Alaska Federation of Natives

 

Bystander, Rosita Worl, Senator Kookesh, Mary

This was a full week.  On Tuesday we had our second bill hearing on Waste water and Sewage Task Force.  We spent Monday and Tuesday preparing.  I testified as a state resident.  I testified that the Pentagon has spent 2.2 billion in contracts for water and sewer plants in Southern Iraq and yet we have WWII vet including my grandfather that have to dump their five-gallon honey buckets on a by-weekly basis.  Tuesday night was the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) reception.  Wednesday was the AFN meeting and the Tlingit and Haida hosted Native Forum.  My boss, Senator Kookesh, and Julie Kitka spoke to Alaska Native issues at both the state and federal level (click here to listen).  Senator Kookesh postulated about being king for a day and his priorities would be education: the merit scholarship program monies would go towards Headstart, and a quarter of the permanent fund could be put aside for an education endowment, a quarter for energy and transportation endowment, and the other half for dividends. He ended with the future promises of Alaska Native leaders and introduced people of the younger generation in the room.  I then wrote and spoke to an AFN resolution in support for SB 147, waste water and sewage task force, AFN passed it.  Thursday was filled with meetings, state affairs, transportation, and community and regional affairs.  I was shadowing Nancy to sit-in as committee aide one day perhaps.

Trip to Galena

This past week I had the fortunate opportunity to travel to Galena for the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association (YRDFA).  This meeting highlights the advantages and disadvantages of the of the Yukon fisheries.  There are many issues surrounding the Yukon fisheries, such as Canadian escapement goals, salmon by-catch, subsistence opportunities, and commercial fisheries openings or lack thereof.  We met with representatives from communities from Emmonuk to Eagle.  I had the opportunity to accompany the Lt. Governor, Senator Kookesh, Senator Olson, Representative Foster and Representative Dick to the boarding school.  Then brought them all to speak and listen to the YRDFA meeting.  The entire Council was uplifted and encouraged by the dignitaries who attended.    We wrote a resolution advocating for traditional knowledge to be used in the management by the managers on the river.    YRDFA passed it unanimously.  It was an interesting dynamic to have two staff members from the Senator’s office from opposite ends of the river, I noticed we agreed on overall management ideas, but the implementations of the management ideas we disagreed a lot.

Two busy weeks

The past two weeks have been some of the most informative two weeks I have had the pleasure of taking in at a professional workplace. The staff of Senator Kookesh are patient, trusting, encouraging and thoughtful mentors. These staff are not only bright but generous with their time and knowledge. These characteristics are rarely found together. I feel fortunate to be able to follow and assist in carrying bills with and for the Senator. I have been given the opportunity to edit and comment on pending child support and waste water legislation. I may have a hand in creating law for all Alaskans. The office strives for fairness, helpfulness and justice for all. I really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of recorded history in Alaska’s legislature.