National tribal advocacy group calls for reinstating Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area

(NOAA photo)

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) held its annual conference the same week as the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. The national tribal advocacy group passed a resolution urging the federal government to restore the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area as originally issued and to incorporate traditional knowledge “into all federal decision-making that would affect the northern Bering Sea region.”

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The resolution mirrors similar resolutions passed by the Association of Village Council Presidents and the Kawerak native regional non-profit corporation. Both groups, along with the Bering Sea Elders Group, had advocated for the designation.

The Resilience Area was created in December 2016 in an executive order signed by President Obama. The order required the federal government to consult with Alaska Native tribes on decisions affecting the Northern Bering Sea and to gather traditional knowledge to inform decisions regarding the region.

In April of this year President Trump extinguished that order, removing the tribal consultation requirement and potentially opening Arctic waters to off-shore oil and gas leasing.

Anna Rose MacArthur is a reporter at KYUK in Bethel.

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