Alaska Natives may gain more influence over hunting rules

By Michael Doyle | 04/23/2024 01:35 PM EDT

The Fish and Wildlife Service is considering adding three people nominated by tribal governments to a key subsistence hunting board.

Interior Department headquarters in Washington.

Interior Department headquarters. The Fish and Wildlife Service, which is under Interior, is considering adding three positions to a hunting board for people nominated by Alaska Native tribal governments. Francis Chung/E&E News

Alaska Natives appear poised to gain a greater say in managing subsistence use of fish and wildlife on 230 million acres of federal lands throughout the sprawling state.

With a debate period almost over, supporters have rallied behind the Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to reinforce the influential Federal Subsistence Board with three additional members nominated by federally recognized tribal governments. The new members would also have to possess “personal knowledge of and direct experience with subsistence uses in rural Alaska,” under the proposal.

Alaskan tribal governments are saying it’s about time.


“The addition of Tribally nominated or recommended seats works toward giving critically needed voice to Tribes who have the requisite knowledge of local conditions and requirements to have a meaningful role in the management of fish and wildlife,” Jacob Martin, vice president of the Nome Eskimo Community, wrote.