SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Walker-Mallott Administration Establishes Tribal Advisory Council


October 18, 2015
Sunday PM

(SitNews) - Governor Bill Walker signed an administrative order last week at the 4th Annual AFN-NCAI Tribal Conference to establish a Governor’s Tribal Advisory Council (GTAC) to improve the relationship between the state and the 229 federally recognized tribes in Alaska. Governor Walker first announced the creation of GTAC during a three-day visit in August with tribes in Akiachak, Tuluksak, Chalkyitsik and Haines.

“It was invaluable to hear directly from tribal leaders and village residents about their concerns and hopes,” Governor Walker said. “Tribes are struggling to hold on to their centuries-old way of life—on land where their ancestors have lived for thousands of years. They want to maintain and preserve that connection for their children and grandchildren. But the high cost of energy and lack of infrastructure in some cases are preventing them from thriving.”

Governor Walker said he hopes to form a partnership with GTAC to improve the lives of tribal members.

GTAC will be comprised of 11 council representatives, who represent Alaska’s federally recognized tribes’ interests in education, health care, subsistence, energy, public safety, justice, wildlife and fisheries, economic development, housing, language and culture, and transportation. The elected tribal leaders will be nominated by tribes and appointed by the governor.

“It is essential that the state’s highest office have direct communication with tribes to meet the unique needs of Alaska’s first people,” said Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott. “We are not a monolithic group, and I’m confident this formalized relationship will ensure the state and tribes can work together, government to government, to tackle the various issues facing Alaskans.”

During his trip to rural Alaska, Governor Walker learned the Chalkyitsik school is on the verge of closing, as it does not have the minimum of 10 students required for continued state funding. Village residents fear this will trigger out-migration.

“I have tasked members of my administration to look into ways to keep schools open, taking into consideration our limited funding, as they are often the heart of a community, especially in rural regions of the state,” Governor Walker said. “Ensuring a quality education for young people on land where they have ancestral roots maintains vital connection to their culture and traditional way of life.”

In the past decade, 20 schools around Alaska have closed because they did not have the required minimum student enrollment. There are currently 33 schools with 15 or fewer students.

A tribal member noted that Governor Walker is the first governor since Governor Jay Hammond to visit Chalkyitsik; another tribal member noted that Governor Walker is the first governor to ever visit Tuluksak.


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Office of Alaska Governor Bill Walker


Publish A Letter in SitNews

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2015
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.