Palin's Record On Alaska Native And Tribal Issues - Get-Out-The-Native-Vote
Perhaps no issue is of greater importance to Alaska Native peoples as the right to hunt and fish according to ancient customary and traditional practices, and to carry on the subsistence way of life for future generations.
Governor Sarah Palin has consistently opposed those rights.
1. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Subsistence FishingOnce in office, Governor Palin decided to continue litigation that seeks to overturn every subsistence fishing determination the federal government has ever made in Alaska. (State of Alaska v. Norton, 3:05-cv-0158-HRH (D. Ak).) In pressing this case, Palin decided against using the Attorney General (which usually handles State litigation) and instead continued contracting with Senator Ted Stevens’ brother-in-law’s law firm (Birch, Horton, Bittner & Cherot).
The goal of Palin’s law suit is to invalidate all the subsistence fishing regulations the federal government has issued to date to protect Native fishing, and to force the courts instead to take over the roll of setting subsistence regulations. Palin’s law suit seeks to diminish subsistence fishing rights in order to expand sport and commercial fishing.
In May 2007, the federal court rejected the State’s main challenge, holding that Congress in 1980 had expressly granted the U.S. Interior and Agriculture Departments the authority to regulate and protect Native and ruralsubsistence fishing activities in Alaska. (Decision entered May 15, 2007 (Dkt. No. 110).)
Notwithstanding this ruling, Palin continues to argue in the litigation that the federal subsistence protections are too broadand should be narrowed to exclude vast areas from subsistence fishing, in favor of sport and commercial fishing.
Palin opposes subsistence protections in marine waters, on many of the lands that Natives selected under their 1971 land claims settlement with the state and federal governments, and in many of the rivers where Alaska Natives customarily fish. (Alaska Complaint at 15-18.) Palin also opposes subsistence fishing protections on Alaska Native federal allotments that were deeded to individuals purposely to foster Native subsistence activities All these issues are now pending before the federal district court.
2. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Subsistence HuntingPalin has also sought to invalidate critical determinations the Federal Subsistence Board has made regarding customary and traditional uses of game, specifically to take hunting opportunities away from Native subsistence villagers and thereby enhance sport hunting. Palin’s attack here on subsistence has focused on the Ahtna Indian people in Chistochina.
Although the federal district court has rejected Palin’s challenge, she has carried on an appeal that was argued in August 2008. (State of Alaska v. Fleagle, No. 07-35723 (9th Cir.))In both hunting and fishing matters, Palin has continued uninterrupted the policies initiated by the former Governor Frank Murkowski Administration, challenging hunting and fishing protections that Native people depend upon for their subsistence way of life in order to enhance sport fishing and hunting opportunities. Palin’s lawsuits are a direct attack on the core way of life of Native Tribes in rural Alaska.
3. Palin has attacked Alaska Tribal Sovereignty
Governor Palin opposes Alaska tribal sovereignty.
Given past court rulings affirming the federally recognized tribal status of Alaska Native villages, Palin does not technically challenge that status. But Palin argues that Alaska Tribes have no authority to act as sovereigns, despite their recognition.
So extreme is Palin on tribal sovereignty issues that she has sought to block tribes from exercising any authority whatsoever even over the welfare of Native children, adhering to a 2004 legal opinion issued by the former Murkowski Administration that no such jurisdiction exists (except when a state court transfers a matter to a tribal court).
Both the state courts and the federal courts have struck down Palin’s policy of refusing to recognize the sovereign authority of Alaska Tribes to address issues involving Alaska Native children. Native Village of Tanana v. State of Alaska, 3AN-04-12194 CI (judgment entered Aug. 26, 2008) (Ak. Super. Ct.); Native Kaltag Tribal Council v. DHHS, No. 3:06-cv-00211-TMB (D. Ak.), pending on appeal No 08-35343 (9th Cir.)). Nonetheless,
PALIN’S POLICY OF REFUSING TO RECOGNIZE TRIBAL SOVEREIGNITY REMAINS UNCHANGED.
4. Palin has attacked Alaska Native LanguagesPalin has refused to accord proper respect to Alaska Native languages and voters by refusing to provide language assistance to Yup'ik speaking Alaska Native voters.
As a result, Palin was just ordered by a special three judge panel of federal judges to provide various forms of voter assistance to Yup'ik voters residing in southwest Alaska. Nick v. Bethel, No. 3:07-cv-0098-TMB (D. Ak.) (Order entered July 30, 2008).Citing years of State neglect, Palin was ordered to provide trained poll workers who are bilingual in English and Yup'ik; sample ballots in written Yup'ik; a written Yup'ik glossary of election terms; consultation with local Tribes to ensure the accuracy of Yup'ik translations; a Yup'ik language coordinator; and pre-election and post-election reports to the court to track the State's efforts.
In sum, measured against some the rights that are most fundamental to Alaska Native Tribes – the subsistence way of life, tribal sovereignty and voting rights – Palin’s record is a failure.
Edited on Tue Sep-09-08 01:28 PM by G_j
The emphasis is on participation, not partisanship. In nonpartisan GOTNV efforts we invite organizations and individuals to come out on behalf of democracy itself. We ask people to vote “for themselves” at the same time they cast their ballot for a candidate.
Nonpartisan GOTNV is celebratory, fun, engaging and inspiring. Organizers should pay attention to culture and use it to feel good about voting and helping others to vote. Invite local drummers, dancers, and artists to share their talents. Always serve a meal!
Nonpartisan GOTNV builds community spirit. It is young and old working together, joining together to make our communities stronger.
Nonpartisan GOTV is focused on protecting the right to vote. It is uncompromising in its commitment to ensuring that every person who is eligible to vote is able to vote.
Direct Voter Contact
Having direct contact with voters is the most important use of your resources. You should develop a plan to contact voters in your contacted areas using any of the following tactics that are best suited for your community. Remember to keep good lists of folks.
Door knocks: Door-to door canvassing is the most effective way of reminding people to vote, especially on Election Day. While it is not as efficient as phoning, it allows the campaign to make one last personalized contact before Election Day and reminds people to vote. You should concentrate on low voter turnout areas.
Phone calls: The most common, and most effective, forms of getting people to the polls is through phone banking. GOTNV should encourage targeted voters to vote, provide basic voting information on such things as poll locations and hours, offer rides, and ask supporters to bring others to vote.
Targeted Mail: Targeted mail plays an important role in the overall GOTNV effort. It reinforces the importance of voting and reminds people to vote. Targeted mail should also have the polling location on it and the hours the polls are open; it should publicize your campaign’s phone number for people to call if they need help. Make sure you are careful to send the mail so it all hits no later that the day before the election.
Literature Drops: Simply dropping literature without a conversation is not as effective as a door knock. If you are simply going to do a lit drop, schedule it for the weekend before the election and reserve Election Day for door knocking.
Visibilities/Rallies: One fun way to energize volunteers and voters is to do visibility, starting as early as the Thursday before the election. Visibility (human billboards) should be done in the morning and evening rush hours in high traffic areas. Large stationary signs also work well in reservation communities where tribal members gather (i.e. community centers, tribal headquarters, clinics, etc.) Another good visibility strategy is a GOTNV rally.
Some states allow people to vote at the county courthouse or other sites as many as 30 days before Election Day. You need to know the laws and plan accordingly.
Voting By Absentee Ballot
If you or someone you know will be unable to make it to the polls for either the primary election or general election, you can still make your voice heard. Absentee ballots are not an Election Day project. An effective absentee ballot program must target potential voters and get them absentee ballots well before Election Day. This is particularly important when working with elders who may have limited mobility and community members that live a large distance from their polling place. Some states have lax rules on absentee voting that should be taken advantage of. Research the law in your state to see if and absentee ballot program is feasible and what options there are for voting by mail.
Giving Rides to the Polls on Election Day
Bringing someone directly to the polls is the best way to ensure that they vote. You should have someone who is specifically in charge of transportation to the polls. It is important to remember that you cannot hand out campaign literature at the polls.
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