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.
- 360 North’s new documentary “Inside Out: Leaving Prison Behind,” premieres 8 p.m. this Friday, June 23 on 360 North.
- The state is advertising the ferry Taku again. It listed the ship earlier at $1.5 million, then at $700,000. This time, there's no advertised minimum.
- The National Endowment for the Arts has named a Chilkat weaver from Juneau as one of its nine National Heritage Fellows. Anna Brown Ehlers, 62, has been recognized for her mastery of this challenging art form that's specific to Southeast Alaska and parts of British Columbia.
- The state Legislature's conference committee cut $8 million from the University of Alaska's budget on Wednesday, a softer blow than the nearly $22 million reduction proposed by the state Senate.