wallace. “All those days, all those doubts of the last ten years, are behind the Tribe now."

Wallace said he praises and thanked the Federal Subsistence Board for recognizing that Saxman is indeed rural, the Alaska Federation of Natives, Sealaska Corporation, and Cape Fox Corporation for assisting.

"Give praise to Dr. Daniel Monteith for his support, give praise to the Native American Rights Fund, who were a source of strength, give praise to the Tribes who bolstered Saxman up, give praise to the faithful tribal citizens and community members who gave moral support and testimony, and especially give praise to God the Creator, who indelibly oversees all good,” said Wallace.



Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

The Organized Village of Saxman

Native American Rights Fund


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