2017 Nunakauyak Kivgiq

The 2017 March 24-26 Kivgiq was once again a wonderful event. It started out as a memorial event to honor our late Chief Paul John and ended up as a memorial to all those Elders who passed on some of their knowledge and culture to the next generations.

It continues to be a successful event each year because those involved in its preparation and production participate full heartedly. The Nunakauyak Traditional Dancers would like to extend their heart-felt gratitude to the local organizations (City of Toksook Bay, Nunakauyak Traditional Council, Bayview and Nunakauiak Yupik Corporation) for all their generous donations of money, gifts, and services. We want to thank LKSD for the use of the gym. We also want to thank those very special teachers who have given not just their time to help but also be involved in our dances.

We also want to acknowledge the very generous airlines. Grant Air not only donated two round-trip tickets but gave us discounted fares to transport Elders and Dancers from the surrounding villages. Their service was also very efficient. Quyana!!!

RAVN based out of Saint Marys enabled us to have Kotlik participate by extending to us a very competitive fare for their transportation. This was the first year Ryan Air was included in our request for donations and they responded with a certificate for free freight! Thank you all so very much!

We want to thank all those dancers from the surrounding villages (Newtok, Tununak, Nightmute, and Chefornak) and those from Chevak and Kotlik for participating in this event. You all made our village shine. Last, but not least, we cherish our young people. Quyana for not just dancing but also for all the volunteering you did. You are wonderful!!!

Charles Moses
Toksook Bay, AK

Volleyball Fundraiser Thanks

The Kwethluk Bears Volleyball Team would like to thank the following sponsors who helped make our fundraiser a success and to those who helped us during the season with airfare for travel to one of our meets. A BIG THANK YOU to: Napakiak Northern Lights Band, Kwethluk, Inc., Organized Village of Kwethluk, City of Kwethluk, Calista Corporation, Donlin Gold, Wassillie Paul, Adrian Sergie, Cukayak Olick, Alice Rivers and Nicolai Alexie for their donations. We would also like to thank the parents who volunteered during our fundraiser: Alice Nicholas, Catherine “Dilly” Alexie, Chariton & Julia Epchook, Joanne Jackson, Evan Olick, Jr., Adrian Sergie, Alice Rivers, Richard Long and Elena Egoak. Once again, thank you to everyone who came and those organizations or individuals who donated for your support. Thank you!

Kaitlyn David, Captain
Michael Egoak, Captain

Christine Guy, Coach
Kwethluk, AK

YK Delta Yupik & Athabaskan Tribes

Tribal Councils: 56 villages; Yukon Kuskokwim Delta

Invitation: Regional Governance Conference: April 4, 2017

I am writing to you again because you are the leaders of our people

The YK delta tribes are being invited to a meeting April 4, 2017 in Bethel to set a timeline for, and to begin the process of, creating a regional tribal government unifying the area’s 56 federally recognized tribes.

The April 4 meeting was called by the representatives of the tribes who participated in the March 8 and 9, 2017 YK Delta Intertribal Conference called to address liquor sales in Bethel, the Donlin Creek Gold Mine, Senate Bill 18, and the lack of public safety and law enforcement in many of our villages.

They called for the April 4, 2017 meeting because after two days of listening to reports from law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, the Office of Children Services, YKHC, Donlin Gold and the yet to be introduced “3rd class borough” initiative, they realized that they needed the assistance and support of the other tribes if they hoped to have any voice in the development of our historical homeland.

The March 8, 9, 2017 Intertribal conference highlighted the disorganized state of our region, our 56 villages, our inability to respond timely, in concert, and in unity, to issues affecting the health and well-being of our lands, our sovereignty, our waters, our families, our women, and our children.

Life for our families has been negatively affected by liquor sales in Bethel. Over 20 of our villages have no public safety or law enforcement. The region is assailed by poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and most tragically, child neglect, abuse and suicide. Still, no organized response from us, the tribes; no plans or goals to arrest the suffering, to begin the process of healing and recovery.

Donlin Gold, if it ever goes into production, will be one of the largest placer gold mines in the world, a gold mine without a local government in place to monitor and regulate its operations (qaunqestaunani) and to safeguard the health and well being of the villages and the environment around it.

It has always been the intent to have the tribes and Calista develop Donlin Creek. The subsurface is owned by Calista, by the Native people of this region, it cannot be developed without their full participation because the mine is going to have a lasting impact if it is ever developed.

The Yupik and Athabascan people of the YK delta are going to pay a price for the development of Donlin Creek, it is going to change life for our people, especially those on the river – it does not have to spill tailings into the Kuskokwim to negatively affect life in our villages, including our subsistence way of life.

Senator Lyman Hoffman wants to have the legislature mandate a borough blanketing the Calista region to tax Donlin Creek and “to lower energy costs.”

The tribes have not been consulted, nor have they discussed the matter together although a state mandated borough would pre-empt their sovereignty, their right to self determination under PL 93-638.

Phillip Peter of Akiachak says that we have been talking about creating a government to protect our Way of life and advance our causes for forty years, and now that one is needed – it isn’t there. He said that we had to call the other tribes together and create the government that our elders called for in 1976.

The decision to govern ourselves through a non profit corporation, AVCP Inc., was always a temporary solution. Our late elders did not trust corporations, they did not want to be governed by one. They did not trust boroughs either – they voted one down after a study conducted in 1981.

For Eddie Hoffman’s generation, uniting the villages politically was accepted as the only way for our villages to remain independent (sovereign); the best way to protect our ancestral lands, our subsistence way of Life, our cultures and our languages.

They had realized what Phillip Peter sees now: that what one village couldn’t accomplish 56 could; what one village couldn’t stop, 56 could. They saw clearly that only through unity and united action would we be able to improve, protect, and advance our Yuuyaraq out here in the YK delta.

In the recent past, forty two tribes voted in a Calista sponsored tribal meeting to create a regional tribal government. Those 42 tribes need to attend the April 4, 2017 meeting and finish the job. The other 14 should attend, especially if they oppose the creation of a regional tribal government, if they believe the other 42 are wrong.

The Calista region, the jurisdiction being discussed, is as large as the state of Oregon with over 40,000 Yupik and Athabascan members living in 56 villages. It is historically and culturally integrated and bound by the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers and the Bering Sea.

The April 4, 2017 meeting will the third regional conference on creating a “regional tribal government” for the 56 tribes within the Yukon Kuskokwim delta. The first two were sponsored by the Calista Corporation as its board of directors believe that a supportive government is a prerequisite for successful economic development.

We hope to secure an authorizing resolution from the tribes on April 4, 2017 setting a timeline for an August constitutional convention and a plebiscite adopting the constitution set for November 7, 2017.

Please call Mike Williams, Akiak Native Community at 9077652061 if you have any questions.

Harold Napoleon, Native Village of Paimiut
Hooper Bay, AK