Last week, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska took the floor of the U.S. Senate to let his colleagues know about the accomplishments of James Charles, a Tuntutuliak elder and a tireless conservation advocate.
"Mr. President, today I wish to transport you to the village of Tuntutuliak," said Sullivan, "and introduce you to a truly amazing elder who, for 77 years, has worked tirelessly for his community and for our State."
Sullivan paid tribute to Charles as part of his “Alaskan of the Week” series. Every week, he takes the Senate floor and publicly recognizes an Alaskan who’s making a difference in their community.
Born in 1940 at a fish camp below Helmick Point, Charles has been active in subsistence management for more than 50 years. He served on the Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council, the Fish and Game Advisory Council, the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group, and the Kuskokwim River Intertribal Fisheries Commission. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized Charles as a “Conservation Hero” last year.
In an interview last October with KYUK's Anna Rose MacArthur, Charles talked about his childhood in Tuntituliak, the way he approaches fish and river management, and the lessons his own elders passed on to him.
"Keep doing the job you are given until you can’t work anymore," he said.