Local News

President's support an "eye-opener" for STA's Widmark

http://kcaw.org/modules/local_news/media/audio/

SITKA, ALASKA
Like last year, the meeting included in-person remarks from President Obama, as well as numerous breakout sessions with administration officials ranging from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, to various undersecretaries tasked with hearing tribal views on education, health, housing, infrastructure, public safety, tribal land, energy, and climate change.

 Widmark said that last year an atmosphere of speculation about the administration’s commitment was prevalent. Some of that was still around this year…

“But I think overall there is a commitment by the administration to work with tribes across Indian Country – maybe it’s not fast enough for some tribes – but I think judging from other presidents et cetera there’s definitely a commitment to working with tribes.”

President Obama used the occasion of the summit to announce his support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Widmark says most tribal leaders were not expecting such a strong statement on the issue from the president.

 “It was well-taken by the tribes and it was – if you will – an eye opener. It was something that the president committed to, but we’ll see what happens.”

143 nations signed the UN Declaration in September 2007. The US, under President George Bush, did not. The declaration is not binding under international law, but it is considered to have considerable moral and political force. It expresses the aspirations of indigenous people around the world to improve their nation-to-nation relations.

Widmark says he left the conference believing that federal money for tribal programs will not become scarcer in the future, but it may become more competitive. He says, “We’ll play that game, and work with Congress to fight cuts.”

KCAW's Chris Todd contributed to this story.
© Copyright 1970, Raven Radio Foundation Inc.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

All-night walk raises money for cancer research

Relay
Sitkans are invited to participate in Relay for Life, a world-wide event to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The time to register your team is now. Downloadable audio. more

Sitka lab issues shellfish advisory across Southeast

The STA Environmental Research Lab believes that the toxins detected in butter clams at Starrigavan this week may be residual from last summer. A new bloom of alexandrium, which produces the Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning toxin, was recently observed in the area. (Flickr photo/Walter Lin)
Shellfish in Southeast are showing a high risk for biotoxins, specifically those that cause PSP. On Monday (5-25-16), the Sitka Tribe of Alaska's Environmental Research Lab (STAERL) found elevated levels of toxins at beaches in Sitka, Petersburg, Klawock, and Craig. more