Alaska Federation of Natives President Julie Kitka warns that the continuing federal budget battle could impact essential services.
But she says it’s hard to tell where the ax will fall.
“We could see programs that we have spent decades building up and working and just will disappear in the budget acts as they deal with those federal deficits,” she said.
She told those attending Juneau’s Native Issues Forum on Wednesday, Feb. 22, to be ready for a last-minute call-to-action if major programs face significant cuts.
At the same time, Kitka expressed optimism about Native Americans’ chances in the coming year.
She pointed to an upcoming conference in Washington, D.C., cosponsored by the Center for American Progress. The think-tank is closely tied to the Obama administration.
“It’s one of those opportunities (where) you make of it what you can. It may turn out to economic development issues that could pop out of this and get done. It could be renewable energy. It could be regulatory changes or a whole array of things,” she said.
Kitka said the conference is a major focus for AFN during the last year of the Obama administration’s first term.
- Scientists recently announced they had found an Asian tapeworm species in pink salmon caught off the coast of the Kenai Peninsula. In a recent study, a team of scientists identified a Japanese broad tapeworm larva in pink salmon caught in Resurrection Creek near Hope. The study appears in the February issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
- An overdue snowmachiner, who was traveling to Fairbanks from Shungnak, by way of Huslia, has been found dead near Selawik Hot Springs. Travis Loughridge, 27, left Shungnak about noon Saturday and was expected to arrive in Fairbanks by Monday evening.
- Juneau's state legislative delegation told a half-dozen members of the Juneau Assembly on Thursday morning that the state's budget outlook isn't rosy. Democratic Sen. Dennis Egan said there are real risks to middle-class public sector jobs under threat by budget cuts.
- The Alaska Mental Health Authority's Trust Land Office is no longer pursuing action toward timber sales on Deer Mountain or land in Petersburg.