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AFN leaders meet with Secretary of the Interior

June 9th | Carey Restino Print this article   Email this article  

Alaska Federation of Natives leaders have been busy this week not only with planning of this fall's convention, but also meeting with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who was in Alaska last week meeting with organizations and individuals throughout the state.

Julie Kitka, AFN president, said the meeting was "very productive."

"We emphasized that Alaska Native corporations, tribes and organizations are ready to partner with the federal government to boost Alaska's economy, help lift Alaska out of its economic recession, and take on more of the services and management currently done by the government," Kitka said, adding that she and the AFN board look forward to working with the secretary and his staff in coming months.

Kitka said the group covered many topics at the meeting including the role of Alaska as a strategic crossroads in the Arctic and the challenges and opportunities that presents. They also discussed the relationship between the federal government and Alaska Natives as independent, self-determined peoples with a government-to-government relationship with the federal government and federally recognized tribes.

Kitka said the AFN group suggested a common goal of expanding economic growth to help pull Alaska out of its current recession, as well as the need for emergency preparedness and response plans for every community and region in Alaska.

"AFN believes a strong, forward-looking and collaborative relationship with the Department of the Interior is essential to improving the lives and well-being of Native people and all Alaskans," Kitka said.


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