JUNEAU, AK (October 6, 2022) – The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) has endorsed Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for reelection to the United States Senate and Representative Mary Peltola (D-Alaska) for reelection to the United States House of Representatives.
Tlingit & Haida President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson has issued the following statement after the Executive Council’s adoption of two resolutions of endorsement:
As Tlingit and Haida people, we have a strong history of being politically active and standing up to protect our ways of life. We have fought for our right to vote, for citizenship, and for land claims. As we approach the upcoming General Election, we need to make sure that we follow in the footsteps of our ancestors and stand up to protect our ways of life – we have too much to lose.
At the Executive Council meeting in September, Tlingit & Haida’s Executive Council adopted resolutions endorsing United States Representative Peltola and United States Senator Murkowski for reelection.
As a former member of the State of Alaska House of Representatives, Representative Peltola has a record that supports and advocates for rural Alaska and protecting our ways of life. Throughout her years of service, she has shown her commitment to increasing the standard of living for rural and Alaska Native residents and her ability to bring large, diverse groups of people together to address issues. She supports responsible resource development with local control to increase economic opportunities in rural Alaska and throughout the state. During her 10 years serving in the Alaska House of Representatives, she chaired the Bush Caucus, a nonpartisan group of representatives and senators who represent rural and off-road communities in Alaska, and worked to increase funding and support to Alaska’s remote communities.
Senator Murkowski has become one of the most respected members of the United States Congress on matters pertaining American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian people. She has a proven record of effectiveness, working across party lines, and collaborating to find common ground and common-sense solutions that prioritize Alaska. As vice chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, a senior member and former chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, she has leveraged her seniority to champion policies that support economic growth, protect families, and keep communities safe. Her commitment to Alaska Natives and rural communities has been proven through her continued efforts and is why Tlingit & Haida’s Executive Council has made the decision to support her.
Tlingit & Haida’s Executive Council also opposes a constitutional convention. Alaskans have consistently voted against a constitutional convention and opted for a more transparent constitutional amendment process for necessary changes. There are too many potential risks for Southeast Alaska communities under a constitutional convention, including the ferry system, fishing access and management, hunting rights, mineral and water rights, Power Cost Equalization, rural education funding, and many more.
In a time when politics are so polarized, we need to put partisanship and differences aside and do what is right for our state. Regardless of political affiliation, it is important that our tribal citizens exercise their right to vote on November 8.
Representative Peltola is Yup’ik Alaska Native. She was born in Alaska and raised on the Kuskokwim River in Kwethluk, Tuntutuliak, Platinum, and Bethel. She represented the Bethel region in the Alaska House of Representatives for 10 years. As a lawmaker, she helped rebuild the Bush Caucus, which passed legislation and influenced budgets that improved lives in rural Alaska. For six years, she worked as Manager of Community Development and Sustainability for the Donlin gold mine project for six years. She later served as the Executive Director of the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission where she helped mobilize 118 tribes and rural Alaskans to advocate for the protection of salmon runs in Western Alaska.
Senator Murkowski is a lifelong Alaskan whose family heritage goes back three generations. She was born in Ketchikan, Alaska and spent a lot of her childhood years in Southeast Alaska. In recognition of Senator Murkowski’s strong support for the Alaska Native community, she was adopted into the Deisheetaan (Beaver) clan and given the Tlingit name Aan shaawátk'I, which means ‘Lady of the Land’. She is also the first member of the Alaska congressional delegation to earn the National Indian Health Board’s Jake White Crow Award for Lifetime Achievement and the National Congress of American Indians’ Congressional Leadership Award.