Self-governance is a founding principle for CATG and is deeply embedded in our founding documents and underpins all the work we do as and organization. With in the natural resources department we use the concept of self-governance as the corner stone for all the work we do. The goal of our work is to empower the people of the Yukon Flats with skills and tools to execute self-governance over the resources that sustain our Traditional and Customary Use (TCU).
The history of Indian Self-governance goes back to the “Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975″. According to 25 CFR 1000.2 Self-governance Tribe/Consortium means “a Tribe or Consortium that participates in permanent self-goverance through application and selection from the applicant pool or has participated in the Tribal self-governance demonstration project. May also be referred to as “participating Tribe/Consortium.”" Congress in P.L. 106-260, defines the goal of self-governance is “to permit an orderly transition from Federal domination of programs and services to provide Indian tribes with meaningful authority, control, funding, and discretion to plan, conduct, redesign, and administer programs, services, functions, and activities (or portions thereof) that meet the needs of the individual tribal communities.” (Tribal Self-Governance demonstration feasibility study – March 2003)
In practice, self-governance can be divided into two basic parts: 1) the transfer of Federal programs (and funds) that serve Native people from existing service providers to the tribes, and 2) providing broad authority to Tribal governments/Consortiums to redesign federal programs and reallocate federal resources to more effectively and efficiently meet the needs of tribal communities. (Tribal Self-Governance demonstration feasibility study – March 2003)
The CATG Natural Resources Department is leading self-governance for non-BIA programs across the country through two ground breaking annual funding agreements.
US Fish and Wildlife Service
In 2004 the CATG Natural resources department was the first Tribal entity in the country to negotiate and secure a self-governance agreement with a conservation unit. The agreement between the US Fish and Wildlife Service Yukon Flats Wildlife Refuge was ground breaking during it’s initial time in history but has seen static funding levels since it’s initial inception. As of 2013 there are only two self-governance agreements between the USFWS and Tribal entities. The USFWS holds agreements with CATG and the Salish Kootni of Montana.
Bureau of Land Management – Alaska Fire Service
In 2011 the CATG Natural Resources department was the first Tribal entity in the country to enter into a self-governance agreement with the BLM. Specifically, the agreement is between the Alaska Fire Service and CATG.
The BLM AFS agreement is considered the model non-BIA self-governance agreement in the country. The agreement uses definable metrics, clear communication, and is empowering local economic development through work force development. The continued expansion of the is a testament to the commitment of the BLM AFS to the Native community. This agreement has started a upward trend in agreements between BLM Fire service and Tribal governments. As of 2012 the BLM fire service is negotiating with multiple tribal governments across the U.S.
For the training schedule and additional information our work with wild land fire click here.
James Kelly, Natural Resources Director
P.O. Box 33
Fort Yukon, Alaska 99740