Native Organizers Alliance praises bill to protect “Indigenous ways of life”
Washington, DC—The “Balance for the Kuskokwim River Act” was introduced today in Alaska that would protect the Kuskokwim River’s water quality and prioritize the customary and traditional subsistence lifestyle of the Alaska Native people of the region under the Federal Clean Water Act. Stretching over 700 miles, the Kuskokwim River is the second largest river in Alaska and a resource for subsistence fishing for the Yup’ik, Cup’ik, and Athabascan people. The following statement from Judith LeBlanc (Caddo), executive director of Native Organizers Alliance, can be quoted in-part of in-full.
“Native Organizers Alliance stands with our Alaska Native relatives to celebrate the introduction of a bill that aims to protect the Kuskokwim River and Indigenous ways of life. For too long, Native rights have been ignored in favor of corporations and government agencies that have continued to exploit our lands and destroy our traditional ways. This bill aims to acknowledge Alaska Natives’ subsistence rights and protect one of the state’s most valuable resources—salmon.
Numerous Alaska Tribes and Indigenous grassroots organizations have opposed projects like the Donlin Mine that could potentially pollute the Kuskokwim River. This bill extends much needed protections to this critical water and food source.
We are grateful to members of Alaska’s legislature, and for the work that Mother Kuskokwim and numerous Alaska Tribes and organizations are doing to fight for Native rights. Their resistance is felt across Indian Country.”