August 25th, 2009
Alaska Senator Albert Kookesh (D) is preparing for a major fight over Native subsistence fishing rights.
Kookesh and three others were cited by a state wildlife officer for exceeding catch limits. But he says the state has no jurisdiction over Native subsistence activities on federal land.
“We need to challenge the state of Alaska coming in the back door trying to manage subsistence on federal lands,” Kookesh told the Associated Press.
Kookesh said he has contacted assistant secretary Larry EchoHawk, the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, about the issue. He wants the Native American Rights Fund and the Alaska Federation of Natives to get involved.
Kookesh pleaded not guilty to one count of exceeding the subsistence salmon limit.
Senator says he’ll make an issue of subsistence fishing citation (AP 8/25)