Biden admin rule aims to elevate Alaska Native subsistence input

By Scott Streater | 02/16/2024 01:34 PM EST

A proposal would increase tribal representation on a key federal board.

Seal hunter Wilbur Kuzuzuk, 53, drags a spotted seal, his only catch of the day, onto the edge of the lagoon in Shishmaref, Alaska, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. They might be at the edge of the world, but elsewhere they would be far from some of the prime spots for subsistence hunting of bearded seals and other sea mammals or fishing and berry picking in the tundra that make up most of their nutrition. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A hunter drags a spotted seal onto the edge of the lagoon in Shishmaref, Alaska. Jae C. Hong/AP

The Biden administration is taking steps to advance its goal of strengthening intergovernmental relations with Alaska Native tribes.

The Interior and Agriculture departments on Thursday announced they plan to increase Alaska tribal representation on the Federal Subsistence Board that oversees regulations for subsistence hunting and fishing on federal public lands and waters in the state.

The plan is to add three voting members to the eight-member board that, according to the Interior Department, would be “nominated or recommended by Tribes” and would have “personal knowledge of and direct experience with subsistence uses in rural Alaska, including Alaska Native subsistence uses.”


The additional board members would be appointed by the Interior secretary in concurrence with the secretary of Agriculture.