Today, House Bill 126 was signed into law during a meeting of the Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp at Alaska Pacific University. The legislation permanently establishes November as Alaska Native Heritage Month.
HB 126 was broadly supported in both the House and Senate and is the first bill sponsored by Alaska’s newly created House Special Committee on Tribal Affairs.
“I am proud to stand with Alaska Native leaders from across the state to witness the first bill sponsored by a groundbreaking committee be signed into law,” said Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky (D-Bethel), chair of the House Special Committee on Tribal Affairs. “Alaska is home to roughly half of our nation’s federally recognized tribes, and this bill celebrates Alaska Natives’ significant contribution to our state’s unique heritage, history, and economy. Especially as we navigate historic decisions in the Legislature, I hope this bill will be one way to strengthen and improve collaborative partnerships with Tribes and Tribal partners.”
“This is our opportunity to recognize the First Alaskans and the rich culture and traditions they established on this land from the Arctic to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta through Southeast Alaska,” said Sen. Elvi Gray Jackson (D-Anchorage), who carried HB 126 in the Senate. “Celebrating the different cultures and traditions of indigenous peoples only makes us stronger as a community and helps us understand why the land we live on is sacred.”
Earlier this year, HB 126 passed the Alaska House of Representatives 36-to-1 and passed the Alaska Senate 18-to-0.