Legislation establishing November as Alaska Native Heritage Month has been signed into law. The bill was sponsored by the newly created House Special Committee on Tribal Affairs.
The signing took place on Oct. 5 during a meeting of the Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage.
House Bill 126, which had broad support in both the House and Senate, was the first bill sponsored by the House Special Committee on Tribal Affairs.
“Alaska is home to roughly half of our nation’s federally recognized Tribes, and this bill celebrates Alaska Natives’ significant contribution to our state’s unique heritage, history and economy,” said Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky, D-Bethel, the committee chair.
Zulkosky said she hoped the legislation would help to strengthen collaborative partnerships with Tribes and tribal partners.
Sen. Elvi Gray Jackson, D-Anchorage, who carried the bill in the Senate, called the measure “our opportunity to recognize the First Alaskans and the rich culture and traditions they established on this land from the Arctic to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta through Southeast Alaska.
“Celebrating the different cultures and traditions of indigenous peoples only makes us stronger as a community and helps us understand why the land we live on is sacred,” she said.