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 deadline for bids and public comment on a proposed Haines-area timber sale has been extended. The University of Alaska is offering up 400 acres of old growth Sitka spruce and western hemlock on the Chilkat Peninsula.
- Heat pumps are nothing new. But upgrades over the past thirty years have made the systems a lot more reliable. Now Juneau installers are racing to keep up with growing demand.
- Concern over poor king salmon runs across the state drew a panel of fisheries experts together at a recent meeting in Anchorage. The event focused mainly on a better understanding of the science behind population declines.
- Native communities across Alaska are seeking a key to understanding the epidemic of suicide. The film screened Tuesday last week during the First Alaskans Institute 2017 Elders and Youth Conference held prior to the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention in Anchorage last week.