Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Governor Bill Walker spoke at the 83rd Assembly of the Central Council of Tlingit Haida Indian tribes this morning.
The Governor offered this prediction for the end of the state legislative session, "We are almost done. We have meetings every day, every morning and every night to get the job done. It is not a matter of just getting out. Its about doing things that fix Alaska not just for today but for tomorrow as well."
The Governor defended his decision to cut the PFD last year, comparing it to fishing, "People are frustrated when they see fish in the river and can't fish. Why can't we take X number of fish. WE need to make sure the next generation has fish. It is the same way with our revenue. It we spend too much and it goes away completely that will be hard to explain to the next generation."
Governor Walker listed climate change and relocation of Alaskan villages that have been caused by global warming as a priority of his administration
He also opened the door to more compacts with the tribe similar to the one on children welfare reached last year.
Governor Walker says he always treats the tribal governments as equal to state government
Lt. Governor Mallott says the administration has tried to improve relations with the tribe, "Changing state government in Alaska from a time in which litigation was the way that tribes and the state engaged in one another. In our administration that is a thing of the past."
Mallott said they have tried to emphasize fairness, equity and balance in dealing with all residents
Residents asked questions about protecting subsistence fishing for herring, suicide prevention, creation of more jobs in villages and protection of the PFD. Also mentioned was the fight against alcohol and drug abuse in native villages.
Mayor Ken Koelsch honored Gilbert Truitt who will earn a lifetime achievement award this week.
The theme of the assembly is indigenous yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Sound from Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott