House creates first ever Tribal Affairs committee

House creates first ever Tribal Affairs committee

Committee will focus on partnerships between tribes and state government.

The Alaska House of Representatives created its first ever Special Committee on Tribal Affairs.

The House passed a resolution 37-1 to create the committee Monday morning, with Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, carrying the dissenting vote.

Creating this Special Committee on Tribal Affairs was a longtime goal of Rep. Bryce Edgmon, i-Dillingham, who is the first Alaska Native Speaker of the House.

“We’ve never had a committee to deal solely with tribal issues in the Legislature,” Edgmon said in a written statement. “This is not just about tribal compacting; it is about basic and critical issues like health, children’s services, law enforcement, economic development, and other needs that can be met at the village level.”

Freshman Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky, D-Bethel, will chair the committee.

“Alaska tribes have been working to improve the health and welfare of their communities since well before statehood,” Zulkosky said in an email to the Empire. “As in any other government-to-government relationship, local knowledge strengthens and improves outcomes, allowing our systems to deliver the most efficient and effective services across Alaska. As a result, the federal government, tribes and the state have all benefited.”

She said the establishment of the committee would help “bridge the historical and political divisions, while elevating opportunities to improve partnerships.”

And she hopes the committee would help the state maintain solvency for programs that have direct impact on tribes, in the midst of this fiscal crisis.

“These significant cuts make creating sustainable communities across Alaska that much harder,” Zulkosky said in the email. “In recent years, the state and tribes have worked hard to develop partnerships that realize inefficiencies, avoid duplication and save state general fund dollars. Any proposals that compromise those relationships and that progress, takes us in the wrong direction.”

The following representatives will join Zulkosky on the committee: Reps. Edgmon, Chuck Kopp, R-Anchorage; John Lincoln, D-Kotzebue; Dave Talerico, R-Healy and Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka.

• Contact reporter Kevin Baird at 523-2258 or Follow him on Twitter at @alaska_kev.

More in News

David Brighton (left) and Leslie Byrd (right) prepare to lead marchers from the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex to Soldotna Creek Park as part of Soldotna Pride in the Park on Saturday, June 3, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna celebrates LGBTQ+ pride

The event featured food trucks, vendors and a lineup of performers that included comedy, drag and music

Judges Peter Micciche, Terry Eubank and Tyler Best sample a salmon dish prepared by chef Stephen Lamm of the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank at Return of the Reds on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at the Kenai City Dock in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai celebrates ‘Return of the Reds’ in food bank fundraiser

Chefs competed for best salmon recipe; fresh-caught fish auctioned

A freshly stocked rainbow trout swims in Johnson Lake during Salmon Celebration on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at Johnson Lake in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Excellent lake fishing, good halibut and slow salmon

Northern Kenai Fishing Report for June 1

Map via Kenai Peninsula Borough.
Assembly to consider emergency service area for Cooper Landing

Borough legislation creating the service area is subject to voter approval

Peter Micciche (center) listens to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly certify the results of the Feb. 14, 2023, special mayoral election, through which he was elected mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Thousands respond to borough services survey

Many of the survey questions focused on the quality of borough roads

Two new cars purchased by the Soldotna Senior Center to support its Meals on Wheels program are parked outside of the center in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, March 30, 2022.(Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)
Soldotna budget defunds area senior center

The unanimous vote came after multiple people expressed concerns about how the center operates

An Epidemiology Bulletin titled “Drowning Deaths in Alaska, 2016-2021” published Wednesday, May 31, 2023. (Screenshot)
Health officials say Alaska leads nation in drowning deaths, urge safe practices

A majority of non-occupational Alaska drownings occur in relation to boating, both for recreation and for subsistence

Chief J.J. Hendrickson plays with Torch the cat at the Kenai Animal Shelter on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna, Kenai to extend animal control partnership

So far this year, the Kenai shelter has served roughly 190 animals

Transportation professionals tour the Sterling Highway and Birch Avenue intersection in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, May 22, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna brainstorming pop-up pedestrian safety project

The temporary project aims to boost pedestrian safety near Soldotna Creek Park

Most Read