Alaska’s two Republican senators provided their yearly reports to the Alaska Federation of Natives convention Friday, though neither was physically present.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski addressed the Anchorage convention live via Zoom from an Arctic conference in Iceland. She spoke to this year’s convention theme, “Our Ways of Life,” by highlighting investments made to Alaska in the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.
“We’re building out water and sewer and villages,” Murkowski said. “We’re connecting our most remote communities to high speed internet. We’re fostering climate resilience in places like Napakiak, Huslia and the Bering Strait region. The IHS sanitation program now has hundreds of projects underway in Alaska.”
Meanwhile U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan provided a prerecorded video address to AFN delegates. He said he couldn’t attend the convention because he was part of a bipartisan group of senators heading to the Middle East to show support for Israel following this month’s attacks by Hamas.
Sullivan highlighted a recent bill he sponsored that was signed into law, establishing a task force to address declines in salmon populations, including in the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers. He said the task force will be made up of state, tribal, university and federal officials, blending traditional knowledge and modern science.
“These huge declines are unacceptable, we need to get to the bottom of this in terms of the best minds and best science, the best data,” Sullivan said.
AFN delegates are scheduled to hear remarks in-person from Democratic U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola on Saturday afternoon. Delegates will also vote on a slate of resolutions, touching on topics ranging from subsistence rights to high rates of prison deaths among Alaska Natives.