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. Within 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 aself-governance agreement with a conservation unit. The agreement between the US Fish and Wildlife Service Yukon Flats Wildlife Refuge was ground breaking during its initial time in history but has seen static funding levels since its 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 Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes 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 was between the Alaska Fire Service and CATG. The BLM AFS agreement was considered the model non-BIA self-governance agreement in the country.
In 2020 CATG competed for and was awarded one of three BLM AFS contracts for Type 2 wildland firefighting crews based in Interior Alaska. Unlike federal emergency firefighter crews that are hired on an as-needed basis, contracted crews may work outside of fire suppression performing tasks such as fuels mitigation and other funded projects. Contracted crews must adhere to national qualifications for Type 2 hand crews.
For additional information on CATG’s Type 2 Wildland firefighting crew click here.
Bruce Thomas, Natural Resources Director
P.O. Box 33
Fort Yukon, Alaska 99740