Congressman Don Young Introduces Slate of Legislation to Empower Alaska Natives, Indigenous People Across the Country
Washington, January 22, 2021
Washington, D.C. – This week, Alaska Congressman Don Young introduced several pieces of legislation primarily focused on Alaska Native health, economic opportunity, federal recognition, and land ownership. Additionally, Congressman Young introduced two pieces of legislation to improve the social and economic conditions of Indigenous communities across the nation.
"The story of Alaska cannot be told without respect and deep appreciation of the people who have lived in our state for thousands of years," said Congressman Don Young. "Our state's history is rich with Alaska Native culture, traditions, and fellowship. With over 200 tribes and 13 Alaska Native Corporations, it is crucial that our state's First Peoples are empowered to succeed in civic life, excel in business, and govern themselves in the best way they see fit. For some communities, this means securing equal treatment under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), which is why I am proud to once again lead legislation to recognize Alexander Creek as a Native Village, consistent with ANCSA. For too long, a lack of village status under ANCSA has meant that Alexander Creek's families have lacked the foundation for social and economic support that other village corporations receive. Securing this status for them is urgently needed, and I am going to fight hard for it in the 117th Congress," Young added.
"Standing with our Alaska Native communities does not stop with federal recognition; we must ensure that our Native groups have possession of and access to land, including lands that they have utilized for centuries. It is my honor to partner with several Alaska Native groups in the fight for federal land use rights. I have introduced legislation to convey land to the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation, the Tanana Tribal Council, and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Last Congress, I led the fight in the House to transfer land to the Bering Straits Native Corporation, and I will fight with the same vigor to secure further victories for Alaska Natives."
"Finally, we must ensure that some of our state's most vulnerable, Alaska Native elders, can live healthy, dignified lives," said Congressman Don Young. "Our elders are a rich source of history and tribal tradition; we must provide them with the support necessary to continue playing their crucial roles in their communities. Elders frequently receive benefits from their village corporations, representing a critical source of income to help elders meet their basic needs. Too often, these community benefits disqualify elders from receiving support through federal programs, and very frankly, that is wrong. This week, I have introduced legislation to ensure that elders who may need a little extra assistance to make ends meet are not disqualified because of their settlement trust income. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue fighting for them."
"This week, I also introduced two pieces of legislation to support Indigenous youth in Alaska and across the country, in addition to a bill to bolster economic opportunity for Native communities everywhere. As the father and grandfather of Alaska Native children, I know that our nation's Indigenous children face unique barriers and adversity, which require innovative solutions to overcome. However, the fact is that we cannot even begin to find solutions until we accurately and thoroughly identify the cultural and socioeconomic challenges facing Native young people," said Congressman Young. "That is why yesterday, I introduced a bill to allow the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children the time needed to compile a thorough and accurate report on the programs, grants, and support available for Native children and how we can make them better work for our communities. Lastly, I introduced the Native American Millennium Challenge Demonstration Act, which seeks to promote sustainable economic growth and create efforts to reduce poverty in remote Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities in a manner that encourages self-determination and self-sufficiency."
"There is much work ahead of us, but I am committed to standing up for Alaska Natives and Native Americans, and will keep fighting to ensure a bright, prosperous future for Indigenous people from every corner of this great nation," added Congressman Young.
Legislation introduced by Congressman Young this week:
· Bill to recognize Alexander Creek, Alaska as a Native Village (H.R. 440)
· Bill to convey property to Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation (H.R. 444)
· Bill to convey property to the Tanana Tribal Council (H.R. 441)
· Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Land Transfer Act (H.R. 443)
· Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Land Transfer Act (H.R. 442)
· Bill to adjust Alaska Native Elders eligibility for Need-Based Programs (H.R. 437)
· The Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Commission Report Deadline Extension (H.R. 438)
· The Native American Millennium Challenge Demonstration Act (H.R. 439)
· Canyon Village Land Conveyance Act (H.R. 436)