Palin the hostile

 

A recent piece by native rights attorneys Lloyd Miller and Heather Kendall-Miller -- getting wide play in Native and alternative media --  indicts Sarah Palin on Native issues in her home state.

Alaskan Native villages are spread across 375 million acres, many of them roadless. Subsistence foods -- fish and game -- still comprise 60 percent of the local diet. In Palin's scant two years in the governor's office, she has pursued a lawsuit which, if successful, would move every subsistence issue into the courts and thus tie up traditional rights for generations. Her reason? To expand sport and commercial fishing. A federal court in 2007 rejected Palin's primary legal challenge, and asserted the authority of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to protect Native subsistence fishing activities in most navigable waters. But Palin is now arguing that federal subsistence protections are too broad.

Palin has also tried to overturn federal protections for Alaska Native traditional uses of game, particularly for the Ahtna Indian people in Chistochina.

On the question of sovereignty, Palin has argued that Alaska tribes have no authority to act unless the state first permits a tribe to take a particular action.

In July the governor was ordered by a panel of federal judges to provide help to Yup'ik voters in southwest Alaska -- providing bilingual poll workers, sample ballots in Yup'ik, and other assistance -- to ensure informed voter participation.

Palin's record is clear, say the attorneys, and "that record is a failure."