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.
- The state Division of Insurance plans to ask the feds to offset its costs for the Alaska Reinsurance Program.
- After a mild start to December, it’s gotten bitter cold in Haines and Skagway, with temperatures dropping into the teens and single digits. With temperatures far below freezing, snowfall from the weekend is not likely to go anywhere soon.
- As temperatures rise, Arctic ice is retreating, making trips through the Northwest passage – from Alaska to Maine – a new summer reality. But until now, mariners navigating Arctic ice have had limited formal training. A professor at Maine Maritime Academy is working to change that.
- One shot was fired in an officer-involved shooting Saturday, according to the Juneau Police Department. Police say Sgt. Chris Gifford fired the shot that injured Jeremie Shaun Tinney, 38, of Juneau while officers were investigating a single-vehicle crash in the 16500 block of Ocean View Drive.