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 kbaird@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alaska_kev.


More in News

Vehicles are unleaded at the Seward Harbor after being moved from Lowell Point on Sunday, May 22, 2022 in Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management)
Lowell Point barge services move 110-plus cars to Seward

The services were covered by the Kenai Peninsula Borough and ended Monday

Anglers fish on the Kenai River on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Watershed Forum receives matching grant from Conoco

The Kenai Watershed Forum was given a grant from ConocoPhillips to fund… Continue reading

A beach on the eastern side of Cook Inlet is photographed at Clam Gulch, Alaska, in June 2019. The Alaska Board of Fisheries is implementing new shellfish regulations in Cook Inlet. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Fish and Game closes East Cook Inlet razor clam fisheries

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has closed the Cook Inlet… Continue reading

Anastasia Scollon (left) and Willow King (right) stand in The Goods + Sustainable Grocery and Where it’s At mindful food and drink on Monday, May 16, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sustainable shopping finds new home in Soldotna

The Collective used to operate out of Cook Inletkeeper’s Community Action Studio

The Alaska State Capitol is seen on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Legislature modernizes 40-year-old definition of consent in sexual assault cases

‘Alaska took a gargantuan step forward in updating our laws,’ says deputy attorney general

Project stakeholders cut a ribbon at the Nikiski Shelter of Hope on Friday, May 20, 2022, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Stakeholders celebrate opening of Nikiski shelter

The shelter officially opened last December

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks with reporters Thursday about the state’s budget at the Alaska State Capitol. Dunleavy said lawmakers had sent a complete budget, and that there was no need for a special session.
Dunleavy: No need for special session

Governor calls budget “complete”

A magnet promoting the Alaska Reads Act released sits atop a stack of Alaskan-authored and Alaska-centric books. Lawmakers passed the Alaska Reads Act on the last day of the legislative session, but several members of the House of Representatives were upset with the bill, and the way it was passed. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
In last-minute move, Legislature passes early reading overhaul

Rural lawmakers push back on Alaska Reads Act

Graduates wait to receive diplomas during Connections Homeschool’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Connections honors more than 100 graduates

The home-school program held a ceremony Thursday in Soldotna

Most Read