T&H Central Council and Tanana Chiefs
Two Tribal Groups Announce Departure from AFN
Two large Alaska tribal organizations have announced their departure from the Alaska Federation of Natives. Per a May 10, 2023 piece by Rhonda McBride on Alaska Public Media, the announcement met with a range of responses from Native leaders.
According to McBride’s article, “each (organization) cited different reasons for parting company with AFN.”
Tlingit and Haida, which represents 35,000 tribal members in Southeast Alaska, says it no longer needs AFN’s advocacy, because it has developed its own capacity to advance its causes.
Tlingit and Haida President Richard Peterson said the tribe still plans to collaborate with AFN.
“I don’t want it to look like a divorce,” said Peterson. “I keep using the analogy, where the kids who grew up and are moving out of the house. We might still come home for cooked meal or to do laundry now and again, right?”
Peterson said Tlingit and Haida wants to divert the money it has paid in dues to AFN to work on region-specific issues.
The Tanana Chiefs Conference, which represents villages in Interior Alaska, said in a statement that it was ending its membership in AFN to focus on protecting salmon and subsistence. Tanana Chiefs also said it wasn’t satisfied with AFN’s efforts to act on resolutions that have been passed over the years to protect the Alaska Native subsistence lifestyle.
A more comprehensive response by AFN is expected after their next board meeting.
Read the entire article at AlaskaPublic.org