We, the Tribes/First Nations of the Yukon River and its tributaries, proclaim that our fisheries are essential to our cultural, nutritional, economic and spiritual well-being and way of life. We recognize our responsibility and authority to exercise our tribal rights as stewards to our traditional territories and resources. Since time immemorial, we have properly cared for the fisheries of the Yukon River and its tributaries, but for the past 100 years US, Canadian, and State of Alaska have usurped management with no deference to tribal governments. We commit, to conserve, restore and provide for tribal use of fisheries based on indigenous knowledge systems, and scientific principles. Founded on tribal unity, we form the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission for the health and wellbeing of our tribal members, our future generations, and all Alaskans and Canadians who rely upon the health of the fisheries.
Updates and News
a. Constitutional amendments:
- In 2015, the Inter-Tribal Fish Commission approved a constitution at the meeting in Tanana. During the rigorous discussion in Tanana, Tim Andrew of Association of Village Council Presidents asked for “consensus” to be used for decision-making. The language “striving for consensus” was inserted in the preamble as a place holder for further “consensus” discussion. In 2016, the Commissioners agreed to consensus-based decision-making. The term “striving for consensus” was eliminated from the preamble and “consensus” was included in Article 2 and 6 of the constitution for decision-making.
ii. Preamble language
1. The Commissioners amended the preamble to include more inclusive and positive language.
iii. Formal Sub-regions
- The Commissioners did not decide on formal sub-regions for the purposes of the Executive Council representatives, but accepted proposed interim regions that include: Mouth, Central Yupik, GASH, Low-Mid, Hi-Mid, Koyukuk, Flats, Border, and Canada.
Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (YRITFC) Meetings
1st Anual YRITFC Meeting – St.Mary’s, AK – 2014
Demonstration of Power in Tribal Unity
• Tribal unity on self-imposed Yukon King fishing moratorium.
• For the first time in years the US met the escapement goal to Canada, with an ~66,000 kings across the border.
• Proven commitment of Alaska Natives and Tribal Governments to conservation and stewardship for the future.
2nd Annual YRITFC Meeting – Tanana, Alaska – April 2nd-3rd, 2015
Setting a Strong Foundation: Building Power and Unity
- Approved Constitution for Tribal Ratifications.
- Elected an Interim Chair & Interim Executive Council.
- Passed Resolutions for: NPFMC reduction of salmon bycatch, Unified Management, and protection of female Kings.
- Again, Tribal unity on conservation measures for Yukon King fishing, for the second consecutive year the US met the escapement goal to Canada, with an ~ 83,000 kings across the border.
- Proven commitment of Alaska Natives and Tribal Governments to conservation and stewardship for the future.
Selection of Your Tribal Fish Commissioner
The tribes along the Yukon River continue to seek a meaningful voice in fisheries management for the sake of all Alaskans and future generations. The power of unity on the River is on our side, standing with one voice will continue to elevate our tribal influence as we endeavor to protect our traditional fishing activities. This year, the 3rd annual Yukon River Intertribal Fish Commission will attempt to bring all of the Yukon River tribes together to reach consensus on a number of important issues including, a recommendation of escapement into Canada, enhancement, Constitutional language proposals, and elections of a chair, vice-chair and executive council.
The Constitution and Bylaws of the Fish Commission state:
- Each member shall appoint one person to serve as that member’s Commissioner to the Commission.
- Each member will provide a resolution authorizing the Commissioner’s authority to vote on behalf of the member.
- The form of appointment or election of the Commissioner and the term of the service shall be at the discretion of the member. The member shall also determine the process for removal of Commissioner and filling any vacancies.
The individual selected to represent your tribe as a commissioner is an extremely important consideration. At meetings, the commissioners will bring the local knowledge and opinions from each respective community. Once at a commission meeting consensus must be reached between all tribes therefore through the presentation and discussion process your tribe’s commissioner will become more informed and educated about an issue and have the chance to educate the other commissioners. Your tribe should select an individual that participates in subsistence fishing, fishing regulations and is able to communicate effectively. The commissioner does not need to be a council member or a tribal member, but an individual that will properly carry the voice of your tribe’s position on fishing issues and be able to listen to other positions on the river. It is important for the fish commissioner to attend and have continuity through-out the year. There will be very technical information present that will not be repeated each meeting.
Fish commissioner travel should be paid for by the tribe. In the future we hope to secure funding to pay for these costs.
Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Constitution and Bylaws
Article 1: Name, Membership, Commissioners
Section 1. Name
The name of this organization shall be the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (Commission).
Section 2. Commission Membership
Membership in the Commission shall be open to any Tribe/First Nations who:
Is a Federally Recognized Tribe (Tribe)/First Nations located along the Yukon River and its tributaries; and
Ratifies this constitution and joins the Commission by a duly adopted resolution. A Tribe/First Nation may withdraw from the Commission at any time by resolution.
Section 3. Commissioners
Each member shall appoint one person to serve as that member’s Commissioner to the Commission.
Each member will provide a resolution authorizing the Commissioner’s authority to vote on behalf of the member.
The form of appointment or election of the Commissioner and the term of service shall be at the discretion of the member. The member shall also determine the process for removal of Commissioner and filling any vacancies.
Article 2: Purpose, Powers and Limitations of the Commission
Section 1. Purpose
The purpose of the Commission is for the Tribes/First Nations of the Yukon River and its tributaries to:
- Act with a unified voice for the conservation and restoration of Yukon River fisheries to protect our traditional way of life and well-being.
- Establish a comprehensive management plan and program, which includes allocation, based upon indigenous knowledge systems and scientific principles.
- Establish co-management plan(s) to ensure meaningful and substantive Tribal/First Nation participation in all aspects of fisheries management.
Section 2. Powers
To accomplish the purpose, the Commission will have the power to:
- Actively advocate and coordinate Commission positions.
- Adopt plans, policies, procedures and resolutions by consensus.
- Seek and accept funding from state and federal agencies, and public and private persons and organizations, and expend such funds.
Section 3. Limitation of Commission Authority
Any and all sovereign rights and powers vested in the members shall not be abridged by this Constitution or powers authorized to the Commission. The Commission’s authority is limited to the powers specifically delegated through this constitution and any other authority that may be delegated through the resolution of members.
Article 3. Meetings and Voting
- The Commission shall hold at least one meeting a year, by or at the direction of the Chairman. Members shall receive notice not less than thirty (30 days) before the date of such meeting.
- A majority of the membership shall constitute a quorum.
- All action must be authorized by motion and approval by a consensus of those members in attendance.
- Each Commissioner shall be entitled to one vote.
- The conduct and procedure of the meetings may be further defined by appropriate resolution of the Commission.
Article 4: Chairman and Executive Council
Section 1. Election and Term of Office
- The Commission shall elect a Chair and Vice-Chair. Officers must be Commissioners and receive a majority vote from the Commission. Officers shall serve a term of two years. There will be no term limits.
- The Commission may designate regions for the establishment of an Executive Council. Once designated, each region shall elect a representative to represent them on an Executive Council. Executive council members must receive a majority vote from their respective region. Executive council members shall serve 2 year terms. There will be no term limits.
Section 2. Duties of Officers
- The Chairperson shall preside over all meetings of the Commission, shall perform all duties of a Chairperson and shall exercise any authority delegated to him/her by the Commission. The Chairperson shall be the official policy representative of the Commission.
- The Vice-Chairperson shall assist the Chairperson by performing those duties and functions delegated by the Chairperson. In the absence of the Chairperson, the vice-chair shall preside and have all rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities of the Chairperson.
Article 5. Vacancies and Removal of Officers
- If an Officer dies, resigns, is removed, or otherwise permanently leaves the Commission, the Commission shall declare the position vacant and elect replacement for the balance of the unexpired term.
- The Commission may remove an Officer for any cause or reason deemed necessary by the Commission. Removal shall be through a majority vote of the Commissioners.
Article 6: Amendments
This Constitution may be amended by consensus of the members by member resolution. Tribes/First Nations must receive at least 90 days of notice prior to any vote on a Constitutional amendment.
Article 7: Ratification
This Constitution becomes effective upon the receipt of resolutions adopting the Constitution and joining the Commission from a majority of the members of the Yukon River and its tributaries. The Constitution is not ratified until a majority of the members of the Yukon River and its tributaries pass resolutions adopting the Constitution and joining the Commission.