Alaska Native Fund – 2012 Grantees  

Advancing Alaska Native Priorities for Protecting the Land and Sustaining Our Ways of Life

The Alaska Native Fund awarded its first round of grants in December 2011. Nine organizations were chosen from around the state to advance Alaska Native priorities.

Far North

  • Organization: Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope (ICAS)
    Project: Traditional Knowledge Facilitation Project

    Each year, Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope (ICAS) is responsible for making policy decisions and resolutions on a number of important issues aimed at preserving the Arctic environment. ICAS believes global warming is a critical issue and recognizes the importance of factoring climate change into policy making decisions. With support from the Alaska Native Fund, ICAS will document climate change observations in Pt. Lay, Wainright, and Barrow and the relationship between climate change and Inupiat culture for use as a reference for their Board, staff and other decision-making bodies.

Southwest

  • Organization: Bering Sea Elders Advisory Group (BSEAG)
    Project: Traditional Elders and Northern Bering Sea Fisheries Policy

    The Bering Sea Elders Advisory Group (BSEAG) formed in 2007, to unify traditional leadership and foster collaboration between tribes across two large regions of the Bering Sea (Yukon-Kuskokwim and Bering Strait). With support from the Alaska Native Fund, BSEAG will work to achieve two major objectives: 1) a decision by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to extend the boundary around Nunivak Island and Kuskowkim Bay from bottom trawling to protect subsistence and local commercial fisheries in the region; and 2) permanent protection status for the northern Bering Sea Research Area to protect subsistence into the future. They will work with Tribes in the Yukon-Kuskokwim and Bering Strait regions to develop a united strategy toward these objectives.

Southeast

  • Organization: Organized Village of Kasaan
    Project:  Prince of Whales Tribal Sea Otter Coalition.

    The management of natural resources that both humans and sea otters consume has been identified as a high priority for the entire Southeast Alaska region. The Alaska Native Fund will support initial data collection to understand sea otter diets, and the development of the Prince of Wales Island Tribal Sea Otter coalition. The coalition will serve as a communication vehicle for local gatherers, enforcement and regulatory agencies, and conservation interests, resulting in consultation and collaboration toward an effective management plan.
  • Organization: The Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission
    Project: Harbor seal management in Disenchantment & Yakutat Bays: Tribal Options

    In 1995, native leaders formed the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission (ANHSC) to conserve harbor seals and their habitat. Over the past two decades there has been a decline of seals due in part to increased cruise ship traffic. Support from the Alaska Native Fund will help ANHSC:  (1) introduce Elders, hunters and youth to other efforts to develop local management plans that endorse tribal authority while maintaining customs and traditions, (2) assist the community in evaluating and developing local management plans, and (3) develop a mentoring program to sustain traditional practices and obtain essential information needed to effectively manage resources in a manner that reflects local customs and traditional law.

Statewide/International

  • Organization: Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC)-Alaska
    Project: Traditional Knowledge/Science Development Project

    ICC-Alaska is a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of the Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Yupik, and Cupik of Alaska and is a member country of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). Confronted by environmental, social and industry changes that ultimately stem from climate change, there is a need to understand Arctic communities’ connection to the environment of which they are a part. Along with the Arctic’s rapidly changing environment, the relationship held between the Inuit and wildlife of the Arctic is also changing, threatening food security. The Alaska Native Fund will support a TEK/Science Advisor at ICC-Alaska and help achieve the following: (1) identify food security paradigms, basic concepts and principles; (2) identify tools and approaches in assessing food security; (3) identify gaps within Alaska Arctic research which inhibit understanding of food security and the human dimension; and (4) develop a baseline framework by which Arctic food security may be assessed, from an Inuit perspective.
  • Organization: International Indian Treaty Council (IITC)  in collaboration with Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT)
    Project: 2nd Indigenous Women’s Environmental and Reproductive Health Symposium
    The Chickaloon Traditional Village will host the 2nd Symposium, drawing attention to their current efforts to oppose the Usibelli Coal Mine and its associated impacts upon community health and way of life. Fifty Indigenous women will attend the Symposium from Tribal communities around the state. Key environmental concerns to be addressed include the impacts of military toxics; coal, copper and gold mining; mercury; oil and gas development; and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP’s).

Interior

  • Organization: Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association
    Project: Engaging Indigenous Knowledge to Reduce Chum Salmon Bycatch in the Pollock Fishery

    Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association (YRDFA) works to promote healthy, wild fisheries and cultures for the 42 primarily Alaska Native communities in the Alaska portion of the Yukon River drainage.  YRDFA is currently working to address 3 main issues facing the Yukon River: 1) declining salmon runs, 2) the lack of a coordinated conservation-based salmon management plan and 3) threats to Alaska Native culture and community welfare from declining subsistence and commercial catches. With support from the Alaska Native Fund, YRDFA will  work  to achieve bycatch reductions; build Indigenous Knowledge into Council analyses and policy decisions; organize a Western coalition of Indigenous and marine conservation groups to unite strategies for addressing decision-making bodies; and engage key Western Alaska groups and residents in building a strong voice for salmon bycatch reduction, in an effort to further influence the Council’s policies.
  • Organization: Native Village of Elim
    Project: Tubuktulik River Watershed Assessment Project

    The Native Village of Elim (NVE) will develop a Watershed Assessment for the Tubutulik River Watershed in order to better understand the potential impacts of proposed uranium mining and other development upon the watershed and community. Ultimately, using the Assessment, the NVE in partnership with other Alaska Native villages, state and federal entities, research institutes and other stakeholders will establish the Norton Bay Watershed Council. The Watershed Council will develop a Watershed Management Plan which will address water quality and quantity protection activities.

Southcentral

  • Organization: Native Village of Tyonek (NVT)- IRA Council
    Project: Protecting the Chuitna River from Coal Development

    The Native Village of Tyonek (NVT) is located 45-air miles from Anchorage across the Cook Inlet. The NVT relies on a subsistence lifestyle that is centuries old, and wild, healthy salmon are a vital component of NVT’s traditional way of life. Pac Rim Coal is actively seeking state and federal permits to operate the Chuitna coal strip mine – which would be Alaska’s largestcoal strip mine on the western shores of Cook Inlet near the communities of Tyonek and Beluga. 98% of the Villagers oppose the Chuitna coal mine. NVT will meet with federal and state permitting agencies on a government to government basis and collect tribal resolutions opposed to the mine throughout Cook Inlet.