Government agencies apologize to Alaska Natives

    Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) The US Fish and Wildlife and Alaska Department of Fish and Game apologized to Alaska native peoples for prohibiting the harvest of migratory birds.

    They prohibited the subsistence hunting in the 1960s and 1970s each year between March 10th and September 1st throughout Alaska, cutting an important
    food source for natives.  This forced natives to hunt illegally to feed their families.

    Billy Adams, representing the North Slope Borough said this apology means a lot to past generations, "I want to thank the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Alaska Department of Fish and Game for signing the apology letter for many of Alaska natives who have gone before us."

    [Charley Brower said the new policy will feed Alaskans, "We have gone through some loops to try and make it possible for our people throughout Alaska that subsistence for migratory birds to be eligible for hunting in the spring time when they arrive, for food."

    "We recognize that the regulations were wrong, that they prohibited hunting of migratory birds when you needed it most during the springtime," said Sam Cotton, the Alaska Fish, and Game commissioner. "We got it wrong, we regret that we caused harm. We realize now that it was a wrong regulation to have in place, so we apologize for that."

    The bird act was signed into law in 1918 and was first amended in 1997.  The first legal subsistence harvest was in 2003.


    Audio from Billy Adams

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