The historic meeting kicked off Tuesday evening with a welcome dinner for delegates. The gathering brings together a broad group of representatives from 65 tribes and corporations, plus regional non-profits like AVCP, YKHC, and AVCP housing.
The meeting is not open to the public. Only registered delegates will be admitted. Each tribe and corporation has selected a person to attend.
Organizers expressed a desire that representatives will be willing to share their thoughts freely. And the agenda certainly includes a number of potentially sensitive items. The meeting Wednesday morning opens with a presentation entitled: “What is indigenous sovereignty and what did ANCSA do to the sovereignty of the people of the Y-K Delta region?”
It’s then followed by a discussion that asks: Are the people of the Y-K Delta region “better off” than we were 40 years ago before ANCSA?
The resolution passed by the Calista board takes a critical look at legislation like the Indian Reorganization Act and ANCSA. It says that in the 40 years since passage of the ANCSA the native people in the region have experienced negative effects and an epidemic of social afflictions. That includes “inadequate provision of federal and state services and infrastructure support.”
The tribal sovereignty has been undermined, the resolution lists a “dramatic weakening of the ability to self-govern through diminished sovereignty and power of self determination.”
The meeting will discuss many of those issues and could take the next steps toward making a steering committee to write up a strategic plan.
The meeting is closed to the media. KYUK will not broadcast the meeting, although there are plans to interview someone from the meeting each day.
Calista Communication manager Thom Leonard tells KYUK that it was an executive level decision from the organizers to keep the doors closed.
The agenda and background information is available at Calista’s website.