The Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP) stands in solidarity with the Organized Village of Kake and commends the actions of the Federal Subsistence Board in protecting the welfare of rural Alaskan communities in light of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.
Many tribal communities in rural Alaska immediately responded to the threat posed by the pandemic by instituting travel restrictions to prevent or delay spread of the virus. These restrictions, coupled with disrupted air service, local grocery store shortages, and the extremely high cost of living, increased the need for and dependence on subsistence resources by tribal members.
The Federal Subsistence Board appropriately responded to these concerns by instituting a process for opening subsistence hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands to address COVID-related food security emergencies. Under these procedures, the Organized Village of Kake requested and was granted an emergency hunt. As a result they were able to distribute meat to 135 households in need.
AVCP is extremely disappointed in the State of Alaska’s decision to sue the Federal Subsistence Board (State of Alaska v. Federal Subsistence Board, et al. 3:20-cv-00195-SLG) for its actions to protect rural Alaskans, including tribal members. AVCP calls for the State to drop this attempt to prevent the Federal Subsistence Board from fulfilling its responsibilities to rural residents – especially during unprecedented emergencies such as a pandemic. Instead, the State should work with tribes, rural Alaskan communities, and the federal government, to ensure all Alaskans are able to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the consequences of the coronavirus.
AVCP is a regional nonprofit tribal consortium comprised of the 56 federally recognized tribes of the YK Delta. The geographic boundaries of AVCP extend from the Yukon River Village of Russian Mission downstream to the Bering Sea coast, north up through Kotlik and south along the coastline to Platinum and then extending up the Kuskokwim River to Stony River, including Lime Village on the Stony River tributary. The area encompasses approximately 6.5 million acres, or 55,000 square miles, in Western Alaska.