United States
   Environmental Protection
OPPTS Tribal  News
                                     Spring 2008

              Table  of  Contents
              Exposing Its Ancient Ice
pruce Tre
Recent evidence suggests that over 10,000  years ago, the
Columbia and Wooly Mammoth ended their reign  in  Alaska
and other parts of North America due to a sudden short
glacial re-advance that caused a profound environmental
Alaska may be experiencing another  profound environmental
change.  Scientific documents in the last few decades  have
indicated that it is indeed getting warmer and, as a result,
the ice is melting. The extensive Alaskan Tundra covers most
of the land base of Alaska. Its surface layers, which  tradition-
ally freeze and  melt with each season, are now  melting and
exposing its permafrost. Permafrost is known to contain ice
and organic material  that has been suspended for thousands
of years. Some of this  organic material contains Columbia
and Wooly Mammoth remains that hold  the much  sought after
ivory tusks. In many instances, these mammoths have  not
been exposed in over  10,000 years!

Table of Contents
From the Editor	4
News & Events	5
History & Culture	9
Journey to Alaska	20
Centerfold Map	26
Science & Research	29
Programs and Initiatives	51
Kid's Page	56
Calendar of Events	59
              The Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances is pleased to include the
              comments and opinions of contributors. Byline articles and interviews represent the
              opinions and views of contributors and not necessarily those of the U.S. Environmental
              Protection Agency. All web sites and URL's were true and current at the time of publication.
              OPPTS Tribal News is a publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is
              intended for noncommercial, scientific, and educational purposes. As a federal governmen-
              tal agency, neither the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, its programs, nor the produc-
              ers of this publication can endorse any products or services. Also note, unless otherwise
              stated, the EPA does not represent that featured science  articles have been scientifically
              This publication may contain materials that may be subject to U.S. and foreign copyright laws.
              For an explanation of page number icon, please see page 54 in Volume II of this Alaska issue.
              OPPTS Tribal News, Volume 5, Number 2
              ISSN: 1555-3175 (on line) 1555-3183 (in print)
                                                                                       LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS
                                                                                       Chris Blunck
                                                                                       Roger Burnside
                                                                                       William C. Gantry, Jr.
                                                                                       Fred Corey
                                                                                       Tami Fordham
                                                                                       Lianna Jack
                                                                                       Steve Johnson
                                                                                       Carol Jorgensen
                                                                                       E. Barrie Kavasch
                                                                                       Mary Lauterbach
                                                                                       Vivian Martindale
                                                                                       Dan Martinez
                                                                                       Heather R. Kendall Miller
                                                                                       Evon Peter
                                                                                       Elizabeth Resek
                                                                                       Steve Sumida
                                                                                       Top left cover photo credit to: Sophie Chaliak,
                                                                                       Native Village of Nunapitchuk
                                                                                       OPPTS Tribal News requests interesting, relevant stories
                                                                                       about pesticide and pollution prevention programs and
                                                                                       projects in Indian country from our readers. If you want
                                                                                       to share your experience with our readers, please write or
                                                                                       send an email message to Mary Lauterbach, EPA Office
                                                                                       of Pollution Prevention and Toxics,  1200 Pennsylvania
                                                                                       Avenue (MC7408M), Washington, DC 20460, lauter-
                                                                         To be placed on our mailing list, write to:
                                                                         OPPTS Tribal News, U.S. EPA, OPPT
                                                                         1200 Pennsylvania Avenue (MC7408M), Washington, DC
                                                                         20460, or send an e-mail to lauterbach.mary@epa.gov.

                                                                         OPPTS Tribal News can be viewed on the Internet at

                                                                         Mary Lauterbach, OPPTS Editor
                                                                         Danielle Glitz, Assistant Editor
                                                                         Shanita Bracket!, Writer
                                                                         Hailey McKenzie, Intern
                                                                         Michelle Humphrey, Photographer
                                                                         Brian Adams, Graphic Design

What's  to  Come
   Volume one of this issue
devoted entirely to Alaska contains
an overview of the political and
cultural history of Alaska Natives,
articles on science and research
efforts in Alaska, and our Kid's
   Volume two of this issue
contains: summaries of current
environmental issues and concerns
including climate change, wildlife,
endangered species, impacts from
the mining and oil industries, and
solid waste and toxic contami-
nants issues; articles focusing on
programs and initiatives; and,
success stories. Also contained
in this volume are insights from
Alaska Native elders and a Kid's
Page focused on traditional story-
   We at "OPPTS Tribal News"
took the unprecedented step in
mailing out a letter to all of the
federally recognized tribes in Alaska
announcing our publication and
inviting them to contribute any
relevant tribal environmental infor-
mation they may want to share
with others in  this publication.
We thank the contributors that
responded to this request and are
pleased to include their comments
and opinions.
 Alaska Facts:
   Alaska is the largest of the 50 states. It is comprised of 586,412
   square miles of land and 6,640 miles of coastline.
   Alaska has 17 of America's 20 highest mountains, 70 volcanoes,
   3,000 rivers, over 3 million lakes, and more active glaciers and ice
   fields than anywhere in the inhabited world. Source: Alaska Native
   Heritage Center.
*  On October 18, 1867 Alaska officially became the property of the
   United States.
   Alaska officially became the 49th state  on January 3, 1959.
   Alaska's most important revenue source is the oil and  natural gas
   industry. However, the fishing and seafood industry is the state's
   largest private industry employer.
   Alaska accounts for 25 percent of the oil produced in the  United
   The Trans-Alaska Pipeline moves up to 88,000 barrels of oil per
   hour on its 800 mile journey to Valdez.
   State flower: the wild forget-me-not
   State bird: the willow ptarmigan
   State tree: the Sitka spruce
   State fish: King salmon
   State sport: dog mushing
   State motto: North to the  Future
   State gemstone: Jade
   The discovery of gold in the Yukon began a gold rush  in 1898.
   Later gold was discovered at Nome and Fairbanks.
.  At 20,320 feet above sea level,  Mt. McKinley, located in Alaska's
   interior, is the highest point in North America.
   Juneau is the capital of Alaska  and the only city in the United
   States accessible only by  boat or plane.
   The Alaskan malamute sled dog is strong and heavily  coated.
   It was developed as a breed by a group of Eskimos named the
   Alaska's name is based on the Eskimo word Alakshak meaning
   great lands or  peninsula.
                                      Mark Your  Calendars!
                                     June 23-27,2008
                                     8th National Tribal Conference on
                                     Environmental Management
                                     Billings, Montana
                                     July 17-20, 2008
                                     Indigenous Environment Network
                                     (IEN), Protecting Mother Earth's Call
                                     for Healing — Reaffirming Our Roots.
                                     Lee, NV  "	'
                                  July 16-18, 2008
                                  Native American Water Association
                                  (NAWA) 13th Annual National
                                  Gathering of Tribal Drinking Water
                                  and Wastewater Professionals and
                                  Prior Lake, MN

From the Editor...
   I am pleased to provide our
readers with this issue devoted
entirely to Alaska. This publication
provides an overview of the history
and culture of Alaska Natives with a
visit to two Native Villages, articles
on science and research efforts in
Alaska, and our Kid's Page activity.
It also features articles on common
environmental issues and concerns,
technical research initiatives, tribal
success stories focused on improv-
ing the environment, a traditional
storytelling Kid's Page, and a few
words from some Alaska Native
   Alaska is many things to many
people. For those people who have
been to Alaska, none can deny its
sheer  size, complexity, scenic beauty,
great diversity and uniqueness of its
living things, and it's vulnerability
to great changes. Many Americans
referred to Alaska as "the Last
Frontier." For centuries, however,
many of its indigenous people
referred to Alaska as "the Great
   For the first time, several of us
working for the "OPPTS Tribal
News" were able to attend an EPA,
Region 10, Tribal Leaders' Summit
in Sitka, Alaska, and met many
Alaska Natives and Tribal members
from many regions of the state.
We also were able to visit the south
central areas of Alaska. We have
many to thank for assisting us in
our visit. We would like to take
this opportunity to acknowledge
an EPA colleague, Jennifer Curtis,
from EPA Region  10, Anchorage,
Alaska. Jennifer helped in planning
the trip to Alaska,  provided
training, and escorted us to the
communities of Nanwalek and
Kenai. Without her kind assistance,
we would not have been able to
make these informative trips.
   As always, this  publication is
a direct result of contributions by
EPA, Tribal representatives, Alaska
Natives, and many other different
organizations. I especially want to
thank my intern Haliey McKenzie,
a member of the Cherokee Nation.
Hailey earned an undergradu-
ate degree in history and political
science from the University of
Oklahoma. Her endless  enthusi-
asm and creativity for this project
was amazing as she researched and
collected materials for many of
these articles. She provided many
creative ideas for design and layout,
kids page activities, and interviews
with the elders. Not unlike other
interns, Hailey has much to be
proud of in  developing this publi-
cation and having her voice heard
along with many others.
   From our past environmental
record and experience, there is
a significant and urgent need to
recognize the great impact that
human activity can have upon the
environment. The challenge for all
is to learn to manage our environ-
ment more effectively through
applying collective wisdom, includ-
ing science and traditional knowl-
edge, and principles of environ-
mental stewardship that Alaskan
Natives and  Tribes have practiced
for centuries.
   Let's remember that there is
a "Great Land" that exists to the
north known as Alaska.

   — Mary Lauterbach, OPPTS
      Tribal News Editor
  OPPTS Tribal News Mission Statement
  OPPTS Tribal News strives to provide an opportunity to promote a two-way dialogue with EPA and
  American Indian Tribes, including Alaska Natives, regarding a vast array of environmental issues and concerns
  that affect Indian  country. The mission and hope of the publication is to maintain an open, constructive
  exchange of information among the federal government, Tribal governments, and Tribal organizations.
  Together, we can build mutual understandings and forge effective partnerships to achieve our common goals
  of protecting the water, air, land, and communities, now and for generations to come.
                                                                                  OPPTS Tribal News Staff

                                                                           News  &  Events
-Carol Jorgenson, Director of the U.S. EPA's American Indian Environmental Office
   OPPTS Tribal News has had
the pleasure to sit down with two
environmental stewardship leaders
to discuss their continued support
of our national environmental
protection goals and issues impor-
tant to Alaska Natives. Below,
Steve Johnson, EPA Administrator,
discusses his agency's efforts in
partnering with tribal organizations.
Carol Jorgensen, EPA American
Indian Environmental Office
Director, provides the introduction.
   I am so pleased that this publi-
cation is dedicated to Alaska. Our
diverse programs within EPA are
critical in the area of environment
and health for  the Alaska Native/
American Indians. The Indian
Environmental General Assistance
Program Act of 1992 was  passed to
help all federally recognized tribes
develop and establish environmental
programs to protect human health
and the environment. GAP is the
largest single source of funding
for tribal environmental programs
awarded by EPA.
   One of our many responsibili-
ties is to work with each Region
to allocate GAP funding for the
number of tribes they have who
have successfully applied for GAP.
Alaska has 229 tribes, and a great
many of them are not on a road
system, nor do they have safe
drinking water and sanitation.
That is why I am pleased that we
will get an Eagle view of some of
the many challenges Alaska faces.
Alaska is a fifth of the land mass of
the United States, within Alaska,
you have diverse cultures, such as
Yupik, Inupiaq, Aleut, Athabascan,
Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tshimsian,
and among these tribes are different
dialects, customs, and lifeways.
   As you read this publication,  I
want you to know that a tremen-
dous amount of effort went into
listening to Elders and Native
people to understand from their
point of view what are their major
issues and  concerns. Like all indig-
enous people  of the land, their
expertise and  knowledge is valuable
and important if we are going to
work together to provide a better
future for generations to come. The
Alaska Native people have lived on
this magnificent land for thousands
of years, and we have much to learn
from them. I know, because I
have set at the knee of my Elders,
as a Tlingit woman from Alaska,
and learned to respect all living
things, and to treat each animal,
bird, plant, tree, fish and the four
elements with great reverence,
learning from each, their way of
life. I won't go into that now, but I
believe the publication does a great
job of sharing Alaska Native peoples
commitment to the land.
   I want to thank OPPTS for
walking into new territory to help
us understand the Alaska issues for
a healthy environment for all it's
inhabitants. Gunal Cheesh, Ho Ho.
EPA Web sites and Hot Lines
Pollution Prevention
American Indian Environmental Office
Asbestos Abatement/ Management Ombudsman Hotline
National Lead Information Center & Hotline
National Pesticide Information Center
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Hotline
1-800-424-LEAD, 1-800-424-5323

News & Events
Interview  with
EPA Administrator,  Steve Johnson
   OPPTS Tribal News: We under-
stand that you visited Alaska in
August 2005. While visiting, what
impressed you the most about its
land and Alaska Natives?

   Mr. Johnson: While visiting
Alaska I was most impressed by its
diversity and rich cultural heritage.
I explored big cities like Anchorage
and traveled to small villages where
people still live in traditional ways.
There were  opportunities to experi-
ence Alaska Native arts, culture and
customs in both.

   OPPTS Tribal News: During
your Alaska Native Tribal Health
Consortium speech in Anchorage,
you mentioned that EPA, along
with tribal governments, the
Alaskan state government, and
other federal agency partners, have
come a long way in addressing the
need to improve sanitation and
delivery of safe drinking water.
What were the most important
tasks performed by EPA and its
partners resulting in the increase of
safe drinking water systems servic-
ing tribal communities?

   Mr. Johnson: Protecting
our nations drinking water and
wastewater infrastructure is a top
priority for EPA. In Alaska, and
throughout our nation, water is the
lifeblood  of our bodies, our econo-
mies, and our well-being.  EPA's
Alaska Native Village Infrastructure
Administrator Johnson on Trip to Alaska 2005
Program, which provides funding
to the State of Alaska, has played
a major role in providing sanita-
tion infrastructure in Alaska
Native Villages and rural Alaska
communities, many of which were
without flush toilets and running
water. Thanks to our collective
efforts, the number of households
supplied with 21st Century sanita-
tion systems and drinking water
treatment plants has risen steadily.
Today, approximately 90 percent of
the homes in Alaska Native Villages
and rural Alaska are served - or
funded to be served - by a piped

    OPPTS Tribal News: You
have said collaboration is essential
in addressing the environmental
challenges of the 21st Century.
How can EPA work with Alaska
Natives to conserve resources and
protect the environment?

   Mr. Johnson: EPA has learned
when working alone, our nation's
environmental progress is limited.
However, when we collaborate  with
our partners, our environmental
successes  can accelerate at a remark-
able pace. In addition to providing
water infrastructure funding to the
State of Alaska, EPA's Alaska Native
Village Infrastructure  Program  is
helping to teach rural Alaskans
how to operate and maintain water
and wastewater utilities. Through
the Remote Maintenance Worker
Program and the Rural Utility
Business Advisor Program, we're
providing cities and villages with
both training and technical assis-

                                                                            News  & Events
   OPPTS Tribal News: After
visiting with Alaska Natives, what
were some of the greatest environ-
mental issues most communities
brought to your attention?

   Mr. Johnson: Although we have
come a long way in dealing with
the need to improve sanitation
and the delivery of safe drinking
water, we also have a long way to
go. There are still too many places
where sewage lagoons leak into
the ground water, lakes and rivers
that are the source of drinking
water.  We must find ways to
ensure that new landfills, sanitary
treatment systems and drinking
water plants are properly operated
and maintained.  Improving rural
sanitation is also important to
sustaining the traditional subsis-
tence lifeways, because the pollut-
ants in lagoons and dumps can
contaminate the foods upon which
so many depend.

   OPPTS Tribal News: Alaska is
now at a crossroad when it comes
to making important decisions
regarding future development and
industry changes. What factors do
you feel are important to ponder
when lawmakers and industry
leaders are making: these decisions?
   Mr. Johnson: When I think
about the environmental challenges
our nation faces, I am struck by
how many of them are related
to growth and development.
Lawmakers and industry leaders
must appreciate our built environ-
ment has a vast impact on our
natural environment, our economy,
and our well-being.  However, with
some forethought and planning,
we can reduce these impacts. By
adopting green building strate-
gies for example, we can make
certain our buildings are designed,
built and operated in efficient,
environmentally responsible ways.
Fortunately,  companies, commu-
nities and individuals across the
country are realizing the environ-
mental and economic benefits
of "going green."  Today, leading
companies are setting their sights
not just on better ways to comply
with environmental laws, but on
creating sustainable operations
to protect our natural resources.
Communities are promoting energy
efficiency, as well as giving private
developers incentives to do the
same. And individuals are appreci-
ating that protecting our environ-
ment can be as simple as making
responsible everyday choices. All of
us - whether in our professional or
                                                                       personal lives
                                                                       - can minimize
                                                                       our impacts on the
   OPPTS Tribal News: In
what ways will EPA continue to
meet its goal in helping Alaska
Natives maintain their traditional
lifeways and sustain a high quality
of life?

   Mr. Johnson: For centuries,
Native Americans and Alaska
Natives have been respected for
their commitment to Mother
Earth.  At EPA, we share in the
obligation to pass down a cleaner,
healthier environment to future
generations.  By working together,
along with others  who share our
commitment to maintaining
traditional lifeways and sustain-
ing a high quality of life, we can
continue to protect the health
of Alaska Natives and the rich
environment that  has sustained
them through the ages.

News  &  Events
Community  Action for  a
Renewed Environment  (CARE-Alaska)
   Community Action for a
Renewed Environment (CARE)
is a competitive grant program
that offers an innovative way for a
community to organize and take
action to reduce toxic pollution in
its local environment.  Through
CARE, a community creates
a partnership that implements
solutions to reduce releases of toxic
pollutants and minimize people's
exposure to them.  By providing
financial and technical assistance,
EPA helps CARE communities get
on the path to a renewed environ-
ment. For more information please
visit www.epa.gov/CARE

Nelson Island Consortia
   In Alaska the Nunakauyarmiut
Tribe is the recipient of a Level
I CARE cooperative agreement.
The Nunakauyarmiut Tribe is
the federally recognized Tribal
government in Toksook Bay which
is one of the members of the
Nelson Island Consortium (NIC)
of Caninermiut and Qaluyaat
Communities, the closest trans-
lation from Yup'ik to English
is "Working Together to Keep
the Coastal and Nelson Island
Communities and Environment
   The seven remote villages—
in the consortium—Chefornak,
Newtok, Nightmute, Umkumiut,
Tununak, Toksook Bay, and
Kipnuk—reside within the Yukon
Delta National Wildlife Refuge
and are only accessible by airplane,
boat, and, in winter, snowmachine.
The villages are more than 98
percent Alaska Native and range in
size from 232 to 690 people, with
a total population of 2,617, about
20 percent of the Yup'ik- speaking
population. Approximately 73
percent of the adults are not part of
the cash economy, and 25 percent
of the population lives below the
national poverty line. The area
has a 186 percent cost-of-living
differential from the national urban
   These communities face
challenges. Except for Toksook
Bay, there are no household piped
water or sewer. About 10 percent
of the households have flush tank
haul systems, and more than
three-quarters of households use
5-gallon buckets ("honeybuck-
ets") for human waste, which haul
to unlined, untreated ponds or
wooden bunkers. The transport of
raw human waste in open contain-
ers over well-trafficked boardwalks
presents a high exposure risk, and
the disposal ponds often flood into
local subsistence areas. Although
the local public health service
watering points are available, most
residents in each community get
their drinking water from local
untreated sources such as rain
water, streams, ponds, ice, and
snow melt.  In addition, the terrain
and topography of the communi-
ties are  affected by climate change.
For example, the community of
Newtok is currently threatened by
coastal erosion at the rate of 100
feet a year. During fall 2006, the
community lost heavy equipment
because of the erosion.

                                                                         News  &  Events
                   Nelson Island Communities, Alaska
Joining Together
   NIC was formed in 2004 by
Newtek elders concerned about-
contaminatlon to their traditional
subsistence sites, as the communi-
ties share the same subsistence areas
and have close social and family
ties. The meetings led by the elders
cover how the pollution can affect
traditional subsistence lifestyles and
agreements to clean-up lands and
protect communities.

Identifying Problems,
   NIC holds teleconference calls
weekly and community meetings
four times a year. Their focus is
to examine toxics issues, educate
the community about those issues,
further develop the partnership,
and plan public summit workshops
with expert speakers. The NIC is
using the CARE Roadmap. Once
completed, NIC will have a matrix
of environmental health issues of
concern, which can  be developed
into an action plan. In addition,
an interagency planning group
has formed to coordinate efforts
to relocate Newtok because of its
erosion problem. For more infor-
mation see the following website:

Implementing  Solutions
to Reduce Risks
   NIC has accomplished the
following tasks:
 I A water quality monitoring
   program for the subsistence
 I Pamphlets for hunters based on
   elders' wisdom and staff research
 I Monitor campsites for littering
   and appropriate vehicle use (to
   reduce emissions and tundra
 I Ensure fish nets are not left in
 & Work to switch the use of chain
   saws to hand augers for ice
   holes, and shotgun lead shots to
   alternative shot
 ) Solid waste management
   planning and education
 ) Recycle aluminum cans
 ) Back haul of lead acid batteries
 ) Demonstration project on
   composting toilets
I  Safely
   Freon from

For Further
I  Tami Fordham, Region 10
   Project Lead
   U.S. EPA, Region 10 -Alaska
   Operations Office
   (907) 271-1484
   Email: fordham.tami@epa.gov
I  Cecilia Tessianna Chanerak,
   CARE Project Lead
   Nunakauyak Traditional
   tesssie@ho tmail. com
)  William Avugiak, Nelson Island
   Consortia Coordinator
   Chefornak Traditional Council
   (907) 867-8316
   Email: avugiak22@yahoo.com


  /e go out to
  lint on the sea
ice*to put food
on the table.
You go to the
  Shiela Watt-Clovtier,

                                                                        History  &  Culture
The  History of the  Indigenous People  in  Alaska
Evon Peter, Chairman of Native Movement and Former Chief of the Neetsaii Gwich'in
Adapted from "Indigenous Peoples of Alaska," Native Movement, 2003.
   Byline articles and inter-
views represent the opinions
and views of contributors and
are not necessarily those of the
U.S.  Environmental Protection
   Chief Evon Peter summa-
rized his knowledge of the
history of Alaska Native
Peoples in his published work
"Indigenous Peoples of Alaska."
Chief Peter documents that at
least seven Nations of people,
each possessing a distinct
language, culture, history, spiri-
tuality, and land base inhabit
the land known as "Alaska."
They are the Athabascan,
Inupiat, Yup'ik, Tlingit,
Haida, Unungan (Aleut), and
Tsimpshian Nations. The
following article is adapted
from Chief Evon Peter's
published work Indigenous
Peoples of Alaska.
   In the mid-1700's, foreign-
ers came to Alaska from both
the east and west. The British,
French, and Spanish traveled
from the east, already having
encountered the Indigenous
Nations of the Mayans, Incas,
Iroqouis, Cherokee, and
Navajo. The French came to
Alaska from the northeast
and brought fiddle music, tea,
crackers, tools, and alcohol.
The village of Fort Yukon,
where European traders set up
their post, now sits where the
Gwich'in have gathered for
thousands of years to celebrate
and trade. The foreigners
sought fur, wood, salmon,
gold, and later, oil.
   From the west, a Russian
man named Vitus Bering sailed
towards Alaska and landed on
one of the Aleutian Islands.
The Russians were interested
in furs, particularly the sea
otter pelt, because their value
exceeded that of gold in China
at the time. Russians had  a hard
time catching the sea otters
on the rough waters, so they
enslaved the Unungan people
to hunt for them. They held for
hostage Unungan women and
children and required the men
to bring them sea otter pelts
every day in order to see their
families. During that period,
the Unungan organized two
unsuccessful uprisings against
the Russians. Russia was the first
country among a small group
of European nations to claim
Alaska as their territory. Later,
the Russians were defeated in
battles by both the Tlingit and
Ahtna Nations.
   In the mid  1800's, Russia
became worried that the United
States of America (US) would
try to forcefully take Alaska
during their westward expansion.
This resulted in the signing of
the Treaty of Cession in 1867,
which documented payment
by the United States to Russia
for Alaska, at a few cents per
acre. The Indigenous Nations
of Alaska, who  are the original
land-holders, did not participate
in the discussions or negotiations
of this sale. Indigenous People
were not considered fully  human
and thus were not consulted
during the negotiations.
   In 1959, the United States
established Alaska
as a state within
the union despite
interest in decol-
onization (return-
ing of stolen land
to Indigenous
Peoples), as was beginning to
happen in Africa. Later, in 1971,
Congress enacted the Alaska
Native Claims Settlement Act
(ANCSA), which terminated
Alaska Native land claims within
the US legal system. ANCSA
was not a treaty between the
Indigenous Nations and the US.
Through ANCSA, the United
States paid nearly one billion
dollars to for-profit federally
established Native corporations
for taking the vast majority of
Indigenous nation lands and left
the remaining 44 million acres
under the control of the same
   The relationship between the
Indigenous Nations of Alaska
and the  United Stated needs to
be healed because it is out of
balance. Policies of colonization,
such as unilateral government
actions,  assimilation, and termi-
nation of Indigenous rights,
allowed  for the current situation
of oppression and control to
exist. Many Indigenous Peoples
struggle for basic human rights,
quality education, and jobs,
while at the same time over
a hundred million dollars in
natural resources are exploited
from Indigenous nations lands
in Alaska every year.

History  &  Culture

            Alaska Native  Lands
            William C. Cantry, Jr., American Native Law
            Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA of 1971)
            Parts of this chapter have been adapted from EPA's resourc
                       "Working Effectively with Tribal
               Byline articles and inter-
            views represent the opinions
            and views of contributors and
            are not necessarily those of the
            U.S. Environmental Protection

               Alaska Natives  hold
            their land as determined by
            the Alaska Native Claims
            Settlement Act (ANCSA)
            of 1971. The Act was a
            Congressional response to the
            discovery of oil in Alaska and
            the need to  achieve finality
            regarding the ownership  of
            land and mineral rights by
            resolving extensive Alaska
            Native aboriginal land claims.
            The Act extinguished all
            aboriginal land claims, includ-
            ing claims to submerged lands,
            and aboriginal hunting and
            fishing rights. The Act also
            extinguished all the Indian
            reservations in Alaska, except
            for the Annette Island Reserve
            of the Metlakatla Indian
            Community. In exchange,
            Congress  authorized the
            transfer of $962.5  million and
            approximately 44 million acres
            of land to village and regional
            corporations whose sharehold-
            ers were Alaska Natives.
               Village corporations own
            the surface rights to land
            around the villages for the
            benefit of the village Native
            people, while all of the
            ANCSA land and its subsur-
            face resources are owned by the
            Regional corporations. ANCSA
            corporations hold title to land
            in fee  simple, with no federal
restrictions on subsequent
transfers of the land. Native
shareholders, however, origi-
nally could not transfer their
corporate stock for 20 years,
and the Act was subsequently
amended to allow corporations
to extend the prohibition on
   The federal government
recognized Alaska Native
governments for the purposes
of native programs for many
years before ANCSA, and
approved the constitutions
of Alaska Tribes pursuant to
the Indian Reorganization
Act. The Bureau of Indian
Affairs (BIA) has recognized
more than 220 Alaska Native
entities as eligible  for services
and as having the  powers and
privileges of other Tribes.
And the Internal Revenue
Service included the villages
listed in ANCSA in the list of
tribal governments eligible for
benefits under the Tribal Tax
Status Act of 1982.
   There has sometimes been
confusion as to which entity
in a particular region is the
federally-recognized tribal
government, because the same
Alaska Native village may have
an ANCSA village corpora-
tion, a municipal government
formed under state law, and a
traditional council or council
organized under the Indian
Reorganization Act. EPA's
policy is to regard only the
governmental entity listed by
BIA  as the federally-recognized
tribe under the EPA National
Indian Policy and other federal
laws  and regulations applying
to Indian tribes.

                                                               History &  Culture
The  Indigenous Cultures of  Alaska

  1. The Clan  House
     Some 9,000 years ago, people used large
  boulders set on edge to build the walls of
  the earliest Aleutian Island winter dwellings.
  Later, they dug their semi-subterranean houses
  into the ground. These large oblong homes
  were framed with whalebone or driftwood
  and covered with sod.
     The clan house was a massive plank
  house with cedar posts and spruce beams,
  with variations built throughout the regions.
  Formline art on the clan houses identified
  the owners. The children inherited all rights
  through their mother, including names; the
  use of clan fishing, hunting and gathering
  land; and the  right to use specific clan crests
  as designs on  totem poles, houses, clothing,
  and ceremonial regalia.
     The carving shed was used to protect
  carvers while in the process of creating art—
  totem poles, house screens, canoes, painted
  bentwood boxes, storage chests, and regalia.
     Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian

History  &  Culture
             2. The Long House
             3. Long House Shed

                The long house (ulax) was large enough
             to house four or five families. People entered
             down a notched ladder through the smoke
             hole. The Alutiiq dwelling (ciqlluaq)  had a
             short subterranean tunnel-like entrance. Both
             types of houses had a drainage ditch built into
             the floor, and bear and marine mammal intes-
             tine "windows" in the roof. Eastern Aleutian
settlements could have up to six long houses,
each from 70 to 200 feet long, and serve as
home to as many as 10 to 40 families. Each
might have 10 rooftop entry hatches, which
also let in air and light.
   Small sleeping side chambers and storage
units surrounded the house. Some were free-
standing, while others were connected to the
house by tunnels.
   Aleut and Alutiiq People

                                                                 History & Culture
 4. Family Lodges and
 5.  Emergency  Mobile
   Athabascan pole and log dwellings were
similar to historic log cabins that they later
adopted. In colder areas, lodges were sunk
two to five feet into the ground. On the
milder shores of Cook Inlet, Athabascans
built log houses above ground. They slept
in the back area and used the front area for
cooking and drying. In earlier versions of
the log cabin, pairs of vertical posts were
placed at the four corners and used to frame
the single doorway. Logs stacked between
were lashed to the corner posts, and many
were covered with moss, sod, caribou skin,
birch bark, or spruce bark to form the roof.
A stormshed passageway to the door kept
out the cold. Windows of tanned mountain
sheep intestines let in the light.
   Athabascans were masters at designing
a variety of simple and functional shelters,
that kept them both warm and mobile as
they set out to hunt and trade. Emergency
mobile shelters were constructed in minutes.
A wandering hunter would pile up brush to
crawl under at night, dig a hole in a snow
bank and ice over the interior with the heat
of an oil lamp, or construct a conical tent
by bending over and lashing together several
alders, covering them with bark and caribou
skin. Dirt and moss piled high along the
sides provided insulation. A second layer of
skin, moss, a thatch of grass, or willow brush
kept out the rain.
   Athabascan People
Source: Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage, Alaska.

History & Culture
              6. The Winter  House

                 In general, winter houses on the mainland
              were built into the ground to insulate against
              severe weather and winter cold. Variations in
              house style occurred  between mainland and
              the island communities. Because of rocky
              soils, many of the houses on islands were built
              above ground.
                 A typical house could be 10 feet-by-12
              feet,  but varied from family to family. Family
              members slept on polar bear and caribou
              skins on raised platforms or on floors of drift-
              wood. An intestine-covered opening provided
              light overhead. Seal-oil lamps helped heat the
   Temporary winter houses were more likely
to be ground-level, willow-framed, oval or
round tents, covered with reindeer or seal
skin, moss or sod.
   The Yup'ik and Cup'ik people also shared
women's family and men's family homes. The
Ena, the women's family home, was owned
by women, but built and maintained by men.
A mother and her married daughters (or
several married sisters) lived in the women's
family home with their female children.
They prepared food for their men and boys
who worked and lived in the men's house,
the  Qasgiq. The qasgiq served both as the
men's house and community center. Boys
old  enough to leave their mothers joined
          male relatives in the qasgiq, where
          together they worked, ate, bathed,
          and slept. The older males taught
          younger ones how to be Yupvik
          and Cupvik men. Mothers and
          wives brought food and joined
          them in the evening for singing,
          dancing, and festive events.
             Yup'ik and Cup'ik People

                                                                    History  &  Culture
Tlingit Traditional  Knowledge  and
Storytelling,  A Tribal  Perspective
 Vivian Martindale, Atk'aheen, M.A. Cross Cultural Studies
   Byline articles and inter-
views represent the opinions
and views of contributors and
are not necessarily those of the
U.S.  Environmental Protection
    This introduction is written
in the Tlingit language.
         o     o   o
    Tlingit Atk'aheen yoo xat
duwasdakw. Vivian Martindale
yoo xat duwasdakw.  Mitchell
Prescott yoo duwasdakw ax eesh.
Lorna Woods ka Kay Prescott
yoo duwasaakw ax tlda. Howie
Martindale yoo duwasdakw ax
xux. Einkley's dachxdn dyd xat.
Ax Saami ydtx'i. Yeil naax has
sitee ax ydtx'i. Kaachxaana.dakw
dax ax een.aa dyd. My Tlingit
name is Atk' aheen—Faith.

    Translation: My name is
Vivian Martindale.  My father's
name is Mitchell Prescott.
My mothers' names are Lorna
Woods and Kay Prescott. My
husband's name is Howie
Martindale. I am a grandchild
of the Binkleys. I am a child
of the Saami. My children are
from the Raven moiety. My
family is from Wrangell.
    In Indigenous cultures,
one cannot separate the person
from the community, which
is why, in the Tlingit culture,
it is important to first intro-
duce yourself in relationship
to places and people. I live in
Southeastern Alaska where, on
most days, Raven pulls down
the clouds in gray curtains
towards the sea. It is in this
place that I am physically and
spiritually tied to people and
customs; a place where spruce,
cedar, and hemlock forests
stand like guardians along the
shoreline. It is here that our
community is bound together
like spruce roots reaching out
through language, traditions,
and stories.
   Hoonah, Alaska, where I
live, is the largest Native village
in Southeast Alaska with a
population of 800 people. For
my family, as well as many
Native families who reside
here, much of our subsistence
lifestyle is traditionally tied to
Glacier Bay and the surround-
ing areas. Our community
extends towards the ocean to
Lituya Bay, and consists of Icy
Strait, Excursion Inlet, and
Glacier Bay. There is evidence
that Tlingit people inhabited
the area in and around Glacier
Bay for over 9,000 years.
   Glacier Bay is the ances-
tral home of four prominent
clans:  the Chookaneidi,
Kaagwaantaan, T'akdeintaan,
and the Wooshkeetaan.
Through traditional knowl-
edge, we learn how to protect
our environment through
mutual respect. Out of respect
between man and nature,
and from the concept of
balance, comes our inherent
knowledge of how to treat
our 'relatives.' We believe that
everything contains a spirit,
thus every aspect of nature is
to be respected. The survival
of future generations depends
upon knowing our stories, as
well as knowing how to fish
and hunt.
   A sense of balance is one of
the  most important aspects of
both the Saami and the Tlingit
cultures, as demonstrated
through many generations of
traditional stories.
   While chaperoning a group
of Hoonah elementary students
on a boat trip in Glacier Bay
National Park, I was fortunate
to hear the story of Kaasteen
from the story's tradition-
bearer. As the story goes, in
the  Glacier Bay, an advancing
glacier overcame Kaasteen and
her  community because she
was disrespectful to the glacier.
The spiritual aspect of the
story moved both the  children
and adults. From this story,
we learn how important it is
to respect the land and one
another. This story, and other
traditional stories, are just as
relevant today as they were
many years ago because they
teach us about respect, sharing,
and working together in order
to survive.

History  & Culture
           Yukon Traditional  Knowledge  and
           Storytelling,  Food  for  Thought
           E. Barrie Kavasch,
           Adapted from "Native American Foods and Festivals for Every Season," Enduring Harvest

  '  ,
               Byline articles and inter-
            views represent the opinions
            and views of contributors and
            are not necessarily those of the
            U.S. Environmental Protection
   The following [summa-
rized] story was shared at
the Yukon International
Storytelling Festival, Summer
Solstice. Enjoy this  story as
food for thought, as well as the
delicious recipe for Willow-
Grilled Arctic Char with Wild
   Communities of three
cultures live in timeless
harmony across the stunning
environments near the Yukon
River. The Gwich'in of the
boreal forest and  Inuvialuit
of the open tundra  are joined
by other Canadians and
many visitors  at the edge of
the treeline, where beluga
whales frequent the waters of
the MacKenzie estuary near
Herschel Island. Each June,
near the summer solstice, the
First Nations Peoples gather
to celebrate their culture and
traditions over three days of
festivities filled with social and
cultural events, entertainment,
foods, and storytelling.
   The special gatherings
and celebrations of the Yukon
villages are savory, multisensory
experiences. Many are drawn
to the delectable regional
foods of grayling, Alaska King
Crab, Yukon and Taku River
Salmon, Arctic Char, caribou,
and musk ox.  Young fireweed
shoots, fresh raspberries,
mossberries, dewberries, wild
strawberries, and bearberries are
assembled into delicious salads,
along with the young leaves
of mountain avens and arctic
willow. Tombstone Mountain
teas are blends of raspberry
leaves, Labrador tea leaves and
                                                              blossoms, and Arctic willow
                                                              shoots. Subsistence hunting,
                                                              fishing, and trapping continue
                                                              to sustain Yukon's First Nations
                                                              Peoples through their profound
                                                              understanding of this land and
                                                              how to live on it.
  Willow-Grilled Arctic Char with Wild

  The Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) is a silvery fish with blue-
  green backs flecked with pink specks. However, the migratory
  fish undergoes a glorious transformation when it enters northern
  rivers to spawn. At that time, its colors flush and deepen to bright
  orange and reddish hues. Yukon  People treat this succulent,
  meaty fish like salmon, as it is excellent grilled over dry alder and
  willow stems, brushed with a light vinegar and oil dressing and
  spicy hazelnut oil.
      2 to 3 cups of alder and willow stems and bark, dampened
      1/2 cup hazelnut or walnut oil
      1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
      1 tablespoon diced onion
      dash of salt and pepper to taste
      1 (5 pound) Arctic char fillet
      6 small white onions
      12 medium young mushroom caps
  Gather fresh willow or alder withes (stems) to skewer small
  onions and mushroom caps. Prepare the campfire or grill by
  building a fine bed of coals. Spread the alder and willow pieces
  over the prepared  coals and place the grill about 6 inches above
  the coals. Lightly oil the grill with a small amount of hazelnut or
  walnut oil. Combine in a small saucepan the 1/2 cup of oil, the
  vinegar, the onion, and salt and pepper. Warm over medium heat
  at the edge of the grill. Place the Arctic char fillet in the center of
  the grill, skin side down, and brush top well with the warm grill
  sauce. Quickly skewer alternately the onions and mushroom caps
  on the fresh willow stems. Place  these beside the char fillet. Brush
  well with the same sauce.
  Grill the fillet for 5 to 10 minutes on each side, turning once and
  brushing often with the sauce. Check and turn the vegetable more
  often to grill evenly. Grill  lightly, do not overcook. Serve on a bed
  of steaming wild rice and hazelnuts.
  (serves 6)

                                                                     History & Culture
The Status of Alaska Native  Tribes,
A Tribal  Perspective
Heather R. Kendall Miller, Tribal Member, Curyung Tribal Council
(formerly the Native Village of Dillingham)
   Byline articles and inter-
views represent the opinions
and views of contributors and
are not necessarily those of the
U.S.  Environmental Protection

   Alaska is an expansive land
of approximately 586,000
square miles. It is occupied
by 229 federally recognized
Tribes, nearly half the total
number of federally recognized
tribes in the United States.
The Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut
Tribes of Alaska share a history
unique from most other Native
American Tribes. Unlike their
neighbors to the South, they
were never militarily conquered
by the United States, nor did
they ever declare war. With
a few exceptions, they were
never engaged in hostilities
with non-Native settlers. Alaska
Tribes never signed  (nor were
they forced to sign) treaties or
treaty-substitutes ceding to  the
federal government territory
or other rights. For the most
part, they were never removed
from their ancestral lands
and herded into reservations,
either to make lands available
to others or to break up their
traditional life ways. These
differences in treatment were
a product of Alaska's remote-
ness and the slow progres-
sion of non-Natives into the
Alaska territory in the late 19th
   For much  of the treaty-
making period between the
federal government and Lower
48 tribes, Alaska was owned
by Russia, not the United
States. When the United States
purchased Alaska from Russia
in 1867, aboriginal use and
occupancy was simply noted,
reserved and expressly left
unaddressed for future action.
Alaska tribes were nonetheless
deemed to fall under the same
legal regime applicable to all
other Native American Tribes.
Article III of the 1867 Treaty
of Cession stated: "The uncivi-
lized tribes will be subject to
such laws and regulations as the
United States may, from time to
time, adopt in regard to aborigi-
nal tribes of that country."
   That provision has long
been held to apply the whole
body of federal Indian and
statutory law to the "uncivi-
lized tribes of Alaska." While
Congress's Indian policies
of the late 19th and early
20th centuries were generally
extended to Alaska Natives,
aboriginal land claims remained
unaddressed. Only in the
1960s, when Alaska tribes were
finally met with a  common

History  & Culture

threat to their lands, did it
become necessary for Congress
to comprehensively address
aboriginal land holdings.
   The 1958 Statehood Act
had granted Alaska the right
to select some 103 million
acres. With Alaska about to
select their best lands and with
lucrative oil leases being let,
not by the  aboriginal owners
but by the  state government
(purporting to hold good title
by virtue of its selections), the
threat to Native lands was real
and immediate. The resulting
confrontation led to history's
largest settlement of American
aboriginal land claims.
The Alaska Native Claims
Settlement Act (ANCSA)
reserved to Alaska Natives full
title to over 44 million acres
(including  former reservations),
it  extinguished aboriginal
title to all other ceded lands,
it  placed those lands in  the
public domain, and it paid the
Alaska Natives $962.5 million.
Under ANCSA, the lands and
settlement  funds would be held
by newly created Native owned
and Native-controlled profit-
corporations. ANCSA estab-
lished 13 regional profit-corpo-
rations which received (based
on a population formula) 16
million acres of surface land
and the subsurface rights to
another 22 million  acres of
village  land. In addition, each
village  tribe was required to
establish a  corporation under
state law to "hold" the lands
(the surface estate to 22
million acres) and act "for and
on behalf of" the village.
   Importantly, ANCSA left in
place the Federal Governments
trust responsibility by preserv-
ing Alaska  Natives'  eligibil-
ity to receive all the Federal
Government's Indian trust
services, a provision which
guarantees for Alaska tribes
precisely the same trust services
that the BIA, Indian Health
Service (IHS) and other federal
agencies provide to lower 48
tribes in Indian country.
   As implementation  of the
Settlement Act began to wind
down in the 1980s, for many
tribal villages disillusionment
began to set in. For a number
of reasons, the ANCSA corpo-
rations had not proven  to be
the promised powerful  engines
for rural economic develop-
ment. Tribal governments were
desperate to achieve the same
relative security in their land
rights, hunting and fishing
rights, and local governance
rights as enjoyed by tribes
elsewhere. These issues  were
brought to the courts as Alaska's
tribes sought to defend their
immunities and enforce their
governmental powers. The
resulting litigation produced
a succession of decisions that
have delineated the rights and
powers of tribes in Alaska.
   The most significant case
involved  the Venetie Tribe.
In the early 1980s, Venetie
adopted a tribal tax on a
non-Native  company doing
business on  tribal lands. The
land had been a former reser-
vation that was revoked by
Congress in ANCSA and re-
conveyed to the newly formed
ANCSA village corporations.
The Venetie shareholders
dissolved their village corpora-
tions and voted to transfer the
former reservation land back
to the tribe in fee. The Venetie
Tribe asserted its  jurisdiction
over the non-Native  business
on the basis that it continued
to occupy Indian country
since ANCSA neither spoke
to or extinguished existing
Indian country in Alaska.
The Supreme Court disagreed
and interpreted ANCSA as
Congressional intent to extin-
guish Venetie's former status
as Indian country when it
revoked the Venetie reserva-
tion's trust status  and conveyed
it to the village corporations
in fee. The Court further held
that in the absence of Indian
country, Alaska tribes lack the
authority to regulate the activi-
ties of non-Natives.
   Although the Supreme
Court's Venetie decision severely
cut back on tribal  territorial
jurisdiction in Alaska, Alaska
Tribes continue to possess
inherent jurisdiction over tribal
members, regardless of whether
the members reside in the
respective tribal community
or live within or out of Indian
country. Other cases firmly
established that Alaska tribes
have the same governmental
status as other federally acknowl-
edged Indian tribes by virtue of
their status as Indian tribes with
a government-to-government
relationship with the United
States. Alaska tribes are thus
entitled to the same protection,
immunities, and privileges as
other acknowledged tribes, and
have the right, subject to general
principles of federal Indian law,
to exercise the same inherent and
delegated authorities available to
other tribes; and, are subject to
the same limitations imposed by
law on other tribes.

     seasons are
   > all mixed up.
The last few years
my grandmother
was living she said
When we are done
with the willow
leaves then comes
the sourdocks,
These seasons ,
in too much of
a hurry now."

'Now that Nuiqsut
is surrounded l
newly '
                                  Jura- '
      tivities, we
fish, but they're
not as good. The
caribou aren't fat,
and some of the
fish taste funny."
— Rosemary Ahtuangaruak,

Journey to Alaska
Journey to Alaska
   On April 13, 2005, the
OPPTS Tribal News staff headed
to Anchorage, Alaska, to gather
information for this unprecedented
issue. The staff's goal was to hear
first-hand environmental issues
common to Alaska Natives and see
first-hand how traditional  lifeways
and cultures are being affected by
these issues. This article provides a
summary of their research.
   During the trip, staff visited
Anchorage, Homer, Sitka,
Ketchikan, Nanwalek, and Kenai.
The  group also spent time at the
Alaska Native Heritage Center in
Anchorage and the Alaska Wildlife
Center in Ketchikan.

A Look at  Nanwalek,
   The Tribal member population
in Nanwalek is 303. Their popula-
tion  has almost doubled within
the last several years. Formally, the
Natives of Nanwalek are referred
to as Sugpiaq Nanwalek (or Real
People from the Place with the
   The Native Village of Nanwalek
has several administrative programs
and staff to ensure a healthy and
economically supported commu-
nity for its members, including an
Administrative Office, Community
Health Representative, the Indian
Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
Program, Natural Resources and
Fisheries, Alcohol Prevention
Program, a Health Clinic and
Diabetes Center, and  the Indian
Environmental General Assistance
Program (GAP)/Environmental
   Due to their vulnerable location,
residents of Nanwalek are extremely
sensitive to environmental changes
affecting the  Kenai Peninsula.
Most Community Members are
concerned with runoff from their
local landfill/open dump, pollution
from cruise ships, battery disposal
from buoys in the peninsula, global
warming, and dust.
   Nanwalek's landfill/open dump
  Interview with Emilie Swenning,  Chief of the
  Nanwalek  IRA Council
  Emilie expressed her deep concern about her people in the Native
  Village of Nanwalek and the state of their current environment. One of
  her main concerns is the growing population since the community is
  just over 300 people with several new ones on the way. The land base
  is approximately 8 square miles and 2 square miles of water. One of
  the most immediate environmental problems is the village open dump.
  It has no liner, and some of the residents, while trying to improve their
  village life, still do  not dispose of their trash in the right receptacles.
  Also, since the dump is open and has no liner, waste leaches into the
  ground and travels in the small stream down into the outlet. When
  there is sufficient wind, some of the trash is even  blown throughout the
    Chief Swenning  also feels that the climate changes and oil industry,
                 as well as the impact resulting from the 1989 Valdez
                 spill, have had great ramifications in their physical
                 environment. Many familiar foods from the  sea are  not
                 as common as they once were as the seals and sea
                 otters are not coming to their waters since certain fish
                 stocks have decreased since the spill. Also, they have
                 witnessed warmer winters, a growing season of larger
                 inc°cts,  and larger leaf growths on their trees.
                    nilie recounted and emphasized that ultimately
                    youth of the Village will have  to learn that soon
                 it is going to be their turn to manage their lives and
                 to  resolve the problems of the Village.  In conclusion,
                 Emilie said that this beautiful village could benefit
                 greatly not only from financial assistance and from
                 economic development, but also from some techni
                 cal assistance and guidance that could enable them to
                 adapt to their growth and changing environment.
                   Byline articles and interviews represent the opinions
                 and views of contributors and are not necessarily
                 Lhose of the  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

                                                                     Journey to Alaska
commenced operation in the
early-to-mid 1980s. The landfill/
open dump was constructed by
the Kenai Peninsula Borough and
serves as the dump site for all waste
from the village, with the excep-
tion of recyclable materials sent
off-site to Homer by plane. There
are other materials  stored nearby
which are sorted and classified  as
hazardous and non-hazardous.  The
biggest issue is that the open dump
is only a "stones' throw"  from many
homes. Also, the resulting runoff is
discharged into the Kachemak  Bay
without being treated or managed
prior to release. In  an effort to
address some of these issues, the
village will implement a  process
for separating wastes and will use
incineration as a means of waste
management when possible. The
village is also researching the idea
of incorporating pre-scheduled,
regular pick-ups of local  communi-
ty waste to ensure proper disposal.
   When considering climate
change, the residents notice larger
and an increased number of insects,
unpredictable weather changes, a
decreased number of seals and fish,
warmer water temperatures, more
tree moss, and enlarged plant leaves.
   Dust and poor indoor air
quality are state-wide problems.
The local airplane landing strip is
made with loose gravel, and take-
offs and landings present a huge
problem since the strip is only 100
feet from homes. The community
hopes to purchase calcium chloride
in the near future to apply to the
graveled area to reduce the dust
and airborne particles.
  Thoughts of Nanwalek  Residents
also are concerned
with the inevitable
growing pains and space
issues resulting from their
quickly increasing population.
Evident growing pains include less
space for residents and housing,
issues with the local economy,
increased pollution,  and an insuf-
ficient drinking water supply. The
Community hopes to develop
additional corporation land located
within a few miles in order to
alleviate these growing pains.
                    "There is hope for improvements within the
                  community and more opportunities for the kids of
                  tional programs, a decrease in the growing popula
                  tions that may result in better sustaining the new land
                  area, and continuing cultural and traditional lifeways.
                  I hope to keep the past with the future."
                      Natalie Kvasnikoff

    "I call myself a "Chief-in-Training" because I'm learning cultural
  and traditional lifeways, including traditional hunting and gathering,
  cooking and meal preparation, and  language, from many of the tribal
  elders. I teach the native language to the youth of the community
  because it is rapidly decreasing. English is my second language. Also, I
  am currently developing a native-tongue booklet of nursery rhyme:
    Besides our language, plants and wildlife are
  extremely important to  our community. I teach and
  practice the use of medicinal plants, as well as sea
  otter pelts when making traditional  clothing.              /*    \ _
    There have been a lot of changes from the natural    T »»-
  environment that used to be here.  Most of the       mf^1
  changes were seen after the  oil spill. I was extren
  frightened at that time and fear that it may happen
  again in the future. After the spill, residents spent countless days
  cleaning oil from the ducks, fish, other wildlife, and natural foods.  My
  goal is to maintain their beautiful land while keeping things pristine
  and clean."
      Rhoda Moonin

    Byline articles and interviews represent the opinions and views of
  contributors and are not necessarily those of the U.S. Environmental
  Protection Agency.

Journey  to  Alaska
  Interview with Rita
  Smagge, Executive
  Director, Kenaitze
  Indian Tribe

  Like many Tribal leaders, Rita
  is very concerned about the
  environmental changes that are
  impacting the ways of life of
  her Tribe. She is concerned that
  climate change may contribute to
  decreased snowfall. She recalled
  years, for example, of blizzards
  and snow almost up to the roof
  tops. There also has been an
  increase in insect activity.
    Rita is very concerned about
  the crowding that takes place
  every year at the Kenai River.
  Historically, the biggest fish,
  known as the King Salmon,
  attracts fisherman  and sportsman
  from all over the world. Many
  people come to fish the river
  because the Kenai River Kings are
  some of the largest in the world.
  However, the River is becoming
  overfished and the pollution from
  hydrocarbons being released into
  the water from motorboats is
  becoming apparent. Also, due to
  the increasing tourism and trade,
  many parks and recreation areas
  are overwhelming the area. Her
  concerns also stem from contin
  ued oil and gas development in
  Cook Inlet that may ultimately
  affect other water bodies such
  as the Kenai River. Lastly, due to
  unpaved roads, four wheeler dust
  is a constant problem with the
  glacier silt blowing throughout
  the area. The health and well-
  being of the tribal members at
  risk for diabetes, asthma, and
  stress-related diseases is increas
  ing. There are mold and indoor
  air pollution related problems as

    Byline articles and interviews
  represent the opinions and
  views of contributors and are
  not necessarily those of the U.S.
  Environmental Protection Agency.

Athabascan Values and the Kenaitze Indian
Tribe Mission Statement
 Athabascan Values
    Hard Work
    Caring and Providing For
    Family Relations
    Village Cooperation
    Responsibility to Village
    Respect for Elders and
    Respect for Knowledge
    Wisdom from Life
    Respect for the Land
    Respect for Nature
    Practicing Native Traditions
    Honoring Ancestors

 Mission Statement
    It is the mission of the
 Kenaitze Indian Tribe to foster
 the governmental, social,
 cultural, and economic well-
being of its members and
their families. This shall be
accomplished by administer-
ing programs and activities
that empower its members to
participate to the maximum
extent-thereby ensuring Tribal
self-determination. Self-deter-
mination shall be accomplished
primarily through education
and organization of council,
management, and members.
The Kenaitze shall strive  for
maximum effectiveness in
carrying out its mission.
   To the greatest extent
possible, the Kenaitze Indian
Tribe  shall engage in activities
that complement its strengths.
The Tribe shall be aware  of its
weaknesses, how to minimize
them, and focus on learning,
working, and choosing projects
with a long-term view that will
provide  for Tribal growth and

                                                                    Journey to Alaska
A Look  at Kenai,  Alaska
   The Tribal member enrollment
for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe is
1,200. Formerly, the members of
the Kenaitze Indian Village were
referred to as the Dena'ina Indians.
   The Kenaitze Indian Village
has several administrative programs
and staff to ensure a healthy and
economically viable commu-
nity including an Administrative
Office, Environmental Protection
Program, Science Camp Program,
Housing Assistance Program, Social
Services (e.g., tribal court, general
and energy assistance), Culture
and Education Program (includes
scholarships, training, vocational,
native language, youth activities,
Youth Olympics team, culture, and
recreation), Health and Dental
Clinics (include drug and alcohol
abuse prevention programs and
diabetes awareness), and  Fisheries
and Education.
                                                                      refon. Tribal
Brenda serves in the Environment Department. She has developed
an extensive environmental educational program for tribal youth that
includes a summer camp. She has developed a wide variety of differ
ent activities for the children that include many cultural elements of
the Tribe and the surrounding environment such as the Dena'ina Plants
coloring book and the Nature Journal. Brenda has also worked on the
many other important environmental activities for the Tribe such as
their Recycling Program and provides tips on how to handle the differ
ent wastes. She also helps administer various grant programs, such as
the General Assistance grant (GAP) and the EPA Watershed Protection
Grant, (to protect the Kenai River from pollution caused by outboard
motors).  More recently, the Tribe has received a grant from the US
Department of Energy for a Tribal Renewable Energy Feasibility Study.
This  project has set up a wind tower to measure wind speed and a
device that will measure solar energy.
   One of the most promising things that Brenda has observed is the
 excitement and energy of the Tribal youth. These Tribal youth have a
 desire to learn  about their traditional knowledge and cultural practices
 such as hunting and gathering. This is especially noteworthy as the
 Tribe is  located in an area that has increasing population of mainly
 non  Natives. Many of the tribal members are employed outside Kenai.
 Therefore, maintaining and learning cultural customs of the Tribe is
 critical to maintaining their identity for the future.
   One of the challenges the Tribe faces is the uprooting and destruc
 tion of native plants due to population growth and urban sprawl.
 Brenda recounted a story where one culturally important species of
 plant was actually bulldozed by mistake while putting in a  roadway
 to a housing development. This type of plant generally likes certain
 growing areas  and not others sites. Therefore, this makes this species
 less available for harvesting  by the tribal members.

   Byline articles and interviews represent the  opinions and views of
 contributors and are not necessarily those of the U.S. Environmental
 Protection Agency.

Journey  to  Alaska
   The Kenaitze Indian Tribe has
implemented several successful
programs to support their tribal
members in the areas of physical
and mental health, education,
youth services, and housing.

Kenaitze Health Clinic
   From the  Kenaitze tribe's belief
that "Preservation of health is
a commitment to the preserva-
tion of culture: safeguarding our
health safeguards our culture," the
Kenaitze Dena'ina Health Clinic
staff support the tribes health,
dental, and urgent care needs. The
health clinic staff, which consists of
approximately 20 tribal members,
encourages honest and open discus-
sion with tribal patients in order
to foster functional relationships
between the patients and health
care providers. The health clinic
thrives on its working relationships
with other Kenaitze programs such
as the Head Start, Nakenu,  and
Elders programs.
   The Kenaitze Dena'ina Health
Clinic offers support in a range
of common health care services
including diagnosis and treatment,
prescriptions, lab work, x-rays, and
referral services. The health clinic
also provides dedicated resources to
assist with pediatric care, diabetes  and
nutrition, cardiac care, and endocri-
   The Dental Clinic offers
comprehensive care to tribal
members with an emphasis  on
prevention concurrent with the
objectives of the Healthy People
2010 Initiative. The Dental
Clinic provides care for a range of
common dental services, including
checkups with x-rays and exams,
routine cleanings, fillings, emergen-
cy treatment, and other specialty
treatments as needed.
Kenaitze Cuya Qyut'anen
Head Start
   The Kenaitze Cuya Qyutvanen
Head Start works in partnership
with the community and parents
for the benefit of tribal young-
sters and their families. The Head
Start program involves elders and
community leaders, social services,
and medical providers to ensure
children are given the best services
the community has to offer. The
Head Start program also relies on
parent participation to provide
guidance and support of local
operations, help in curriculum
development, and sustain cultural
practices and beliefs. With the
help of the local tribal commu-
nity and parents of students, the
Kenaitze Cuya Qyut" anen Head
Start program hopes  to achieve the
following goals:
)  Goals in Child Development
 ) Education & literacy
 ) Health - including physical,
   dental, mental health screen-
   ings, and education
 I Nutrition — breakfast and lunch
   are provided
 I Individualized education plan
   for each child
 I Transitions into and out of the
 I Transportation  available to most
 I Children with special needs
   are identified and referred for
   special services  in collaboration
   with Head Start.
I  Goals in Family Development
 I Family support services/home
 ) Support toward families'
   personal goals
 ) Family involvement in planning
   program goals and objectives
 ) Parent education  on a variety of
   topics selected by parents
 ) Family dinners
 ) Counseling referrals.
Kenaitze  Salamatof Housing
   The Kenaitze Indian Tribe and
the Salamatof Tribal Council, two
local federally recognized tribal
authorities, combined in 1998
to form the Kenaitze/Salamatof
Tribal Designated Housing Entity.
The goal of this partnership is to
provide safe, secure and affordable
housing to  meet the needs of the
low and moderate income Alaska
Native/American Indian families
residing in  the Kenaitze/Salamatof
jurisdictional area.
   The partnership oversees several
programs including weatheriza-
tion, modernization, homeowner-
ship, and mold and ventilation,
and provides financial support for
Kenaitze Indian Tribe's Emergency
Housing Assistance and Student
Housing Assistance Programs.
For over three years, the Kenaitze
Salamatof Housing Entity also has
provided homes to eligible tribal
residents through a program titled
"Rent to Own." This program
allows qualified participants to
rent a new  or existing home for  a
pre-determined amount of time
and then purchase  it.
   The Nanwalek  Indian Village
offers its tribal members extensive
support in  the areas of educa-
tion, physical and mental health,
alcohol-prevention, diabetes
prevention, housing, and environ-
mental health. Specifically, the tribe
sponsors the following programs
and initiatives:
 I Social Programs: Indian Child
   Welfare Act, Community
   Health Representative Services
 I Cultural-Environmental
   Programs: Traditional Ecological
   Knowledge program
 I Community Development:
   Water services,  Environmental
   program, Youth Activities

                                Journey  to  Alaska
   program, Education program,
   Head Start program, Salmon
   Enhancement project.

Nanwalek Environmental
   The Nanwalek Environmental
Program, led by a small group
of tribal members, focuses on
improvements in waste manage-
ment, safe drinking water, air
pollution and indoor/outdoor air
quality, and environmental educa-
tion. With the assistance of funds
from the Indian Environmental
General Assistance Program, the
program provides training for local
community volunteers, researches
innovative technologies to control
dust accumulation from the tribe's
gravel air-landing strip, promotes
recycling and  smart waste manage-
ment, and purchases computer
equipment and educational supplies
for the Nanwalek community.

Nanwalek Education and
Head Start Programs
   The Nanwalek Education and
Head Start Programs utilize volun-
teers from the local community
to incorporate cultural and social-
based education into its every-day
curriculum. Students are taught
the native language of the Sugpiaq
and Alutiiq natives, as well as
story-telling. The Nanwalek Indian
Village received grant funding
from the U.S. Office of Juvenile
Justice  and Delinquency Prevention
in 2005 to implement its New
Direction program. The Nanwalek
New Direction program will
provide prevention activities for the
youth of Nanwalek who have been
identified as at-risk for delinquent
behavior. This project will include
alcohol and drug abuse prevention
programs and services, and drug
and/or alcohol education. The
targeted group is 12-17 years of age
and of Sugpiaq/Aluutiq descent.
The approximate number of youth
involved will be 35 in the first year
and 19 more in the subsequent two
years of the grant. The Council
will use these funds provided by
the U.S. Department of Justice,
Office of Justice Programs, Office
of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention to operate a year  round
after school prevention program
which will provide safe, education-
al, and fun activities for the youth.
For more information,  contact the
Nanwalek Head Start Program at

Nanwalek Health Clinic
   The Nanwalek Health Clinic
specializes in health education and
prevention programs, as well as
physical health care services for its
tribal members. Focusing on the
youths is a
top priority for
the village. Health
clinic programs, including
alcohol and diabetes preven-
tion, highlight the importance
of prevention and education.
Other common services supported
by the Nanwalek Health Clinic
include diagnosis and treatment of
children and adults, prescriptions,
lab work, x-rays, referral services,
and diabetes and nutrition-based
education. For more informa-
tion, contact the Nanwalek Health
Clinic at 907.281.2251.
  It is the mission of Kenaitze Salamatof Housing to provide housing
  opportunities and  other assistance for low and moderate income tribal
  members and all Alaska Natives and American Indians within the
  jurisdiction of the  Kenaitze Indian Tribe and the Native Village of

    *Census results for year 2000 shown in map
    **Forty-one percent of the population resides in
    Anchorage, and 79% of the population resides in
    the six largest census areas: Anchorage, Fairbanks,
    the Kenai Peninsula, Ketchikan, the Matanuska-
    Susitna Borough, and Juneau
    Source: State of Alaska, Department of Commerce,
    Community, and Economic Development,
    commerce, state, ak. us/home, htm


2000 Total
1995 Total
1990 Total
1985 Total
1980 Total
1975 Total
1970 Total


Source: Alaska Department of Fish and Game,
Alaska Commercial Salmon Harvests, 1970-
2004, www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us
                 ALEUTIAN ISLA
       ^         BETHEL
3LANDS {5fcP
Aleut &Alutiiq


Aleutians East Borough
Bristol Bay Borough
Cordova- Valdez
Fairbanks (city)
Fairbanks North Star Borough
Haines Borough
Kenai Peninsula Borough
Ketchikan Gateway Borough
Kodiak-Kodiak Island Borough
Matanuska-Susitna Borough
North Slope Borough




 Haida, Tsimshian
                                                            ALASKA LANGUAGE
Language Family* Population Speakers
< 1,400
                   *Data reported in 1997
                   **Excludes populations in Russia, Greenland,
                   and Canada originally listed in source

                   Sources: Alaska Native Language Center,
                   University of Alaska Fairbanks, Box
                   757680, Fairbanks, AK 99775, (907) 474-
                   7874, (907) 474-6586 (fax), jyanlp@uaf.

                   Michael E. Krauss (1997). The indigenous
                   languages of the north: A report on their
                   present state. Northern Minority Languages:
                   Problems of Survival,  ed. by Hiroshi Shoji
                   drjuha Janhunen, 1-34. (Senri Ethological
                   Studies 44.) Osaka, Japan: National
                   Museum of Ethnology.
                                               Mean annual temperatures (°F) denoted in
                                               circles throughout Alaska map.

"I    ' ihdi I
           iiifttl ,

               re to
               r ancestors
that all of
and their spirits wal
with us, celebrate life
and nature with u
      ance w
    Village of Iguigig

                                                               Science & Research
Introduction  to  Science  and
Research  in Alaska
Information adapted from several sources including EPA's Tribal Science Council
Website and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Website
   Over the last ten years,
numerous science and research
projects have been initiated to
study Alaska's environment. While
some of these projects have focused
on Alaska's unique environment,
others have examined health issues
specific to Alaska's indigenous
people. Currently, there is no
single repository for information
collected during all of the ongoing
and/or  completed research projects.
However, there are efforts being
conducted to compile this informa-
tion. One such effort is the Arctic
Health Website, in which research-
ers at the University of Alaska-
Anchorage are compiling research
information on Alaska natives. The
project is being sponsored by the
National Library of Medicine.
   The vast majority of science
and research projects on Alaska's
environment are conducted
utilizing mainstream ("Western
Knowledge") approaches. However,
in Alaska and elsewhere, there is
a growing movement to supple-
ment mainstream approaches
with "Traditional Knowledge." In
this publication, there are some
examples of projects and activities
that have used one or both of these

Western Approach
   The western approach uses
knowledge based on objective
principals. This involves the
systematic observation of, experi-
ment with,  and peer evaluation of
the material and functions of the
physical universe. Western science
typically gains its knowledge
through the work of expert scien-
tists trained in analyzing certain
components of the whole physical
universe. This knowledge is trans-
mitted through written text.

Traditional Approach
   The traditional approach uses
the "accumulated knowledge"
of indigenous people who have
lived and thrived in their unique
environments for thousands of
years. Their knowledge is drawn
from observations made on both
the physical and spiritual aspects of
the world, which are often viewed
holistically. Most knowledge is
accumulated and passed down from
one generation to the next through
various methods including oral

Towards Understanding
Different Scientific
   As the value of traditional
knowledge becomes further recog-
nized by mainstream researchers,
the need to  use it in the current
western ecological and environmen-
tal health research becomes more
apparent. There have been cases
where environmental conservation
and sustainability projects have
realized more effective results when
employing "traditional knowledge,"
than with a western approach. In
order to completely understand
and address the environmental
 "Indigenous people have a
 the descendants of the original
 inhabitants of such lands.
 Indigenous people represent
 a significant parentage of the
 global population. Over the
 many generations, they have
 developed a holistic traditional
 scientific knowledge of their
 lands, natural resources, and
               rom Agenda 21,
 Rio Conference
problems and health issues affect-
ing Alaska, western science should
begin to acknowledge and respect
traditional knowledge before final
scientific observations and conclu-
sions are drawn. Both western and
traditional approaches can aid in
finding solutions to the public
health and environment concerns
facing Alaska and its indigenous
 There is a single light of
 science, and to brighten it
 anywhere is to brighten it
    Isaac Asimov

Science & Research
Alaskan  Coastal  and Sea Mammal  Research
   There is a. tremendous amount
of research currently being conduct-
ed on the Alaskan Costal system
and sea mammals living in the
Alaskan region. In addition to the
NOAA marine mammal research
discussed in an article in this issue,
many government, academic,
and private sector institutions are
conducting important research.
There are also many organizations
that maintain research information
portals and databases to link users
to research programs and projects.
This article contains brief summa-
ries of only a small fraction of the
current marine research programs
and information databases pertain-
ing to Alaskan coastal and sea
mammal research.

The  Alaska Department
of Fish and Game
The Arctic  Marine Mammal
   This program focuses on marine
mammals living in the Bering,
Chukchi, and Beaufort seas,
especially those linked to Alaska
Native subsistence users and the
ecosystems of which they are an
integral part. The program conducts
research to understand the diets,
foraging, habitat use, movements,
basic population dynamics, and
condition of marine mammals.
Study subjects include ice seals,
walruses, polar bears, and beluga
and bowhead whales. This research
also provides information needed
to understand possible perturba-
tions and disturbance from oil and
gas development and interaction
with fisheries. The following are
examples of research currently being
conducted within the program.
   Ice Seal Eiomonitoring: The
Arctic Marine Mammal Program
is working with villages to collect
samples from the subsistence
seal harvest. Tissue samples and
measurements from harvested seals
are taken to evaluate indices of
population status and health. Tissue
samples are analyzed for, among
other things, contaminants, diet,
growth and condition, and genetics.
   Bering Strait Environmental
Observatory at Little Diomede: In
collaboration with the University
of Tennessee, the Arctic Marine
Mammal Program is working to
establish water sampling capabili-
ties at Little Diomede in the
Bering Strait Region for year-round
oceanographic studies. Because
local residents are almost entirely
dependent upon subsistence food
resources, it is very important to
monitor changes  that can have a
major impact on  their community.
Of particular concern are changes
in weather patterns, sea ice regimes,
and biological cycles. This study
also includes contributions from
local hunters who provide marine
mammal tissue for disease screening
and other analyses.
   Bristol Bay Beluga Whale Project:
This project is a collaborative
effort between the Arctic Marine
Mammal Program and the Bristol
Bay Native Association to track
beluga whales. Satellite telem-
etry is being used to study beluga
whale and salmon interactions in
the Kvichak Paver system. Other
partners in this study include
the National Marine Fisheries
Service,  the Alaska Beluga Whale
Committee, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, and the National
Park Service.

Stellar  Sea Lion Program
   The  Stellar sea lion research
program examines the steep and
dramatic decline of the population
of these  mammals in Alaska. The
program includes projects focused
on population dynamics, animal
movements and behavior, physi-
ology and disease, genetics, and
sea lion  nutrition and condition.
Samples collected from captured
stellar seal lions throughout coastal
Alaska are shared with over 40

                                                                   Science  &  Research
   collaborators to conduct research
   on topics such as parasitology and
   virology, contaminants analyses, and
   predator-prey relationships.

   Harbor Seal Program
      This program monitors popula-
   tion trends of harbor seals in
   selected areas of Alaska. The goal
   of the research is to gain a better
   understanding of harbor sea ecology
   (e.g., diet, dive behavior and
   movements, and habitat use) and
   population dynamics (e.g., assessing
   survival and reproductive success
   through photo-identification of
   individuals and radio telemetry).
   Researchers compare health and
   condition parameters, diet, and
   diving data to identify factors that
   may contribute to the different
   regional population trends  observed
   throughout Alaska.
      For more information on these
   Alaska Department of Fish and
Game marine mammal programs,
visit www.wildlife.alaska.gov/

Alaska  SeaLife  Center
    The Alaska SeaLife Center is
a marine facility that combines
research with wildlife rehabilitation
and public education. Research
conducted at the Center aims to
identify the reasons for ecologi-
cal  changes and declining marine
populations. Marine mammals
studied include the Stellar sea lion,
pacific harbor seal, and eider. For
more information on research being
conducted by the Alaska SeaLife
Center, please visit www.alaskaseal-

U.S.  Geological Survey-
Alaska  Science Center
    The mission of the USGS
Alaska Science Center is to provide
leadership and accurate informa-
tion to support sound decision-
making regarding natural resources,
natural hazards, and ecosystems in
Alaska and circumpolar regions.
The Center's Biological Science
division conducts research on
ecosystems and habitats, mammals,
fish and fisheries, birds, and topics
such as remote sensing, genetics,
contaminants, and biometrics. Sea
mammals studied at the center
include walruses, polar bears,  and
sea otters. Walrus research projects
include an abundance study and a
genetics program. Sea otter projects
being conducted at the Center
include studies on sea otter
population status and
changes, examining
oil spill effects on
sea otters, and
sea otter

predators. For more information
on research being conducted by the
USGS Alaska Science Center, visit

North Pacific
Universities  Marine
Mammal  Research
   The mission of the North
Pacific Universities Marine
Mammal Research Consortium
is research on the relationship
between fisheries and marine
mammals in the North Pacific
Ocean and Eastern Bering Sea.
The Consortium, formed in  1992,
consists of the University of Alaska,
the University of British Columbia,
the University of Washington, and
the University of Oregon. Federal
and state governments, the fishing
industry, private foundations,
and coastal Alaskan communi-
ties provide funding for research
conducted by the Consortium. A
Scientific Advisory Committee,
comprised of university, industry,
and government agency representa-
tives,  oversees the Consortium's
research program. Currently, the
Consortium is conducting research
on the Stellar sea lion and the
Alaska killer whale.
   Stellar Sea Lion Research:
Consortium researchers are
comparing the behaviors, diets,
and movements of Stellar sea lions
in Southeast Alaska, where the
population is abundant, to those
in the Western gulf, the area of the
largest decline in population. The
Stellar lion research projects involve
gaining a better understanding of
the mammal's nutritional needs;
developing better techniques for
studying the mammals in the wild;
and conducting laboratory tests,
data analyses, and computer simula-
   Alaska Killer Whale Research:
Consortium researchers are studying
the possible impact of killer whale
predation on the declining popula-
tions of Stellar sea lions. This is
a three-component study. The
first component was a survey of
mariners in the Gulf of Alaska  and
Aleutian Islands to identify areas
of killer whale concentrations. The
second component consists of field
study for identifying individual
killer whales and biopsy sample
collection for genetic and dietary
analysis to determine the propor-
tion of killer whales feeding on
marine mammals. The third
component of the study involves
a comparison of predation rates in
the southeast and western regions of
   For more information on
the Consortium and its marine
mammal research, visit www.

National Science
   The National Science
Foundation (NSF) is an indepen-
dent federal agency charged with
promoting the progress of science
and advancing national health,
prosperity, and welfare, among
other responsibilities. NSF supports
and funds many research projects
in the Alaska region including the
Bering Ecosystem Study, support-
ed by the NSF Office  of Polar

Bering Ecosystem  Study
   BEST is a major research effort
to gain an understanding of and
predict the impacts of climate
change on the marine ecosystems
of the eastern Bering Sea. Currently
in its planning stage, the BEST
program will involve the deploy-
ment of ships and long-term
instrument arrays, and satellite-
based remote sensing studies. The
grand scale of this undertaking will
require collaborations with other
national and international programs
conducting similar investigations
into the effects of climate change.
The BEST Science Plan, published
in October 2004, outlines the
proposed studies. According to the
plan, BEST will:
 )  Investigate connections between
    external forcing mechanisms
    and hydrographic structure and
    physical processes.
 )  Investigate the connection
    between physical aspects of the
    marine environment and the
    responses  of the biota of the
    eastern Bering Sea.
 I  Develop tools for integrating the
    effects of climate change across
    spatial and temporal scales, with
    the goal of forecasting how the
    ecosystem might be expected to
    behave under different climate

    In addition to this natural
science research program, the NSF
Arctic Social Sciences program is
supporting the development of
a social sciences research plan to
complement BEST. This research
plan will focus on how humans use
and organize themselves around
the Bering Sea system. Still in
draft form, the research program
themes will attempt to prioritize
the concerns, goals, and interests
of long-time Bering Sea residents,
including Alaska Native communi-
ties. The three broad themes of the
research project,  as of the fourth
draft of the research plan published
in September 2005, are:
 )  Impacts on humans: how past,
    current, and possible future
    changes in the Bering Sea
    ecosystem affect the health and
    well being of human communi-
    ties living and depending on this

                                                                  Science &  Research
   region for subsistence, employ-
   ment, and cultural survival.
 ) Human impacts: how changing
   human uses of the Bering Sea
   region affect the natural cycles
   of this ecosystem by moderat-
   ing and/or accelerating systemic
 ) Dynamics of human and non-
   human natural systems: how the
   human environmental dynamic
   has changed through time  and
   may change in the future due to
   internal and external opportuni-
   ties and pressures.

   For more information on the
BEST projects,  links to both the
natural science plan and the social
sciences research plan, and informa-
tion on related programs of which
BEST is a component, visit www.

Study of the Northern Alaskan
Coastal System (SNACS)
   This NSF funded research
program involves  various research
projects focused on the three
elements of the coastal system,
land, ocean, and atmosphere.
Research project topics include
bowhead whales, carbon intercon-
nections, organic  carbon's effect on
eroding coastlines, halomethane
gas exchange, synthesis and scaling
(to study climate change), and the
deposition and fate of mercury.
For more information on SNACS
and the aforementioned research
projects, visit www.arcus.org/arcss/
   In addition to  conducting
research, there are many organiza-
tions dedicated  to pulling together
the work of different  organiza-
tions to form collaborations. Two
such organizations are the Alaska
Native Science Commission and
the North Pacific  Marine Science
The Alaska Native
Science Commission
   The Alaska Native Science
Commission (ANSC) provides
information and referral and
networking services for research-
ers seeking active partners in the
Native community. Its mission is
to "endorse and support scientific
research that enhances and perpetu-
ates Alaska Native cultures and
ensures the protection of indig-
enous cultures and intellectual
property." ANSC also serves as a
clearinghouse for proposed research,
an information base for ongoing
and past research, and an archive
for significant research involving the
Native community. The following
are brief synopses of a few of the
on-going research projects involving
Native communities.
   Collaborative Research: Holocene
Climatic Variability in Southern
Alaska — Quantitative Estimates of
Temperature and Precipitation, Warm
Intervals, and Possible Cyclicity
   The focus of this NSF-funded
collaborative research project is the
reconstruction of winter precipita-
tion  in southern Alaska. Researchers
identified  lakes having exceptional
promise for climatic reconstruc-
tions and will apply their exper-
tise in paleoecologic and isotopic
analyses, glacial-geological studies
at proglacial lakes,  CIS-based local
climatic modeling and synoptic
climatology to the reconstruction
efforts. Communities  chosen for
these reconstruction projects are the
Ahklun Mountains, Arolik Lake,
Chugach Mountains, and the Kenai
   Permafrost I: Alaska Transect
   This NSF-funded research
project collects and logs data
from 27 permafrost observato-
ries located along the oil pipeline
in the Prudhoe Bay community.
are measured in
drill holes of up to 80
meters in depth, in the
active layer and in the near-
surface permafrost. Researchers
will use these data to make observa-
tions of the active layer, permafrost,
and thermokarst conditions.
   Integrated Assessment of the
Impacts of Climate Variability on the
Alaskan North Slope Coastal Region
   The primary goal of this
NSF-funded research project is to
generate a range of scenarios for
changing sea ice variability, extreme
weather events, storm surges,
flooding and coastal erosion, and
other environmental factors that
can be used to predict the probabil-
ity of the development of weather
conditions that could  affect coastal
communities. These scenarios can
also be used in marine mammal
management and surveys, and
transportation and offshore resource
    USGS/Earth Surface Dynamics
Cryospheric Studies Project
   This USGS-funded research
project is being conducted in
Alaska, Greenland, and Antarctica.
The two distinct aspects of the
project are:
 I Department of Interior/
   Global Terrestrial Network for
   Permafrost Observing Network:
   Includes the Global Terrestrial
   Network for Permafrost, which
   was established for detecting
   climate change, monitoring
   the response of permafrost
   to climate change, and for
   acquiring data for use in
   impact assessment
 I Borehole

Science  &  Research
   Paleothermometry: a technique
   used to reconstruct past surface
   temperatures from physical
   temperatures measured within
   the Earth.

   For more information on ANSC
or the aforementioned research
projects, visit the ANSC website,

North Pacific Marine
Science  Organization
   The North Pacific Marine
Science Organization (PICES) is an
intergovernmental scientific organi-
zation whose current members
are Canada, People's Republic of
China, Japan, Republic of Korea,
Russian Federation, and the United
States. The organization's goal is to
promote coordination of marine
research and the collection and
rapid exchange of scientific infor-
mation. PICES,  in partnership with
NOAA, is developing the North
Pacific Ecosystem Metadatabase
(NPEM). The goal of this under-
taking is to develop a "catalog"
of the vast amounts of biological
and physical data collected in the
North Pacific ecosystem. NPEM
is a clearinghouse for informa-
tion about data,  reports, databases,
catalogs, proposals, and other media
relating to the North Pacific Ocean.
To learn more about the NPEM or
conduct a search, visit www.pmel.

   For direct links to a wide array
of research programs, including
some mentioned in this article, visit
The North Pacific Ocean Theme
Page at www.pmel.noaa.gov/np/

                                                                Science  &  Research
The  Alaska Traditional  Diet  Project
   The mission of the Agency
for Toxic Substances and Disease
Registry (ATSDR) is to investi-
gate and prevent human health
problems associated with exposure
to toxic chemicals in the environ-
ment. A key element of ATSDR's
public health role is to provide
trusted health information to
prevent harmful exposures. Based
out of Atlanta, Georgia, ATSDR
conducts research and assess-
ments to determine the presence
and nature of health hazards in an
effort to prevent or reduce exposure
and illnesses resulting from such
   This federal agency works very
closely with state agencies and other
partners, and provides funding and
technical assistance to its partners
through cooperative agreements and
   ATSDR activities in Alaska
include public health assessments,
health consultations, health educa-
tion and community activities,
and training. Many of the agency's
activities in Alaska focus on the
health of Alaska Native populations.
One example of particular note is
the Alaska Traditional Diet Project.
   Persistent organic pollutants,
heavy metals, and radionuclides
have been found in Alaska, as
well as other Arctic areas. A major
concern is possible exposure  to
these contaminants through  partici-
pating in a subsistence lifestyle, or
through recreational and commer-
cial exposures. In 2001, Congress
mandated that ATSDR identify and
study "contaminants in the environ-
ment, subsistence resources,  and
people in Alaska Native popula-
tions." The hope is that with more
information  about the risks from
exposure and the nutri-
tional benefits of tradi-
tional foods, Alaskans
can make informed
choices regarding their
diets. In response to
the Congressional
mandate, ATSDR
formed an Alaskan
Traditional Diet       ,
Project (ATDP)
team. ATSDR, the
Alaska Department
of Health and Social
Services, other
state and federal
agencies, Alaska
Native organiza-
tions, and  tribes
collaborated on
this project and
provided funding
to the Alaska
Native Health
Board (ANHB)
to support
surveys of the dietary habits of
Alaskans who regularly eat tradi-
tional foods.
   The goals of the ATDP are to:
 I Identify items in the tradi-
   tional diets  and market foods
 ) Determine the health risks and
   benefits of traditional versus
   market diets
 I Develop a shared knowledge
   (native knowledge and science)
   to assure appropriate levels
   of communication, educa-
   tion, training, and community
                Fw* REPORT
   The first phase of the ATDP
was to conduct a survey to identify
the most commonly consumed
subsistence and store bought foods
among residents of villages in rural
        Alaska and, therefore, help the
        villages in prioritizing foods to be
        tested for contaminants. In the
        summer of 2002, 665 participants
        completed the survey. Study partici-
        pants ranged between the ages of
        13 and 88 years, and represented
        13 villages in five regional health
        corporations in Alaska: the Norton
        Sound Health Corporation region,
        the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health
        corporation region, the Bristol Bay
        Area Health Corporation region,
        the Tanana Chiefs conference
        region, and the SouthEast
        Alaska Regional Health
        Consortium region.
           The results of        ,,
        the survey data

Science  &  Research
47 percent of participants reported
consuming the same amount of
subsistence foods as they had five
years ago, 27 percent reported
consuming less, and 26 percent
reported consuming more.
   In addition to types and
amounts of foods consumed, the
survey also solicited the attitudes
and concerns  of participants regard-
ing foods. The most common
concerns regarding subsistence
food reported by participants were
observations offish and animals
with parasites, diseases, or lesions;
reduced number of fish and
animals; and the possible presence
of contaminants in fish and
animals. Although the survey results
indicate that these fears have not
resulted in an avoidance of subsis-
tence foods, the results do indicate
that participants do have concerns
regarding the health effects of
consuming traditional subsistence
   The final report on the Alaska
Traditional Diet Survey was
published in March 2004 and is
available online at www.inchr.org/
Do c/FebruaryO 5/Final_aggregate_
report.pdf. Along with complete
survey results, this report provides
references and links to other
related  subsistence food studies  and
community outreach materials.
   The second phase of the ATDP,
testing  the highest priority foods,
as determined by the survey data, is
currently underway. Testing is being
conducted by a number of organi-
zations for a variety of contami-
   For more information about
the Alaska Traditional Diet Project,
visit www.atsdr.cdc.gov/alaska, or
contact ATSDR Region 10 toll-free
at 1-888-477-8737.

                                                             Science  &  Research
NOAA  Marine  Research Activities in Alaska
   The National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) is a federal agency within
the U.S. Department of Commerce.
NOAAs mission is to "describe
and predict changes in the Earth's
environment as well as to conserve
and manage the nation's coastal
and marine resources." Three of
NOAAs divisions  conduct research
vital to the sustainability of Alaskan
coastal ecosystems: Office of
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research
(OAR), National Ocean Service
(NOS), and National Marine
Fisheries Service (NMFS). This
article will focus on NMFS and its
research activities.

   The mission of NMFS is the
"Stewardship of living marine
resources through science-based
conservation and management and
the promotion of healthy ecosys-
tems." NOAA fisheries are respon-
sible for the management, conser-
vation, and protection of living
marine resources within the U.S.
Exclusive Economic Zone.

Alaska Fisheries Science
   The Alaska Fisheries Science
Center is the research arm of the
NMFS. The Center conducts
research on living  marine resources
in a three million square mile
region, which includes the North
Pacific Ocean and the eastern
Bering Sea. These waters support
some of the  most important
commercial fisheries in the world
and serve as the home to the largest
marine mammal populations in
the nation. The mission of the
Center is to  "plan, develop, and
manage scientific research programs
which generate the best scientific
data available for understanding,
managing, and conserving the
region's living marine resources and
the environmental quality essential
for their existence."
   Research programs  are
managed and conducted through
the Resource Assessment and
Conservation Engineering Division,
Resource Ecology and Fisheries
Management Division, National
Marine Mammal Laboratory, Auke
Bay Laboratory, and Fisheries
Management and Analysis Division.
However, this article covers only
some of the research conducted
by the National Marine Mammal
Laboratory. For information on the
Alaska Fisheries Science Center and
links to the other research divisions,
please visit www.afsc.noaa.gov.

National Marine
Mammal  Laboratory
   The National Marine
Mammal Laboratory
(NMML) conducts
extensive research
on marine

Science  &  Research
the coasts of Alaska, California,
Oregon, and Washington. NMML's
research programs are conducted
in cooperation with other federal,
state, and private sector agencies.
Data collected during research
activities such as stock assess-
ments, life history determinations,
and status and trends analyses are
provided to various U.S. govern-
mental and international  organiza-
tions to help in the development
of management regimes for marine
resources under NOAA's jurisdic-
tion. Major NMML programs
currently conducting research in
Alaska include: Alaska Ecosystems
Research Program, Polar Ecosystems
Program, and Cetacean Assessment
& Ecology Program.

Alaska Ecosystems Research
    The Alaska Ecosystems Program
conducts research on northern
fur seals and Stellar sea lions.
In collaboration with universi-
ties, research councils, and other
partners, program researchers collect
and analyze biological informa-
tion regarding the stock structure,
abundance, mortality rates due to
human activities, net productiv-
ity, and survival and reproduction
rates of these sea mammals. This
information is used by numerous
agencies in developing their
management programs.
   Northern Fur Seal Research
   In collaboration with the
University of Alaska Fairbanks
and Dalhousie University in Nova
Scotia, NMML scientists are
investigating the consequences of
northern fur seal foraging strategies
at two locations in the Bering Sea,
the Pribilof Islands and Bogoslof
Island. These  two locations are of
particular interest to researchers
due to the fact that the number
of northern fur seals has declined
dramatically on the Pribilof Islands,
while increasing on Bogoslof Island.
This study involves the tracking of
maternal fur seals from the islands
during the winter and summer
months and measuring their health
and condition and subsequent
pup growth rates. NMML is also
conducting northern fur seal entan-
glement studies. For more informa-
tion on northern fur seal research
conducted by NMML, visit nmml.
   Stellar Sea Lion Telemetry
   NMML's Alaska Ecosystem
Program uses satellite telemetry
to collect information on Stellar
sea lion foraging ecology in an
effort to relate foraging behaviors
to the recent population declines.
Researchers track the movements
of individual adult females though
satellite transmitters attached to the
sea lions. Tracking provides infor-
mation on the tagged Stellar sea

                                                                  Science  &  Research
lions including their location, dive
characteristics, and time on land
and at sea. Visitors to the Telemetry
Research Page can view the near real
time movements of tagged Stellar
sea lions as well as view location
data from previous tracking efforts.
For more information on NMML's
Stellar sea lion telemetry research,
visit www.afsc.noaa.gov/nmml.

Polar Ecosystems Program
   The Polar Ecosystems Program
conducts pinniped and seabird
research to determine the primary
factors influencing their population.
Ongoing program research focuses
on feeding ecology, reproductive
success,  growth and condition,
demography, abundance,  prey avail-
ability, and environmental condi-
tions. Ongoing program research
topics include Alaskan harbor seals
and Arctic ice seals.
   Alaska Harbor Seals Research
   NMML's Polar Ecosystems
Program conducts research on the
population declines of the Alaska
harbor seals. Research focuses on
estimating the abundance and
distribution  of harbor seal popula-
tions  throughout Alaska and
studying the haulout behavior of
the seals. Research is also being
conducted to assess  the interactions
between cruise ships and harbor
seals in glacial ice habitats.
   NMML has conducted a yearly
census of harbor seals in Alaska
for the last 15 years. To allow for
more thorough coverage, the state
has been divided into five survey
regions: North side  of the Alaska
Peninsula including Bristol Bay,
Aleutian Islands, Gulf of Alaska,
northern SE Alaska, and southern
SE Alaska. However, one census
of the state takes five years to
complete. Analysis of the survey
data enables researchers to detect
changes in declining/changing
population. NMML's harbor seal
research in Alaska is coordinated
with the Alaska Department of Fish
and Game. For more information
on NMML's Alaskan harbor seal
research, visit www.afsc.noaa.gov/
   Arctic Ice Seals Research
   NMML is currently planning
and developing research programs
on the four species of Arctic ice
seals that breed on Alaskan sea ice:
ringed seals, bearded seals, spotted
seals, and ribbon seals. Work is
also being planned to assess the
and demographic
status of ice seals
taken in subsistence
harvests by Alaska Natives.
For more information on
NMMl's Arctic ice seal research,
visit www.afsc.noaa.gov/nmml/

Cetacean Assessment &
Ecology Program
   The NMML's Cetacean
Assessment & Ecology Program
(CAEP) monitors the status of
cetacean species including bowhead,
beluga, gray, killer, fin, northern
light,  and humpback whales
and harbor and Dall's porpoises.
Assessments are conducted through
aerial  surveys, shipboard research,
shore-based counts, acoustic
studies,  tagging studies, photo-
identification of individual animals,
and opportunistic sighting data
collection. Opportunistic data is
collected through the Platforms of
Opportunity Program, which allows
everyday citizens to submit personal
observations (such as location, size,
and behavior) of their sightings of
cetacean species for inclusion  in the
NMML's Platform of Opportunity
database. This data is used to  plan
distribution and abundance surveys
and document habitat use. For
more  information on the research
activities of the CAEP, visit www.

Sea Gull  Egg Contaminant  Testing  in  Alaska
Adapted from "Sea Gull Egg Contaminant Testing in Alaska: Are my sea
Lianna Jack and Dan Martinez, TASSC
                               safe to eat?''
   Byline articles and interviews
represent the opinions and views of
contributors and are not necessar-
ily those of the U.S. Environmental
   The Alaska Sea Otter and Steller
Sea Lion Commission (TASSC),
a non-profit Tribal consor-
tium, received funding from the
Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) to test  a subsistence food for
high priority contaminants.
   TASSC worked with Sitka
Tribe of Alaska, Native Village
of Mekoryuk, Togiak Traditional
Council, Maniilaq Association
based in Kotzebue, and the
Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska.
   Tribal participants raised
concern with  gull eggs, a common
and prized subsistence food
throughout coastal Alaska. In spring
2000, coordinators from each area
collected 15 eggs for a total of
75 eggs sampled. The eggs were
tested for Level One PBT contami-
nants (including pesticides, PCBs,
dioxins, furans and heavy metals).
   Results from this health risk
analysis and other studies indicate
that the contaminant levels found
in the five community gull eggs
should pose little risk to the health
of those harvesting them for tradi-
tional use.

   Eggs were collected from sites
traditionally used for subsistence
in each of the five areas. Three gull
species were sampled:
 \ Glaucous gull (Larus hyper-
   boreus):  Triangle Island, Nunivak
   Island (Mekoryuk); Vitskari and
   Viesoki Rocks (Sitka)
 \ Glaucous-winged gull: (L.
   glaucenscens): Egg Island, mouth
   of Noatak River (Kotzebue)
 ) Herring gull (L. argentaus): Hog
   Island (Unalaska); Gull Ship

   For each community, aliquots
of four randomly selected eggs were
combined into a composite sample.
Fifteen composite samples, repre-
senting 60 eggs, were sent to each
laboratory for analysis: Frontier
Laboratory for heavy metal analysis
and AXYS for organochlorine pesti-
cides, PCBs, dioxins and dioxin-like
   Throughout the life of the
project, tribal participants were kept
apprised of the project stage and
progress. Following completion of
data analysis and health risk assess-
ment as described below, the data
were provided and presented to
each of the participating communi-
ties. Many forms of outreach and
communication were employed,
including workshops, posters,
community meetings, newslet-
ters and presentations at statewide
tribal/environmental conferences.

Analytical Data Results
and Discussion
   Percent detections were calcu-
lated and sums were compiled  for
PCBs and dioxins. For metals,
selenium and mercury were
detected in all samples, whereas
arsenic, cadmium and lead were
detected in only one or few
samples. Therefore, only mercury
and selenium could be used to
compare among all communities.
For organochlorines, contaminants
were detected in 100-percent of
samples tested for toxaphene,
hexachlorobenzene, beta-HCH,
oxychlordane, cis-chlordane, trans-
nonachlor, cis-nonachlor, hepta-
chlor p,p'-DDE, p,p'-DDT Some
organochlorines were not detected
in any sample, and these included
a-HCH, g-HCH, heptachlor,
aldrin,  endrin, trans-chlordane,
p,p'-DDE, p,p'-DDD, and p,p'-

Conservative Approach
at Health Risk
   The contaminant results were
analyzed for human health risk with
the Agency of Toxic Substances
and Disease  Registry's (ATSDR)
Minimum Risk Level (MRL)
screening tool and EPAs Estimated
Lifetime Cancer Risk (ELCR)
assessment tool.
   MRLs are designed to provide a
very conservative measure of health
risk and do not represent a cutoff for
healthy vs. unhealthy contaminant
levels. MRLs have a large margin
of safety such that actual contami-
nant doses could exceed the MRL
by a hundredfold or more without
causing noticeable health effects.
   TASSC used the chronic
exposure MRL, as this mirrors egg
consumption patterns over a lifetime
to estimate non-cancerous health
risk. World Health Organization
Toxic Equivalency Factors were used
to calculate total TEQ for dioxin
and like substances. Total PCBs were
calculated by PCB congeners.
   Egg Consumption Guidelines
(EGG) were developed as a compo-
nent of the health risk assessment.
The EGG incorporates the toxins
MRL, a range of bodyweights from
22 pounds to 320 pounds, the

                                                                Science  &  Research
concentration of the toxin, and
various consumption rates. Using
the ECGs, someone can quickly
estimate the number of eggs eaten/
year required to reach the chronic
MRL for any contaminant of
concern. Estimated Lifetime Cancer
Risk (ELCR) was calculated using
the EPA's Slope Factors for contam-
inants near or above the MRL and
adjusting the formula to represent
each community in the study.

Egg Consumption
Guideline  Results  and
   ECGs were created for those
analytes with an established MRL.
Most ECGs were far above what
would be considered reason-
able gull egg consumption (i.e.,
for toxaphene,  1260 eggs/year).
However, for the highest concen-
tration found for Total PCBs
(450 ng/g), the EGG for a 143
Ib person from Unalaska equates
to 12 eggs per year. Based on the
highest concentration ofTEQ(l6.6
TEQs), the Unalaska EGG for a
143-pound person equates to 16
eggs per year.
   Since some people may exceed
these levels, samples from Unalaska
were analyzed using EPA's ELCR
estimates. This method estimates
that the potential for one person in
Unalaska to contract cancer from
the PCBs found in the gull eggs
could be realized only if the average
gull egg consumption for every
person in Unalaska exceeded 101
eggs per year for 70 years. Cancer
slope rates are developed for only
one type of dioxin, HxCDD, hence
cancer risk was much lower (greater
then 3,700 eggs per person per year
for 70 years). Based on these results,
it is assumed that the contami-
nants found in gull eggs from the
five communities pose little risk to
human health.
   Since the PCB concentrations
were much higher in Unalaska than
in the other communities, there
was a concern that the composite
sample concentration was not repre-
sentative of the individual eggs.
Eight individual eggs were analyzed
for PCB congeners.
   The results of this study were
comparatively low when  considered
against those found in  other studies.
many of these
studies considered
less PCB congeners,
fewer dioxins and their
concentrations were up to
seven times the TEQ concentra-
tions and up to 58  times the total
PCB concentration found in this
study. Considering  the results from
the health risk analysis and the
comparisons to other studies, the
contaminant levels  found in the
five communities' gull eggs should
pose little risk to the health of those
harvesting them for traditional use.
   Lianna Jack and Dan Martinez
of TASSC coordinated this project.
Donna Willoya, TASSC, provided
support throughout the project, and
Dr. Dolores Garza,  University of
Alaska, Fairbanks Marine Advisory
Program, provided  overall project
oversight and served as Principle
Investigator. For  more information
on this project, or to obtain the
references from the original article
printed in the Alaska Native Science
Commission's newsletter, please
   The Alaska Sea  Otter and Stellar
   Sea Lion Commission
   6239 B Street, Suite 204
   Anchorage, AK  99518
   Phone: 907.274.9799
   Email: asoc@seaotter-sealion.org

Tribal  Natural  Resource
Contaminant Database  Concept  !
Fred Corey, Aroostock Band ofMicmat

   Byline articles and interviews
represent the opinions and views of
contributors and are not necessar-
ily those of the U.S. Environmental
   Tribal culture is inextricably
rooted in the plant and animal
communities that occur within
each Tribe's homelands. As a result
of this relationship between Tribal
culture and natural resources, virtu-
ally all of the plants and animals
that occur within each Tribes
geographic range are utilized for
food, medicinal, or spiritual use.
However, concerns about the
uptake of contaminants by plants
and animals have raised important
questions about the safety of utiliz-
ing these resources.
   Much of the recent attention
focused on the safety of Tribal
utilization of natural resources for
food, medicine, and spiritual use
has been prompted by well-publi-
cized fish consumption advisories,
recently collected marine mammal
contaminant data, and press releases
concerning a variety of organic
pollutants in agricultural products.
While there is a rapidly growing
body of data on contaminants in
animals, existing contaminant data
for plants is relatively sparse. Due to
the lack of existing plant contami-
nant data as compared to animal
contaminant data, and because it is
likely that a much greater number of
plants species are utilized by Tribes
in a given geographic area versus
the number of animal species that
are utilized, it is apparent that a
thorough assessment of the occur-
rence of contaminants in plant
species utilized by Tribes is a very
daunting task. The size of this task is
compounded by the large number of
contaminants of concern that could
potentially be uptaken by each of the
plant species utilized by Tribes.
   One potentially rich source of
existing plant contaminant data
are the phytoremediation resources
compiled by EPA's Office of Solid
Waste and Emergency Response's
(OSWER) Technology Innovation
Office. EPA has developed the
phytoremediation resources (www.
phytoresgude.pdf) to demonstrate
the capacity of various plant species
to accumulate contaminants for the
purposes of remediating contami-
nated sites. Although this effort
has been targeted  to identify plants
that may be useful for extract-
ing contaminants  from polluted
sites, the information that has
been collected could be extremely
useful for Tribes who are trying
to identify which plants species
utilized by their Tribe are capable of
or are susceptible to accumulating
   Another source of plant
contaminant data can be found in
the Agency for Toxic Substances
Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Toxicological Profiles that are
developed for hazardous substances
Although the toxicological  profiles
primarily review the key literature
that describes hazardous substance
toxicologic properties, other perti-
nent literature is presented as well,
such as information on environ-
mental fate, bioavailability, food
chain bioaccumulation, and general
information on exposure levels in
environmental media.
   In its present form, existing
plant contaminant data is loosely
organized as a series of literature
citations and abstracts which are
not conducive to quick and easy
review. For the phytoremedia-
tion resources and other pertinent
information to be most useful to
Tribes who are concerned about
contaminants in plant species, an
on-line searchable database of plant
species and the contaminants they
are capable of uptakmg could be
established. Tribes could then query
the database using the plant species
or plant families that are the most
important resources utilized by their
Tribe. Queries could be further
refined by specifying a particular
contaminant(s) of concern that is
known or suspected to be present
on or near Tribal lands.
   When combined with a general
knowledge of the local  sources of
contaminants (i.e., discharges to
water from industrial facilities, air
emissions, contaminants known
to be present from long-range air
deposition, or spills or releases at
industrial facilities), and general
fate and transport mechanisms
for each contaminant, it would be
relatively easy for Tribes to quickly
determine which plant species
that they use are susceptible to
contaminant accumulation, or
those plant species for which no
contaminant uptake information
exists. This would then enable
Tribes to focus plant sampling and
chemical analysis on those plants
that are likely to uptake contami-
nants or those for which no uptake
information exists but are located
in geographic areas with elevated
contaminant concentrations.

                                                                 Science &  Research
   A general example of how such
an on-line searchable database
might be structured can be found
at: www.epa.gov/ecotox/. Although
this particular database has been
developed to provide a searchable
source of information regarding
chemicals and ecological risk, the
format of the database demonstrates
an example of how a searchable
database of plant contaminant data
could be  constructed.
   Developing such a database
for use by Tribes would provide a
valuable tool for Tribal environ-
mental programs to begin to assess
contaminant levels in culturally
important natural resources and
would not compromise Tribal confi-
dentiality concerns because each
Tribe would be able to query the
database using Tribal specific lists
of plants utilized by their particular
Tribe. Eventually, such a database
could be modified to incorporate
animal species and other plant
species as additional research data
becomes available. In addition,
factors which are determinant of
contaminant bioavailability such
as pH, soil organic matter content,
oxidation state, etc., and plant and
animal uptake ratios observed under
various environmental  conditions
could be added to the database to
further enable Tribal scientists to
identify species and contaminants
occurring on their reservations that
constitute  the greatest concern.
   If it appears that there is general
support by Tribes for development
of a national Tribal natural resource
nant database,
the Tribal-EPA
Subsistence Technical
Workgroup could recom-
mend that EPA explore devel-
opment of such a database. Please
direct questions, comments, or
suggestions concerning potential
development of a Tribal natural
resources contaminant database to:
   Fred Corey
   Environmental Director
   Aroostook Band of Micmacs
   8 Northern Road
   Presque Use, ME 04769
   Phone (207) 764-7765
   Fax (207)  764-7768

The  Northern  Contaminants  Program
(a Canadian effort)
   The Northern Contaminants
Program (NCP) was established in
1991 in response to studies indicat-
ing the presence of contaminants
in northern ecosystems. Persistent
organic pollutants (POPs), heavy
metals, and radionuclides are the
three main contaminant groups of
concern. NCP is managed by the
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
in partnership with other Canadian
federal departments, the Yukon,
Northwest Territories and Nunavut
governments, and four northern
aboriginal organizations: Council of
Yukon First Nations, Dene Nation,
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and Inuit
Circumpolar Conference. The aim
of the NCP is to "work towards
reducing and, where possible,
eliminating contaminants in tradi-
tionally harvested country food,
while providing information that
assists individuals and communi-
ties in making informed decisions
about food use." Although NCP is
a Canadian program, its research
is beneficial and applicable to all
people living in the Arctic region.
   Phase II of the NCP (1998 to
2003) placed emphasis on "expand-
ing research on the implications
(benefits and risks) of consuming
traditional/country foods for human
health; developing effective commu-
nity communication; and, continu-
ing to work on international agree-
ments to restrict contaminants."
   The Canadian Arctic
Contaminants Assessment Report
(CACAR) - Phase II is a series of
reports that summarize the work
conducted during Phase II of the
NCP One of five reports in the
CACAR-II series is the Highlights of
the Canadian Arctic Contaminants
Assessment Report - Phase II.
This report provides plain language
results of work conducted to address:
contaminant sources, transport, and
levels in the north; fish and wildlife
contamination; the effects of contam-
inants on human health; education,
training, capacity building, and
communication; and, action at the
national and international levels. The
Highlights of the CARCAR-Phase II
report also provides recommendations
on each of those issues. The follow-
ing are the recommendations on the
issue of the effect of contaminants on
human health:
 I More research is needed on
   the health consequences of not
   consuming traditional/country
 I The risks of taking in higher
   levels of mercury need to be
   studied further.
 I Regular monitoring of contami-
   nants in humans,  especially
   mercury and various POPs
   (e.g.,  PCBs, chlordane, and
   toxaphene), should continue
   to give a better idea of whether
   levels are increasing or decreas-
   ing and provide a better picture
   of intake levels, regional varia-
   tions, and trends.
 ) It is important to  continue
   monitoring the consumption
   patterns of traditional/country
   foods in those communities
   consuming the most tradi-
   tional/country food containing
 ) More human health research
   should focus on the toxic
   effects of contaminants on
   northern peoples, and if and
   how contaminants are related to
   health problems.
 I A controlled human study of the
   effects of various nutrients such
   as  certain fatty acids, selenium,
   and vitamin E on methylmercury
   would be useful to confirm the
   results of animal experiments.
 I NCP research relating to human
   health should be published in
   the peer-reviewed literature and
   evaluated to see how it affects
   the present provisional tolerable
   daily intake (TDI).
 ) More research is needed on
   how various types of toxaphene
   bioaccumulate and behave in
   animals including people, to
   shed light on the potential
   effects of toxaphene and to
   assess safe intake levels.
 ) More research is needed on how
   the levels and effects of chlor-
   dane on animals can be related
   to effects in people.
 ) New ways to predict health
   effects should be explored in the
   ongoing Nunavik study as well
   as in other studies elsewhere in
   the circumpolar Arctic.
 I More work is needed on the
   effect of mixtures of POPs on
   human  health, especially on the
   fetus, infants, and children.
 I Conduct further research on the
   perceptions and understanding
   of risk among different northern
   groups (e.g., women of child-
   bearing  age) to better tailor
   benefit-risk messages and commu-
   nicate risk management options.
 I Written benefit-risk materials
   should take into account differ-
   ent dialects.

   Highlights of the Canadian
Arctic Contaminants Assessment
Report - Phase II was published
under the authority of the Minister
of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development in Ottawa, Canada.
For more information, please visit
www.ainc-inac.gc.ca, or call 1-800-

                                                              Science  &  Research
EPA Science  Research  in  Alaska
   EPA's Office of Research and
Development's STAR grants
program supports two tribally-based
research projects in Alaska that
employ traditional and nontra-
ditional scientific approaches to
collecting baseline data that links
culture and exposure pathways to
contaminants. These studies are
an important step toward building
Tribal capacity to conduct large-
scale community-driven exposure,
epidemiology, and intervention
studies that consider the  economic
and cultural needs and traditions
of their communities. The focus
and goals of these two projects are
summarized below

Contaminants in
Foodstuffs of Siberian
Yu'piks from St.
Lawrence Island,
   The Siberian Yu'pik people
of St. Lawrence Island, Alaska
have relatively high serum levels
of Polychlorinated Biphenyls
(PCBs) and pesticides. Alaska
Community Action on Toxics, in
partnership with researchers at the
State University of New York at
Albany, are collecting and analyzing
multiple whale, walrus, seal, and
reindeer tissues, including muscle,
blubber, and organ samples for
congener-specific measurements of
PCBs and  levels of pesticides and
metals. The research team expects
to demonstrate higher levels of
contaminants in some foods, partic-
ularly those that come from more
contaminated areas. The  research-
ers are also considering how food
preparation may alter contaminant
levels. This information will be
critical to helping community
members make choices about what
they eat so that they may reduce
their exposure to environmental

"Risks to Northern
Alaskan Inupiat:
Assessing Potential
Effects of Oil
Contamination  on
Subsistence  Lifestyles,
Health, and  Nutrition"
   Inupiat leaders of the Northern
Slope, in partnership with research-
ers of the Mote Marine Laboratory,
are characterizing  levels of
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
(PAHs) in a range of traditional
foods from bowhead whales and
bearded seals. The research team
intends to use the published results
of this study to develop a risk
assessment model  incorporating
both health risks associated with
ingestion of petroleum-related
compounds and cultural and
nutritional risks related to avoid-
ance of certain foods. The unusual
combination of traditional
knowledge, powerful scientific
analyses, and integrative modeling
will permit the development of
outreach tools and messages that
empower Alaskan Inupiats with
insights and information to guide
their decisions in reducing risk from
PAH exposure while maintaining
good nutrition and health.
   These Alaskan Native projects
represent EPA's first efforts to
systematically incorporate cultural
practices of sequestration, consump-
tion, and use of foodstuffs in
conducting research. The research-
ers have quantified contaminant
sources, identified unique exposure
pathways, and conducted  dietary
and cultural surveys. They are
currently translating the analytical
chemistry data on foodstuffs and
environmental media for tribally-
based risk assessments and will link
sources to pre-existing biological
data. The results will lead to the
development of risk management
strategies that identify the healthiest
ways to practice and maintain the
cultural and traditional  lifestyles of
Native Alaskan communities.

Science  &  Research
The Arctic Climate
Impact Assessment
   The Arctic Climate Impact
Assessment (ACIA) is a comprehen-
sive evaluation of arctic climate
change and its implications for the
Arctic region and the entire world.
It is the compilation of the work
of hundreds of international scien-
tists and researchers. The ACIA is
a project of the Arctic Council and
the International Arctic Science
Committee (IASC). The Arctic
Council's members include Canada,
Denmark, Finland, Iceland,
Norway, the Russian Federation,
Sweden, and the United States.
IASC is a non-governmental
organization that facilitates arctic
region research collaborations.
The ACIA Secretariat is located in
the International Arctic Research
Center at the University of Alaska,
Fairbanks. According to the
Council, the goal of the ACIA
project is to evaluate and synthesize
knowledge on climate variability,
climate change, and increased ultra-
violet radiation and their conse-
quences. The aim is "to provide
useful and reliable information to
the governments, organizations,
and peoples of the Arctic on policy
options to meet such changes."
   Impacts of a Warming Arctic is a
plain language synthesis of the key
findings of the ACIA. The 10 key
findings of the ACIA discussed in
the synthesis document are:
1. Arctic climate is now warming
   rapidly and much larger changes
   are projected.
2. Arctic warming and its conse-
   quences have worldwide impli-
3. Arctic vegetation zones are very
   likely to shift, causing  wide-
   ranging impacts.
4. Animal species' diversity,
   ranges, and distribution
   will change.
5. Many coastal communi-
   ties and facilities face
   increasing exposure to
6. Reduced sea ice is very
   likely to increase marine
   transport and access to
7. Thawing ground will
   disrupt transportation,
   buildings,  and other
8. Indigenous commu-
   nities are facing
   major economic and
   cultural impacts.
9. Elevated ultraviolet
   radiation levels will
   affect people, plants,
   and animals.
10. Multiple influences
   interact to cause impacts to
   people and ecosystems.

   The synthesis document also
presents scientific findings by
Arctic sub-regions. Alaska falls
into Sub-Region III, which also
includes Chukotka, Western
Canadian Arctic and adjacent seas.
Key environment impacts faced in
Sub-Region III are forest changes,
adverse impacts (e.g., population
reductions) to marine species, and
risks to biodiversity. Key economic
impacts are likely to be realized
in the oil and gas industry and in
fisheries. Key social and cultural
impacts are risks to traditional
livelihoods and threats to coastal
infrastructure. Discussions on the
key findings and impacts, as well as
supporting evidence, are contained
in the synthesis document. A more
comprehensive, detailed discussion
of the key findings and supporting
evidence can be found in the ACIA.
   Copies of the full 1,042-page
ACIA scientific report and Impacts
of a Warming Arctic,  the 140-page
synthesis report of the ACIA, are
available free of charge as PDF
downloads at www.amap.no/acia/
index.html. Hard copies may be
purchased from the Cambridge
University Press.  For more infor-
mation on the  ACIA, visit www.
acia.uaf.edu, or contact the ACIA
Secretariat at 907.474.5818.

                                                                 Science  & Research
Considerations  for  Researchers in  Alaska
Steven E. Sumida, Director, Alaska Indigenous Community Council
   Byline articles and interviews
represent the opinions and views of
contributors and are not necessar-
ily those of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency.

   Alaska Natives have long been
the subjects of research, often
without the benefit of being effec-
tively informed of the research
protocols and the study conclu-
sions and results. Global warming
has contributed to increasing the
research being conducted on Alaska
   It is well recognized that
climate change is occurring most
rapidly in the arctic. Changes are
so pronounced that even a casual
observer on the North Slope of
Alaska cannot escape the signs.
   The ice  on the Arctic Ocean is
becoming thinner every year, with
less of the deep blue multi-year ice.
This has resulted in fewer occur-
rences of pressure ridge piling where
the pack ice meets the shore fast ice.
This has had many consequences.
There is less predictable stable ice
to support hunting; recently there
have been more instances of hunters
blown adrift from the stable ice.
It has been more difficult to find
stable ice on which to land spring
   There has been much more ice-
free open water both earlier and
later in the season. This also has
had many consequences. Storm
surges and waves have been more
pronounced. Massive flooding and
erosion has resulted all along the
arctic coast, which threatens roads,
buildings, landfills, water supplies,
communications towers, and subsis-
tence camps. Open water has made
fall whaling much more danger-
ous and has caused the swamping
of whaling boats in two different
communities in the last few years.
Spring ice leads are opening and
whale migrations are now occurring
a month earlier than even two years
ago. The Seattle barging season
has expanded by a month longer
than even five years ago. Barge
traffic between Barrow through the
Canadian Arctic up the Mackenzie
Paver has recently become viable.
Perhaps most astounding, a French
sailing ship has come through
the Northwest Passage without
icebreaker support at least twice in
the last five years.
    There have been numerous
onshore indications of significant
warming. The  oil exploration
season on  the frozen tundra has
decreased by 30 days in the last
five years.  Tundra shrubs have
significantly increased in height as
far north as Nuiqsut. The Meade
Paver ice is going out earlier and is
ice  damming in new locations. Ice
cellars are  being lost in Anaktuvuk
Pass and are flooding in Barrow.
Animal ranges are changing with
moose, lynx and grizzlies appearing
farther north and closer to Barrow
and Kaktovik every year. Caribou
migration routes, like beluga whale
migration routes, appear to be
    There are also numerous
changes in the weather. Wind
patterns are shifting and changing
directions more frequently. There
are  fewer winter days in which the
temperature drops below minus 30
degrees. Lightening and thunder
have been seen and heard recently
in Barrow for the first time in living
    The Arctic has long been the
focus of climate research
dating back at least to the
era of Sir John Franklin and the
search for the Northwest Passage.
This research has continued
through periods of intense scrutiny
on indigenous residents including
the International Polar Year studies
of 1882-1883 and 1932-1933,
cold  war Eskimo metabolism
studies of the 1950s, International
Geophysical year studies of
1957-1958, International Biological
Program studies in 1965-1968,
and current arctic climate studies,
many of which are rooted in the
energy-based environmental studies
of the 1970s. Today, the field has
been greatly complicated with the
addition of demographers, social
scientists, cultural anthropologists,
and climate change researchers
being incorporated into a political
game of assessing climate change
blame on industrialization or
   Alaska Natives have a wealth of
traditional environmental knowl-
edge that can provide depth and
quantification to these and other
indicia of severe climate change.
This has resulted in a rush by
western scientists and researchers
to extract this knowledge from the
indigenous people without effec-
tively communicating the scope
and results of the studies back to
the communities. The communica-
tion  failure is in part a failure to
recognize and respect systemic
differences in Native subsis-
tence systems from western
cultural and economic
systems. Western
who  do

not understand the subsistence
culture, cannot understand the
degree of fear and uncertainty that
poor communication can foster
when subsistence resources are at
   This in itself is a miscommuni-
cation. As one elder said, "Last year
you came to study mercury in our
fish, and at that time we did not
know it was a problem, but after
that we worried for a year. Now you
come to tell us  not to worry."
   This is a common problem in
the villages. Researchers need to
be more aware of the stress their
presence in the villages causes, and
have a better understanding of how
to communicate with the villages to
reduce the level of stress.
   Research on subsistence resource
contamination, in particular, has
the ability to create stress in Alaska
subsistence-based cultures. This is
because subsistence-related activi-
ties form the basis of the economic,
political, and cultural structure
of the community. Subsistence
in Alaska Native culture can be
described as 'respect-based sharing.'
In Native Communities, sharing
of subsistence resources is a way to
show respect for others and gains
respect for the person who  shares
the resource.  The respect gained in
this manner is recognized in other
contexts. People whose actions in a
community demonstrate skill and
adherence to  subsistence values
become respected and recognized
as leaders. When talking about
leaders in Native communities, the
term 'respected' is used  more often
to describe a  leader than terms like
'elected' or 'appointed' because
leadership is a quality that comes
from within,  and is recognized in
a community regardless of whether
or not a person holds public
office. These  recognized leaders are
often invited to serve in particular
offices, but their authority comes
from their personal characteristics
of respect gained in subsistence
cultural activities, not from holding
that particular political office.
    Contamination of subsistence
resources can result in termina-
tion of subsistence activities.
Termination of subsistence activities
through which respect is established
can disrupt the way the community
orders its political and social struc-
    This is the basis for the level
of stress felt when researchers fail
to appropriately share informa-
tion regarding the research they
are conducting on subsistence
   Almost every rural Alaska
community has a story about
panic due to outsiders mishandling
information about threats to the
subsistence resources. Two examples
follow: In the  1950s, research-
ers studying radioactive fallout
concluded that Eskimos living in
Anaktuvuk Pass had the highest
levels of strontium 90 measured
in North American people. Poor
communication of the implications
of those findings almost caused the
residents to abandon the commu-
nity and to stop eating traditional
    In the wake of the Exxon Valdez
oil spill, Alaska Natives were told
the fish were okay if they did
not look or smell like oil, while
commercial fisheries were closed,
causing distrust and the perception
of a double standard for Alaska
Natives that exists to this  day.
    Lack of understanding of native
culture has also resulted in a callous
disregard for subsistence exposure
pathways. One example is the
indigenous attempts to get contami-
nant regulations to recognize that
exposure can occur through indig-
enous diets of subsistence foods not
consumed in Western cultures.
   Where there is no plan to report
research results back to indigenous
people, there is less need to find
solutions that benefit the indig-
enous people.
   The history of research in
Alaska villages has been of research-
ers extracting data without engaging
in effective communication and
without ever effectively returning a
benefit to the community.
   Alaska Natives are, understand-
ably, becoming weary of this course
of dealing. Many Alaska Natives,
particularly  the elders, are not
fluent in English. Furthermore, in
the Native culture, many impor-
tant lessons  are conveyed through
stories or demonstrative means,
rather than through the Western
method of 'verbal communication
of a set of instructions.' In Alaska
Native culture, communications
relate more to another's perceptions
or feelings about circumstances
than an instruction about what one
person wants another to  perform.
Rarely are these cultural  differences
in communication recognized by
researchers who tend to commu-
nicate with Native communities in
technical jargon that few outside
the researchers profession would
understand, even in Anchorage.
   In the past, communication was
judged successful if the researcher
was successful in recovering the
desired data. It is time to recog-
nize that successful research must
result in effective communication
with the indigenous community.
Effective communication is facilitat-
ed by recognizing different cultural
communication paradigms.

Strategies for Effective
   The following strategies assume
that the researcher is familiar with
the Tribe's  government to  govern-

                                                                   Science &  Research
ment relations protocol, its own
agency protocols, the applicable
Institutional Review Board (IRB)
human research protocols, relevant
rural Alaska protocols such as those
provided by the Alaska Native
Science Commission,  the Alaska
Native Tribal Health Consortium
and the regional Native non-profit
organizations. This also assumes
that the researcher is familiar with
basic Alaska village protocol such
as obtaining an invitation to the
community, respect for elders, and
distinctions between the sovereign
Tribal Council and ANCSA corpo-
rations, and municipalities.
   The following points focus on
strategies to enhance the effective-
ness of communications:
 I The goal of communication
   should include understanding
   by the recipient, not merely
   the collection of data by the
 I In a perfect communication
   the following would be accom-
   plished: Technical jargon would
   be translated into plain English.
   This non-technical version
   would be  translated into the
   indigenous language, which
   may be communicated utiliz-
   ing a demonstrative example
   or related in a story. A cultur-
   ally effective communication
   describes the circumstances so
   that the listener can evaluate
   the point  and determine an
   outcome from the  perspective
   chosen by the listener, not one
   dictated by the speaker. An
   effective way to do this is for the
   researcher to fully brief a tribal
   leader or interpreter rather than
   utilize a native liaison.
 I Research goes through a
   number of stages. At each
   stage, the  process or the results
   must be reported back to the
   community. It is important to
   maintain communication with
   the community throughout the
   process, to the point of provid-
   ing the research conclusions.

   There are a few common-sense
communication procedures that can
enhance effectiveness of communi-
cations at various stages:
 & Preparing for the Community
   Ensure that you are familiar
   with both community proto-
   cols, and have inquired with
   regional Native organizations
   into the proper regional cultural
   customs and protocols. Develop
   a personal relationship with the
   community before a research
   visit. Learn who are the proper
   village contacts for your research
   topic, and upon whom the
   village relies to help organize the
   technical information that will
   be shared. Organize information
   and have it sent to the commu-
   nity before a visit. An ideal
   model is to format the informa-
   tion into the following three
   documents that address village
   protocol issues:
   Tribal Leader letter: This is
   addressed to the president/chief
   of the Tribal Council through
   the Executive Director  (or their
   equivalent positions). This letter
   should explain who you are,
   what you are doing, and why
   it is important to the commu-
   nity. It should also name your
   most significant contact in the
   community so that the tribal
   leader knows what local person
   to talk to in order to find out
   about you and your purposes
   in the community. It is disre-
   spectful to enter a community
   without informing the leaders in
   advance, and receiving  an invita-
   tion to visit the community.
   Fact Sheet: This should summa-
  rize all the
  issues raised in the
  community by your
  presence and research.
  For each issue, there should
  be a contact person and
  direct-line phone number. It
  should also reference who in
  the community has been the
  point person for your contacts
  in this matter. This will give you
  and the technical people in the
  community a ready pipeline to
  be made aware of communica-
  tions problems and to address
  them as they arise.
  Poster: This should be on 8.5
  inch-by-11 inch paper so it
  can be easily included in tribal
  council packets and posted on
  crowded message boards. A
  dominant feature should be a
  graphical reference to the topic
  of concern such  as a diagram,
  symbol or picture. It should
  also invite the public to your
  meeting, identify the issue, and
  who will be talking about it.
  These help get the message to
  those who need it, the people
  in the village, and it covers the
  obligation of the researcher to
  communicate with all people
  without going around village
I The Community Visit:
  When invited to the commu-
  nity, be prepared to fully discuss
  the issue with the commu-
  nity representatives prior to
  presenting information to the
  community. This will give
  your contact the chance
  to think about what
  you will say before
  the infor-

Science  &  Research
   mation. Fully brief the inter-
   preter. Always include the tribal
   council in the advance commu-
   nications and community visit
   protocols. Plan on staying
   over night. Be prepared to be
   flexible for additional one on
   one meetings with community
   members who have no apparent
   formal position of author-
   ity. Look for opportunities to
   participate in community- wide
   Commitment to Ongoing
   native villages digest informa-
   tion through informal commu-
   nity communications. This will
   be occurring before and after
   the village visit. It is impor-
   tant for the researcher to keep
   in close communication with
the village primary contact in
order to keep the pulse of this
information-digesting process
and to address any rumors and
misinterpretations. This prevents
a lot of stress that can develop
in a community even after what
may have been felt was an effec-
tive community meeting. Native
communities do not resolve new
issues on the spot as the result
of a lecture. They will pass the
information  around informally
for a time. This is an impor-
tant stage for the researcher to
monitor, clarify and contribute.
Returning Results:
Researchers spend hours
perfecting their peer reviewed
documents for publication. Yet,
they often fail to return the
information  in a useful form
   to the people who were kind
   enough to allow them access
   to their homes, their lives, and
   often their bodies for research.

   It is important that the circle is
completed and that the researcher
returns the information to the
community. The information
should be in a form that is useful
and culturally accessible to the
tribe. Simple examples would be a
plain English summary sent to the
tribe followed up with a personal
visit  by the researcher to the council
and the community contact to
present the research results and
answer questions.

                                                          Programs and  Initiatives
POPs  and  the  Stockholm  Convention
Chris Blunck, OPPT
   Persistent Organic Pollutants
(POPs) are a set of toxic chemicals
that can persist in the environment
for long periods of time, accumu-
late in the food chain, and travel
great distances in air and water.
They can cause an array of adverse
effects in humans and animals
including cancer, damage to the
central and peripheral nervous
systems, reproductive disorders, and
disruption of the immune system.
   To address this concern
internationally, the United
Nations Environment Program
sponsored negotiation for a global
treaty, known as the Stockholm
Convention on Persistent Organic
Pollutants. One hundred twenty
countries participated in the
negotiations, including the United
States. The Stockholm Convention
targets  12 POPs including certain
pesticides, industrial chemicals,
and unintended by-products of
combustion such as DDT, PCBs,
and dioxin. It is intended to elimi-
nate or restrict the production, use,
and/or release of these 12 chemicals
that, due to their persistence in the
environment, can affect human
health throughout the globe,
regardless of the location of their
use. The Convention obligates
all participating countries to take
measures to eliminate or restrict the
production, use, and trade of inten-
tionally produced POPs; to develop
action plans that address the
release of by-product POPs such
as using best available techniques
to reduce emissions of POPs from
new sources; and, to address the
safe handling and disposal of POP
stockpiles and wastes. Provisions in
the  agreement allow for the consid-
eration and addition of additional
POPs, where appropriate, based on
a scientific review of the proposed
additional substances.
   In May 2001, then EPA
Administrator Christine Todd
Whitman led the U.S. delegation
to the diplomatic conference in
Stockholm, Sweden, where repre-
sentatives of over 90 countries
signed the treaty. President Bush
sent the treaty to the U.S.  Senate
for its advice and consent to
ratification in April 2002. The
Stockholm agreement went in
force in May 2004, with the first
Conference of Parties  meeting in
May 2005.
   Although the United States has
not yet ratified the Convention,
the Administration continues to
work with Congress on developing
legislation that would allow the
United States to implement and
become party to the Convention,
along with two other multilateral
environmental  agreements: the
Rotterdam Convention on the
Prior Informed Consent Procedure
for Certain Hazardous Chemicals
and Pesticides in International
Trade, signed in September 1998,
and the Protocol to the 1979
Convention on Long-Range
Transboundary Air Pollution
(LRTAP) on POPs, signed in June
    For more information on the
Stockholm Convention, see:

Tribal and Non-Tribal Alaskan Science and
Research Information !
Alaska Native Health Board
Alaska Native Science
Commission (ANSC)
Aleutian/Pribilof Islands
Association, Inc. (A/PIA)
International Congress on
Circumpolar Health (ICCH)
Native American Fish & Wildlife
Society (NAFWS)
Alaska Federation of Natives
Alaska Community Action on
Association of Village Council
Cook Inlet Tribal Council
Bistol Bay Native Association
Yukon River Inter-Tribal
Watershed Council
Central Council Tlingit and
Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska
Alaska Native Resources
National Tribal Environmental
Alaska Inter-Tribal Council
Cook Inlet Regional Citizens
Advisory Council
Gwich'in: Social and Cultural
Native American Fish & Wildlife
Society- Alaska
Alaska Native Harbor Seal
Alaska Traditional Knowledge
and Native Foods Database
Tanana Chiefs Conference
Tribal Solid Waste Advisory
National Network of Libraries
of Medicine, Pacific Northwest
Region, Inup
Northern Indigenous views on
climate change and ecology,
Yukon-Kuskokwim Health
Southeast Alaska Regional Health
American Indian Science &
Engineering Society
Heartbeat Alaska
Circumpolar Conservation Union
Technology, Sequoyah Research
Maniilaq Association
Inuit International Elders
Ilisagvik College in Barrow,
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
Aboriginal Canada Portal
Inuit Circumpolar Conference
Indigenous Environmental
Arctic Council Indigenous
Peoples Secretariat
Native WEB
Alaska Eskimo Whaling Comm.
First Nations Environmental
Sustainable Nations Development
The Aujaqsuittuq Project
Native American lands
Environmental Mitigation
Alaska Environmental Resources
Hub Online

Programs and Initiatives
North Pacific Marine Research
The Alaska Sea Otter and Stellar
Sea Lion Commission (TASSC)
Alaska Native Tribal Health
Consortium (ANTHC)
Barrow Arctic Science
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
—Alaska Region
Biomedical Research
Infrastructure Network (BRIN)
U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs
Denali Commission
U.S. EPA Tribal Science Council
U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances
and Disease Registry
Alaska Department of
Environmental Conservation
U.S. Indian Health Service
Institute for Tribal Environmental
Arctic Research Consortium of
the United States (ARCUS)
U.S. National Institutes of Health
U.S. Center for Disease Control,
Arctic Investigations
Institute for Circumpolar Health
National Resource Center for
American Indians, Alaska Natives,
and native Hawaiian Elders at
Cold Climate Housing Research
Arctic Health Website
Arctic Council
International Polar Year (IPY)
Arctic Human Health Initiative
International Union for
Circumpolar Health
www.ichs.uaa. alaska.
ment/eoi/ details
www. hhs . gov/asl/testify/
U.S. National Ocean &
Atmospheric Administration
Arctic Council Indigenous
Peoples Secretariat
Cultural Survival-Arctic Region
Northern Contaminants Program
Beluga Whale Traditional
Ecological Knowledge
Alaska Department of Fish and
National Science Foundation
Alaska Science Symposium 2006
US Global Change Research
American Indian and Alaska
Native Program
Alaska Sea Grant College
Dietary Benefits and Risks in
Alaska Villages
Northern Research Forum
Arctic Studies Center-Alaska
Alaska Science & Technology
U.S. Geological Survey-Tribal
U.S. National Cancer Institute,
Native American Initiatives
Center for Alaskan Coastal
Alaska Coastal Marine Institute
Alaska Ocean Observing System
Alaska Fisheries Science Center
US Army Corps of Engineers-
Society for Conservation Biology
Earth watch Institute, Alaska
American Association for
Advancement of Science
www.ainc-inac.gc. ca/ncp
www.usgs . gov/ Indian

Alaska Whale Foundation
Arctic and Antarctica Research
Institute (Russia) Arctic Long
Term Ecological Research Site
Arctic Long Term Ecological
Alaska Area Native Health Service
Village Safe Water
Alaska Traditional Diet Project
Pollution Release & Transfer
Registers (PRTR)
EPA Cook Inlet Fish Study
Center for Alaska Native Health
Research (CANHR), University
of Alaska
North Pacific Marine Research
Alaska Native Knowledge
Sheldon Jackson College, Sitka
University of the Arctic
Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio
State University
Churchill Northern Studies
Institute of American Indian and
Alaska Native
Alaska Native, Fairbanks AK,
Science Engineering Program

                                                             Programs and Initiatives
The Tribal  Lifeline  Project
Elizabeth Resek, Deputy Director, EPA's Office of Science Coordination and Policy/Office of Prevention,
Pesticides, and Toxics
   The Tribal LifeLine Project
was initiated so that the unique
diets and activities of traditional
lifestyles, such as those of Tribes,
are accurately reflected when
making decisions  that affect the
health of communities and their
environment. The primary objec-
tive of the project is to create a
suite of models that enhance the
existing LifeLine™ Exposure and
Risk Assessment Software in order
to be able to characterize real
living scenarios of communities.
This tool is being developed not
only to  provide regulators with the
ability to realistically character-
ize exposure and risk for focused
populations, but also to build
capacity within communities for
informed decision-making about
health and environmental concerns.
The  software will  be valuable for
use with any subpopulation (e.g.,
farm workers, sports fishers, and
coastal communities with high fish
consumption), although the focus
of the Tribal LifeLine Project has
been on Tribal communities, begin-
ning with Alaska Native commu-
nities. The project started with
the Alaska communities because
of the prevalence of subsistence-
based diets, the incidence of high
cancer rates, and the presence of
abandoned military waste sites and
open dump sites.
   The existing LifeLine™
Software is a probabilistic exposure
and risk assessment modeling
tool, already peer  reviewed and in
use by EPA's Office of Pesticide
Programs and elsewhere interna-
tionally. The fundamental approach
for the model, which remains the
same for all versions, is to describe
individuals in a popula-
tion (in terms of diet,
activity, physiology,
housing, etc.) in order to
characterize opportuni-
ties for exposure. As with
the existing LifeLine™
Software, OPPTS contin-
ues to seek input from
groups such as EPA's
Science Policy Council
Steering Committee
and Committee for
Regulatory Environmental
Modeling throughout the devel-
opment of the software enhance-
   The enhanced software will
include such key components as
the Dietary Record Generator and
the Activity Record Generator and,
like the current version, will be free
and publicly available for download
and use. These stand-alone
products will allow the user to
employ data that accurately reflect
the unique diets and activities of
focused populations which to date
have been lacking in risk assess-
ments for the general population.
Other important aspects of the
Tribal LifeLine Project include the
ability to address: seasonal mobility
of communities (different locations
of subsistence-based hunting and
gathering often  involve separate
exposure and risk scenarios  such
as different water sources and food
consumption), age-dependent
differences in diet, health parame-
ters of concern (such as asthma and
diabetes), and "cultural blending"
(capturing that Tribal commu-
nity diets consist of both tradi-
tional subsistence foods and more
"western" commercial diets).
             Next steps for the Tribal
          LifeLine Project include devel-
          opment of a user interface for
          the model that makes it readily
          usable by Tribal science and health
          professionals and their advisors.
          The report generator will also be
          adapted to yield the most relevant
          output formats  for communicating
          analyses. In conjunction with the
          Tribal LifeLine Project, the capacity
          to assess multiple chemicals simul-
          taneously, as well as to characterize
          nutritional intake, is being devel-
          oped. EPA will  establish policy
          on criteria for data quality ("data
          standards") to ensure relevance,
          representativeness, transparency,
          and use of appropriate quantita-
          tive parameters with this tool.
          Finally,  OPPTS is also developing
          approaches to training and techni-
          cal assistance, particularly for Tribal
          communities. For more informa-
          tion on the Tribal LifeLine Project,
          please visit the project website at:

Kid's Page
Color, Cut and Paste! Build your own Totem Pole by
coloring the pictures, then carefully cutting them
out and pasting them on top of each other to build
your own totem pole!
The salmon's life
cycle is highly
respected, and it is
believed that observ
ing and respecting
the salmon brings
prosperity.  It is a
vital Indian food
resource, and many
legends describe its
                             The eagle is a symbol of power
                             and prestige. The eagle's "down"
                             symbolizes peace and friend
                             ship. The Eagle is a traditional
                             gift given by couples because it
                             represents the peace and security
                             of their relationship.

                                                                     Kid's Page
                                          The raven was the first symbol and crest
                                               of the Northwest Coastal Indians. The
                                                    raven is a mystical bird and
                                                         symbol of prestige. The
                                                             raven commonly is
                                                                 given to someone
                                                                  who is respected
                                                                  and admired.
                             Love Birds
                             Haida and Tlingit Indians
                             have  two main clans, the
                             Eagles and the Ravens.
                             Traditionally, members
                             of the same clan cannot
                             marry. The lovebirds
                             symbolize the joining
                             of an Eagle member
                             to a Raven member in
Totem Poles are thought by many to be a symbol of Native culture. Generally, their produc
tion was limited to six tribes in British Columbia and southeastern Alaska, including Bella
Coola, Haida, Kwakiutl, Tlingit, Tsimshian and West Coast,  and each tribe had its own
distinctive style. Production of Totem Poles flourished in the 19th century. Totem Poles are
not worshipped, but  the stories they tell often inspire respect and spirituality. Now make
your own style! www.btiger-lily.net/BTTotem.html.