President's Activities Update: July 2012
NCAI July Executive Committee Teleconference
The Executive Committee of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) held a regularly scheduled teleconference meeting and received updates on the following:
Violence Against Women Act
HEARTH (Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership) Act
Supreme Court decision that impacts the Indian Healthcare Act
NCAI Health Fellowship Workshop
Federal Transportation legislation
Consumer Financial Education Initiative for recipients of Indian legal settlements
Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum
NCAI staff has been sending out alerts on these topics as well as posting them on their website…please take the time to visit www.ncai.org for details.
Forest Industries Symposium
The Sealaska Timber Corporation (STC) held a “Southeast Alaska Timber Industry Futures” symposium in Seattle. The purpose of this symposium was to gather information from successful and experienced timber production executives throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska to discuss practical approaches in assessing the viability of different timber related businesses in Southeast Alaska. It is important to thoroughly investigate whether or not the timber industry in Southeast will survive given that most Native old growth timber is nearly depleted and second growth Native timber is not suitable for traditional markets. Southeast Alaska economies and the quality of life for our people in rural areas are better when there are long-term industry activities in our communities. Information provided at the meeting showed just how very expensive it is to build and operate mills in our region. It is clear that the high cost of energy and transportation will be important factors in considering a timber production business in Southeast Alaska.
Seattle Tlingit Haida Picnic
The Seattle Tlingit & Haida Community Council Picnic was a great success! The attendance was good and the weather cooperated. The picnic was held at Allen York Park in Lake Tapps, which is a little East of Auburn, Washington. This is a very nice park with good access to parking. With the picnic held in the “south-end” of the Puget Sound area there were new faces [from when they are held in the north-end] and it was good to see some folks that I had not seen for a while. The food was excellent and the kids enjoyed the games.
Executive Council July Teleconference
The Executive Council had a regularly scheduled July teleconference in which I gave a verbal overview of my activities for the past couple of months. Corrine Garza provided a written report that she referred to in her verbal report; and CFO Theresa Belton reviewed financial reports. An important point within my report was the fact that so many of our clients are not sticking with their work readiness plans or work search efforts which means that benefits will be adjusted for those out of compliance with regulations and policies. We are very appreciative of the extra efforts Sixth Vice-President Lowell Halverson put forth to help the Kuskokwim subsistence fishermen in their battle with the State of Alaska. First Vice-President Will Micklin has been leading the charge on our land into trust efforts; he and Lowell have been working with ATNI, AFN, and NCAI on this very important issue. The business side of the Tribe is stable and we are on target with most budgets. We passed one resolution; authorized a donation to AFN; received a report from Melissa Kookesh on Native Vote; and heard a concern from Fourth Vice-President Richard Peterson that the youth employees under our Summer Youth Program were not getting paid timely. We followed up to tighten up paperwork issues to correct the problem.
AFN – Convention Committee Meeting
The Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Committee held a special meeting to give input into the agenda proposed by AFN President Julie Kitka. This meeting did not have a quorum so we may only call it a work session for the purpose of providing input to the agenda. It is often very difficult for committee members to meet in the summer and so we will use this process in the future.
White House Forum on Indian Housing
It was an honor to be invited to a White House Tribal Leaders Forum on Indian Housing that the White House staff pulled together. Besides White House staff who work on Native American issues, key administrators from the Department of the Interior, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) attended to share important housing and business development information with tribal representatives. Some tribal leaders were in attendance, others had tribal council members and administrators in attendance, while others were represented by their housing authority officials. I was impressed by how active USDA is in housing issues.
USFS Acknowledgement Ceremony at ANB/ANS Convention
The United States Forest Service (USFS) held an “acknowledgement ceremony” at the past two Tribal Assemblies to acknowledge the wrong done to Southeast Alaska Natives when the USFS burnt or destroyed Native smokehouses and fish camps several decades ago. They are willing to work with the Tribe to give this acknowledgement a proper presentation to the Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp Convention that will be held in Sitka in early October. I feel it is very important to do this properly in that the fight for our homeland began from ANB actions many years ago.
I took the week following the Fourth of July off.
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