Yup’ik hopeful about Obama’s Native Affairs Council

by Sophie Evan on July 10, 2013

photo courtesy of NCAI

photo courtesy of NCAI

The General Assembly of the National Congress of American Indians, or N-C-A-I recently held their mid year conference in Reno, Nevada. Mike Williams Senior of Akiak attended the conference. He spoke with Sophie Evan about the Executive Order creating a White House Council on Native American Affairs.

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Yup’ik

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Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made the announcement of the White House Council on Native American Affairs; Mike Williams Senior was there.

“her statement became emotional, she really felt the need for President Obama and the White House to work closely with the 565 tribal governments from through out the United States,” says Williams.

Here in Alaska there are 229, and within our region, 56 Federally Recognized Tribes. Williams explains what the Presidential Executive Order means to Native America.

“we want to make sure that the Tribal Government voices are heard directly to the White House, to work closely with the White House Domestic Policy Council, more effective consultation between tribes,” says Williams.

Williams was just voted in as the NCAI Area Vice President. He says NCAI officials, including himself, will continue to hold annual meetings with President Obama. He says they’ve already had three.

“Alaska will have an effective voice right there at the White House and that is very important,” says Williams.

He says there are four important Alaskan resolutions that will be discussed at this year’s annual meeting. A resolution asking for equality on the Violence Against Women’s Act, which currently excludes Alaska Natives. A resolution asking for a lower Chinook by catch on the high seas, the third asking for two Tribal seats on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, and the last resolution addresses the Alaska Native Restoration Act.

N-C-A-I President Jefferson Keel says, “President Obama’s Executive Order represents a very strong step forward to strengthen our nation-to-nation relationship.”

The next annual NCAI meeting is in October in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Williams encourages representatives from all of the Y/K Delta’s 56 tribes to attend.
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