by Mike Williams Sr.
The inaugural meeting of Nunavut Alaska Provisional Government met on January 23, 24, 2018 at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center Bethel, Alaska. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Chariton Epchook of Kwethluk, Alaska.
The meeting was called for in November to recommend the vote by each tribe, authorize for each tribal citizen to vote for or against creation of Nunavut Alaska Provisional Government.
The Organized Village of Kwethluk voted 44 in favor and 4 against. The Akiak Native Community voted 68 in favor and 5 against.
Kwethluk Tribe voted for Michael Williams Sr. to be President, Wassillie Guy to be Vice President, and the rest were write-ins for Secretary and Treasurer.
The delegates at the meeting moved to have Michael Williams Sr. of Akiak to be the Interim President of Nunavut Alaska Provisional Government.
Chairman Chariton Epchook of Kwethluk will continue to serve until the next legislative meeting on March 26, 27, and 28, 2018 at Bethel, Alaska.
The main agenda items for the meeting will be finalizing the Treaty among the Tribes, finalizing the constitution and by-laws of Nunavut Alaska Provisional Government, finalizing the structur of the constitutional government.
The delegates also approved for Anna Davidson, originally of Tuluksak, to serve as Coordinator for NAPG. They also approved to retain Attorney Robert Porter of Washington D.C.
The delegates discussed the issue of alcohol sales in Bethel that are having deadly impacts on our people in the region and surrounding villages. Bethel allowed liquor stores in Bethel in the past but closed the sales due to high number of alcohol-related deaths and domestic violence as reported by the Anchorage Daily News “People in Peril”. The alcohol laws in Alaska have not changed since the late 1800’s and are still in the books.
The delegates top priority is to close the liquor stores. There is a petition going on to allow the City of Bethel to operate the sales which would have more control and regulations to limit the sales.
The Chairman Chariton Epchook, Mike Williams, and Ivan M. Ivan attended the Bethel City Council meeting and made comments in support of creating a task force to mitigate the effects of alcohol. Only through discussing the issue to solve the effects will help make changes to prevent death.
The delegates also recommended that each Tribe/Village create Alcohol Education Committees to educate everyone on the effects of alcohol and to work with the school districts to provide the information needed for all to make right choices.
The Tribes/Villages will seek funding to provide this educational endeavor to make healthy communities once again. They also suggested that the dry Tribal Villages establish checkpoints and increase Tribal Police Officers for enforcement.
The delegates also discussed a flag for the Nunavut Alaska Provisional Government. They decided to send a letter to all the schools for young people to design the flag and submit it to Nunavut. The winner of the design will receive a $300.00 voucher to purchase educational supplies.
The delegates also took action to support the Save the Salmon Initiative that will go to the ballot in November.
The Constitutional Committee was established to draft the text to be presented to the Legislative meeting in March. They appointed Mr. Harold Napoleon, Ivan Ivan, Warren Jones, Mary Nanuwak, Mike Williams, Anna Davidson, and Chariton Epchook.
We would like to thank all the volunteers that made the dream of our Elders that have passed on a reality that we have something positive to look forward to. The hope of healthy communities will be realized by self-determination by the people of the region.
The Nunavut Alaska Provisional Government will work hard to improve the quality of life for each individual, and each community in our region. Quyana cakneq for the support and the debate on the issue.
If you have any questions, please contact Mike Williams at 907-765-2061.