2nd Middle Kuskokwim Borough Steering Committee Meeting Completed

The 2nd meeting of the Middle Kuskokwim Borough Steering Committee was held in Anchorage on May 3-5.

The focus of this meeting was to review and revise the draft borough charter that had been prepared by borough consultant, Lamar Cotton. This draft was built from the information gathered from the 20 representatives of the 10 middle Kuskokwim communities at the first meeting.

At this second meeting many revisions were made to the charter to limit the powers of the borough. These limitations of power are designed to minimize the impact borough formation would have on the everyday lives of Middle Kuskokwim residents.

The next meeting of the Middle Kuskokwim Borough Steering Committee will be held in October. The focus of this meeting will be to get further education on the cost/benefit on the different tools that can be used to generate revenue from the development of Donlin Creek should it become a producing mine.

A big thank you to all the Middle Kuskokwim representatives that have volunteered their time to go through this long, tedious process.

Thank you.

Public Meeting Tonight (5/6/16) on FSA16-01 to Limit Fishing to Only Federally Qualified Subsistence Users and Instate a Permit System for the 2016 Chinook Fishery

Federal Special Action Request by the Village of Akiak Public Meeting

A public meeting is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., May 6, 2016, in Akiak to discuss and provide comment on a Temporary Special Action request received by the Federal Subsistence Board, see attachment for additional details. The public can participate by either attending the meeting in person at: the Akiak Community Center 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., May 6, 2016, or by; Teleconference by calling in to: 1-866-864-5314, and entering Passcode# 309186.

This is an important meeting that will “set the stage” for the upcoming fishing season and we encourage people to call in, or attend and voice their opinions. The Napaimute Traditional Council has passed a resolution (summarized below, and attached) expressing their position on FSA16-01.

Summary of Napaimute Resolution 16-08

The Napaimute Traditional Council believes that despite many years of sacrifice by folks up and down the Kuskokwim River to rebuild our Chinook salmon run it is clear that again fishermen will have to be restricted in order to conserve this precious resource, and;

The Napaimute Traditional Council recognizes this year’s Chinook salmon forecasted run size is greater than we have seen in many years, resulting in harvest opportunity that should be better than last year by possibly twice as much, if the run come in as expected, and;

The Napaimute Traditional Council feels that the Federal Permit system implemented over the last two years does not provide for reasonable Chinook salmon harvest opportunity for Federally qualified subsistence users outside the boundaries of the Federal Conservation Unit, and;

The Napaimute Traditional Council believes that co-management (Federal, State, and the Inter Tribal Fisheries Commission) has the highest likelihood of achieving the necessary conservation goals while minimizing the hardships to fishermen by simplifying the management, regulations, and providing for equal harvest opportunity, and;

The Napaimute Traditional Council resolved to: support the request identified in FSA16-01 to limit the salmon fishery to only Federally qualified subsistence users, and;

The Napaimute Traditional Council resolved to: oppose the request  identified in FSA16-01 to further limit the pool of users based on the section 804 analysis, and the implementation of an allocation strategy i.e., implementation of a permit system, and;

Additionally the Napaimute Traditional Council resolved that: knowing that management actions to conserve Chinook salmon will be necessary in 2016, and the expressed desire by many fishermen, various advisory groups and fisheries managers is to; co-manage the fishery, simplify regulations, and provide equitable harvest opportunity we suggest the following general guidelines for consideration by Fisheries Managers and Stakeholders in 2016:

  1. Beginning in May, limit the salmon fishery to only Federally Qualified Subsistence Users.
  2. For the Kuskokwim River and its tributaries, close the salmon fishery beginning May 20th downstream of the Holitna River, and June 1st upstream of the Holitna.
  3. In conjunction with the salmon closure: all gill nets (including 4” set nets) will not be allowed in the main stem Kuskokwim River, or any of its salmon tributary until the salmon fishery reopens.
  4. Reopen the Chinook salmon fishery no sooner than June 12th.
  5. Salmon spawning tributaries will remain closed after June 12th.
  6. Manage harvest opportunity using only; time, area, and gear restrictions through the ADF&G emergency order authorities that are consistent with FWS authorities for the entire river.
  7. Provide unrestricted harvest opportunity after June 12th on the main stem Kuskokwim River that allows for the live release of Chinook salmon, i.e., fishwheel, dip nets, beach sines, rod & reel.

Napaimute appreciates the opinions of all Subsistence Users, and other Stakeholders on the Kuskokwim. It is our sincere wish that we enter this fishing season with a minimum amount of hardship imposed on fishermen while continuing to conserve and rebuild our King salmon stocks.

MA_FSA16-01_Public_meeting (2)

NVN Resolution 16_08

NVN Comments on the Draft Donlin Environmental Impact Statement – Part 1:

To Whom It May Concern:
This is the first part of a two part statement the Native Village of Napaimute will be submitting. This part is based on long term observations of the changes in the region, our concern over the current direction we are heading and our vision for a better future for our young People.
Part two will be more science based and address in more detail some specific environmental concerns we have regarding the Project.
Part 1:
We have been involved with the development of the Donlin Creek Project since its inception all those years ago. Throughout this long process we have strived to maintain a balanced view point on all of the issues surrounding this potential large-scale natural resource development coming to our region. We have made trips to open-pit mines both at our own expense and at the invitation of Donlin’s developers. We have attended dozens of Donlin-related meetings throughout the years and visited the Project Site several times.
Nobody ever mentions that there is already a large open-pit gold mine operating in Alaska, on a tributary of the Chena River which flows right through Alaska’s second largest city – Fairbanks, which flows into the Tanana, which flows into the mighty Yukon. The Fort Knox mine has safely operated for two decades and is barely noticeable. We understand that there are significant differences between Ft. Knox and what a Donlin Creek open pit mine would be, but still it demonstrates how large scale resource development can be done with little or no noticeable impact to the environment at this time.
After years of involvement with the development of the Donlin Project, with the public release of the Donlin EIS it is has been some what frustrating to watch all the “Johnny-Come-Latelys” jump on the band wagon in opposition to the Project. Many of them have no true understanding of the issues – especially the environmental ones.
Much of the most vocal & eloquent opposition comes in fact from relatively wealthy people with good jobs and fine homes with very limited experience in the region beyond their residences in Bethel..
Many of them have no vision for our future – the future of the region.
They have no understanding of what it’s like to be a twenty-something young man living in a village in the middle of winter with little to no opportunity for anything except a dope pipe or a bottle of R & R whiskey. No jobs, no money for gas and good equipment to go out hunting or trapping. The illegal sale of alcohol and drugs is probably the second biggest factor in the quasi-economy of our region after government spending.
Where is our region going to be in 20 years or 50 years without some true economic development?
Our population is growing at third world country levels. Over half of our People are under the age of 25 and this percentage is growing. We have people in their 30’s that are grandparents already! What are we going to have for all these young People?
More over-capacity prisons, more over-flowing cemeteries?
People have been complaining about their subsistence way of life being threatened by the development of Donlin Creek. Let us tell you that in a lifetime of traveling up and down this River and as people that still travel up and down it more than most – the country is empty. Especially the Middle and Upper Kuskokwim – the part of our region that would be most effected by the development of Donlin Creek.
There is no one out there anymore – not on an extended basis like they used to. There is still a lot of subsistence activity going on but most of it consists of short day trips close to home. The modes of transportation, tools, and equipment we have in these modern times has made subsistence hunting, fishing, and gathering so much easier. Oh, but they also take more money! And once you’ve completed your seasonal rounds of subsistence activities with vastly more effectiveness and efficiency than it took in traditional times – what do you do with all that spare time?
What are our young People going to have without some major economic development? Not everyone can work for YKHC, AVCP, or the school districts. And they’ll have no money to go hunting, fishing, trapping, or gathering. So they continue to rely increasingly on public assistance programs. Public assistance is becoming an integral part of our Region’s culture. It is also an enabler/enhancer of our more negative social aspects: unwed mothers becoming pregnant over and over again so they can get more assistance, fathers with no responsibility, free money for alcohol and drugs (yes people have figured out how to use public assistance for this), significant health problems and obesity from all the junk food that is bought with public assistance money, high crime, suicide, the list goes on and on.
But if you ask any young person along the River today what they want most. Their answer isn’t subsistence. It’s a JOB! Give a young person a job – an opportunity – and you change their life.
With opportunity, a young person can be even more true Native – independent, self-sufficient, have more pride and self-esteem, be more of a Nukalpiaq (good hunter/provider) – the very core of our culture in this region.
Instead of being poor and dependent on government support. The definition of being Native is becoming more and more confused with the definition of poverty.
We may not want Donlin Creek but we need it. We can’t go on like this – all we’re doing is creating a big ghetto with millions of acres of empty unused country around it.
Allow for the development of just a few thousand acres to bring economic benefit to the greater Region – there will still be vast areas of untouched land and water that can be enjoyed by the People as they hunt, gather, and fish for food while at the same time having the economic means to do it even more effectively. And there will still be vast areas of land and water that will NEVER feel the impacts (negative or positive) of an open pit mine on a small tributary of the Middle Kuskokwim. Some People who live hundreds of miles from Donlin talk like everything about their lives will be ruined. We bet they won’t even notice a thing much like the People living along the Yukon aren’t even aware of the Ft. Knox mine far away on a distant tributary.
Regarding the specific issues covered in the Draft EIS:
Barge traffic: not an issue. Our administrator grew up on barges on the Kuskokwim River and was a captain for 10 years. The River is a big place. A couple of barges a day is nothing. People forget the immense amount of barge traffic we had in the 1980’s when the State was flush with oil money and splashed it all over our region paying for the construction of new schools, multi-purpose buildings, clinics, fire stations, and just about any other thing a community asked for. In addition to the greater volume of freight/fuel barge traffic there was also a viable commercial fishery going on in the 1980’s that included significant large vessel traffic – especially in the Lower River. With several fish processors operating in Bethel and 800 commercial fisherman there was a lot of large vessel activity on the River. Somewhere we have a picture of 14 freight barges, large fish processing ships, Japanese tramp steamers, and assorted tenders lined up in front of Bethel at one time. There was also a constant stream of barges hauling hauling gravel from the middle to lower Kuskokwim. Up until recently every rock on every road, runway, and building foundation pad in the lower River came down by barge from the Kalskag- Aniak area. Sometimes these barges were drafting as much as 10 feet!
The best thing though would be the implementation of those LNG trucks – just a better alternative in so many ways – including reduced barge traffic – since the public perception is that this a big issue in this Donlin EIS process.
The Port Site: We’ve always favored the Birch Tree Crossing Alternative for several reasons.
  1. The River from Birch Tree downstream to Bethel is relatively easy for barges to navigate at just about any River level. Upstream of Birch Tree there are several tricky spots which have more potential for barging problems.
  2. The other reason we’ve favored Birch Tree is because in almost any year you can have a safe, reliable ice road from Bethel to Birch Tree. Even in a mild winter like the one we’re experiencing now you get get 60-90 days of ice road trucking – this could be an important transportation alternative if summer River conditions are extreme and limiting. A safe, maintained ice road would also bring great economic/social benefit to the People of the region.
  3. We also like the idea of the 80 mile road from Birch Tree to Donlin – the first major road in our region that could be a real asset when the mine closes. The road would also open up other mineralized areas for development and perhaps even provide a transportation connection to the Yukon River someday.
  4. The road might also have the potential to serve as the route for any extension of the natural gas pipeline to the rest of the region.
Dry Stack Tailings – we prefer this alternative. Any process that further reduces the amount of water that needs to be monitored and treated “in perpetuity” and reduces risk to the watershed has to be a good thing.
Natural Gas Pipeline – not an issue – already a well established practice throughout the world – including Alaska – with the added benefit of the potential to extend and supply natural gas to the lower Kuskokwim and beyond.
Air Quality – mercury emissions have been one of our greater environmental concerns, it seems to have been addressed, but those entities responsible for issuing permits for the Project must ensure that it is.
Hazardous Materials and Waste Management: the transport and handling of hazardous materials isn’t an issue – there are well-developed almost universal safety systems in place for this issue. Many toxic, hazardous materials are safely transported throughout our State in general and Region in particular everyday. On a tour of the Golden Sunlight Ore Processing Facility in Montana years ago our administrator stuck his hand in the cyanide solution. His hand still works just fine today.
Water Quality – this is perhaps the biggest concern for everyone who lives along the River. It seems to have been addressed adequately but we would like a clearer more understandable plan for treatment of water in “perpetuity” including financial planning to support this on going work. We don’t ever want to worry that our River is polluted and that its not safe to eat what we get from it.
We think it would be good to be able to demonstrate what the true effects would be in the unlikelihood of a catastrophic release of contaminated water into the Kuskokwim. Over the years we have observed man-made and natural contaminations of the River and see how quickly they are diluted and their effects flushed out in a relatively short period of time.
It’s ironic that no one says much about a sewer lagoon in Bethel that is being used at seven times the capacity it was designed for being discharged regularly into the Kuskokwim River. Where’s the water quality there?
The Kuskokwim River is a large river with a lot of water moving through the watershed. Crooked Creek isn’t even the half way point of the Kuskokwim’s length. There would still be over half of the River’s water coming down uncontaminated to further dilute the already quickly disseminated contaminated water.
This may be over simplifying it but in our minds it would be like releasing 1,000,000 gallons of dry powdered red Kool Aid into the River at Crooked Creek. How long would the water stay red downstream? It might hurt a few fish in the immediate area for a short time, but a majority of of the main stem of the Kuskokwim would feel minimal effects if any at all. And again there would be vast areas of the watershed that would have no negative effects.
The other issues identified and analyzed aren’t worth spending too much more time discussing. Things like marine mammals, bald eagles, wetlands etc. Again look at our region as whole – it’s a vast area – most of it will never be touched by natural resource development and will remain as it has throughout the millennia.
Our region has been famous for opposing natural resource development yet always open to more low-risk/no-risk government spending. In the 1970’s and 80’s regional leaders opposed oil & gas exploration. Now they would welcome it!
Another example of our region’s strong resistance to change that we remember is when they were first proposing to use a hovercraft to deliver mail and freight from Bethel to our outlying villages. There was great opposition to this. Many People publicly spoke against the use of the hovercraft fearing that it would scare away fish and game and damage other subsistence resources.
Now the hovercraft is an accepted part of everyday life in the Lower Kuskokwim. No harm done.
There are risks associated with the development of Donlin Creek into a world class open pit gold mine, but great efforts have been taken in the planning for this Project to minimize these risks. And yes, there will be a relatively small area of the Kuskokwim Watershed that will never be the same, but this is a risk and a limited change in the natural environment that we need to take – for the economic, social, and even cultural future of our young People.
Thank you.

NVN Seeking Tribal Members Comments on the 2016 ICDBG Application:

NVN is in the process of drafting an application for an Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) for funding to support the development of a truss manufacturing operation to be used for local housing construction in the Kuskokwim region. This operation is being proposed as a partnership with AVCP and TKC.

In accordance with  the citizen participation requirements of 24 CFR 1003.604,  the tribe must state that the views and comments from the entire tribal community members about the possible use of ICDBG funds were gathered and considered prior to the submission of the application.

The ICDBG Program provides eligible grantees with direct grants for use in developing viable Indian and Alaska Native Communities, including decent housing, a suitable living environment, and economic opportunities, primarily for low and moderate income persons.

Please forward any concerns, ideas or questions to: Napaimute@gci.net.

2016 Kuskokwim Break Up – Earliest on Record: The Life in the Ice (reprint from the Delta Discovery)

Freeze Up at Napaiimute

Freeze Up at Napaimute

The Life in the Ice

It was a cold, clear, calm night in the Middle Kuskokwim. I sat there alone cooling off in the dark porch of the maqivik listening to the talk….but the talk wasn’t coming from People.

Sharp cracks. Loud booms. Low rumbling. Echoes in the stillness against the hills and up into the valleys. Sometimes it sounded like furniture being moved in an upstairs room or even distant thunder on a summer evening. All along the River in front of me, down around the bend, and up above at the islands the Ice was talking.

Even though I was the only person around for miles, I didn’t feel alone. There’s life in that Ice I thought to myself. I sat there and kept listening to the story – figuring out the language.

The Ice was growing thicker and the water that it’s born from was getting lower. As water freezes it expands outgrowing the River’s cradle while at the same time with the water dropping its bed is getting smaller. That’s where all the cracking, groaning, and rumbling comes from – growing pains.

It sounds scary, but really the noise is comforting – reassuring – the Ice is getting thicker – safer.

Each year we watch the life of the Ice. We witness its conception, celebrate its birth, enjoy its maturity, and then rejoice in its death.

The Conception: In the fall we watch the water in the River get thicker. We see the mud puddles freeze, then the lakes freeze, then we start to see a little Ice along the shore, and the sloughs and calmer areas freeze. In the clear water tributaries we see Ice forming on the bottom around rocks and branches. Some of it popping loose, rising to the surface and flowing downstream – getting thicker each day if the temperatures are right.

The Birth: I remember watching the Ice form in the main River years go on a moonlit mid-October night as we were coming down with the barge. It was in that long stretch between Terry Hoffman’s fish camp and Carl Morgan’s.

The water was very thick. Then suddenly Ice started forming like thin spider webs across the calm surface. It was amazing to watch. We tied up to rest along the cut bank right above Carl Morgan’s. During the night you could hear the Ice thickening and hitting the side of the barge with increasing loudness. By day light those spider webs of Ice had turned into 1” thick sheets. The Ice was born!

The Ice in the Lower River stops first – there’s less current and when the tide comes in the current slacks off to nothing making it easier for Ice to be born.

A low water freeze up is considered to be best for safe winter travel. A high water freeze up has the danger of shell Ice as the water drops throughout the winter.

Once the Lower River freezes up the Ice coming down from upriver starts backing up – usually from somewhere below Akiak. Sometimes the flowing Ice can run for a month, but in a good year maybe just a couple of weeks. Slowly back filling its way up the River. In some narrow, shallow parts the Ice sheets will jam leaving long stretches of open water below that can remain open throughout the winter.

The Upper end of Kuskokwaq, Coffee’s bend, and Birch Tree Crossing are common places for this – but not always. Sometimes the open holes are in places we haven’t seen before. And sometimes these famous open spots are frozen up tight.

If the temperatures are cold the sheets of Ice grow each day and the shore Ice builds out. In some parts of the River you can safely travel on the shore Ice for miles while the main channel is still running. At Napaimute we can travel 20 miles down to Chuathbaluk on the shore Ice in a good year.

As the Ice stops the water raises filling in some of the roughness especially along the shore. As the running Ice packs in its like break up in reverse. The running Ice slows down, finally stops, but then shifts around again packing in tighter before finally coming to rest for the winter. Listening to stories from our Elders we learn that in the right temperatures you can cross the River on the same or next day – checking ahead of you with an ice pick. It’s true I’ve done it at Napaimute even with 10 open holes with in sight. That Ice packs in tight and is safe to walk on. But you have to have that Ice pick out there in front of you! I always tell my kids that my Ice pick is one of my most valuable possessions.

Maturity: As the Ice fills in the Kuskokwim we begin venturing out on it. A little bit out from each community – manaqing, setting nets, taluyaqs, or traps. Those that are out on the ice early are observing what’s going on and understand when they can venture further. The trails start radiating out, getting longer and longer as the Ice grows. Eventually we are all connected again and the winter traveling season opens up. It’s a great time of the year. Crews mark trails and open water. At first these are just snow machine and ATV trails. But with thickening Ice and some warm spells to smoothen the Ice they eventually become a network of Ice roads for trucks. In 2016 we had over 250 miles of truck road on the Ice of the Kuskokwim River – from the Johnson River Villages to Crooked Creek.

We spend the next several months enjoying the nice hard platform that the Ice has given us. I think the travel we do on the Kuskokwim River in winter rivals some of Alaska’s major highways. With safe trails and ice roads established we are probably the most mobile, social people there are. I always wonder when they say we are “remote and isolated” From who? Certainly not from ourselves. Thousands of Kuskokwim River People move everyday over the Ice for: meetings, fiddling, dog races, carnivals, funerals, basketball games, medical appointments, shopping, getting wood, subsistence activities, and many other reasons. I counted over 70 trucks manaqing at the mouth of Johnson River one nice day in March!

While we enjoy these good months of winter travel, the life in the Ice is maturing – growing up – and we are watching it. We share our observations with other travelers up and down the River.

Even in these mild winters we’ve been having the Ice thickens – though not like it did in previous years. And the water level in the River drops bringing the Ice down along with it.

We watch this and adjust the way we travel accordingly. I always tell people that ask me about the channel:

“If you want to see the channel travel up the River at the end of March/early April. This is when the River is at its lowest level of the whole year. You’ll see the channel clearly.”

In some parts of the River the dropping Ice breaks away from the banks and sandbars leaving dangerous open water long before the spring break up starts. In other areas even though there’s a thick layer of Ice the current continues to eat away at the cut banks leaving hollow areas underneath where the Ice eventually falls down leaving open water. In other parts of the River where there are swift channels with broad shallow areas downstream, the thickening and dropping Ice can cause a restriction in the River flow building up pressure that eventually blows out the channel even though the Ice is nearly 3 feet thick! This happened at Aniak and Napaimute this winter.

These are some of the things to be aware of while traveling on the frozen River. That’s the Life in the Ice -it’s always changing.

Like Took says “The River changes every day”. And if you’re on it enough you’ll see the changes. Sometimes the day to day changes are very small: the Ice dropped just a little more. The Ice got just a little thicker. Those snow drifts got a little taller or longer.

The Death: Sometimes the changes are great and fast – in less than an hour with warm temperatures, wind, rain, and tide the overflow can be much deeper than it was. Or in the spring with hot weather, strong current, and a little sand the Ice can be much more rotten.

Or a part of the River that was flooded with overflow from bank to bank can be dry a few hours later if the water finds a place to drain through and the main Ice decides to lift up.

There are the signs that the Ice is tired. It starts to get sick and slowly die. Each day it lifts up a little higher. Each day it gets a little darker. Each day open water takes up more room along the edges, eventually breaking the shore Ice free from the main channel Ice. Once the main Ice is floating free the end of its life is imminent. But just like our own lives we don’t know exactly when it will end. That’s why I don’t buy Ice classic tickets. I know that the River is smarter than me and I don’t feel like I should try to play like I’m smarter.

But eventually the Ice breaks up, moves out and dies.

Sometimes its death is fast and violent threatening every living thing along the River bank. After a bad break up the land beyond the River can be flooded for miles and miles – all the way out into the tundra. Every kind of drowned animal can be seen from moose and bears all the way down to rabbits and mice. We once saw a drowned moose hanging by its neck way up in the fork of a tree. That time there were many more moose still alive laying or standing on stranded sheets of ice waiting for the land to drain. There was no place else for them to go.

Sometimes its life ends slowly and quietly mostly melting out in a reincarnation of the water it was born from. Maybe that’s what’s happening this year.

We rejoice in the death of the Ice, the new freedom of the open water, and all the good things the summer season along the River has to offer.

I love being on the River and especially on the Ice. There’s Life in the Ice.

I guess it comes from a combination of listening to the People who lived in the dog team days tell stories about traveling on the Ice, over a quarter of a century of watching freeze ups and break ups in Napaimute where the River is right there in front of you all day long every day, or maybe just from a lifetime of living and working on the River. There’s still much to see and learn. Different things every day and every year is different in some ways.

Happy Spring.

Getting a boat in the water after a bad break up can be challenging. This was Napaimute in 2004.

Getting a boat in the water after a bad break up can be challenging. This was Napaimute in 2004.






Open Letter from the Napaimute Traditional Council President to Our Fellow AVCP Region Tribal Leaders

9 March 2016

Fellow Tribal Leaders & Interested Parties:

There is considerable effort by some tribes to convene a special convention of tribes within the Association of Village Council Presidents membership. Now, comes contrary information about a minimum threshold of tribal participation (by resolution) of 37 tribes versus 20 to convene a special convention.  No matter which number is correct, the Native Village of Napaimute Traditional Council has not tendered or submitted a resolution supporting a special convention.

Napaimute Traditional Council has discussed ideas about how to improve the operations and service delivery of programs administered under compact with AVCP.  We plan to share our suggestions with all member villages in the hopes of garnering support and eventual passage of the resolutions at a near-future convention.  The Bylaws clearly state changes to corporate bylaws require a 30-day notice to all member villages before they are brought to the floor for discussion, debate and vote. We believe that a constitutional convention is the proper way to start the process, and also believe that a protocol should be established that clearly identifies a path and funding sources for instituting changes to the AVCP bylaws. Yes, AVCP management also has a responsibility to offer concrete and measurable steps to improve its fiscal house, relationships with member tribes and funding agencies.

We would like to suggest a different playbook, one that will have longer ranging impacts to the overall health of AVCP and member tribes. Together we can work to review and update the governance structure of AVCP to better fit the intent and mission of the organization and to provide the platform of unity and service delivery that we, the Tribal Leadership desire.

It is important that AVCP be prepared to address recent (and historical) fiscal policies and practices through written and oral reporting. It is supremely important that AVCP “come clean” and that AVCP leadership responds to the delegates of AVCP as we are the true tribal leaders of AVCP.  AVCP has a responsibility to the tribes to carry out the mission of AVCP and to act on all resolutions passed by the whole delegation.  This is an area that we have found lacking under this administration.

Native Village of Napaimute believes that changes to AVCP Bylaws regarding the recruitment, selection, and hiring of President, AVCP is critical to success of the organization. AVCP has stewardship responsibilities for millions of dollars and as leaders, we must recognize that who we have sitting at the helm of this multi-million dollar organization must have the requisite skills, knowledge, proven abilities and education to manage an organization of AVCP’s size and reach.  To state it simply, we cannot continue to seat this position on what really is a popularity contest.  Time marches on, we have grown as an organization, we have grown capacity; it is time for AVCP Bylaws to reflect that growth.

All our funding is limited and we strive to operate within budget constraints. Please join us in asking AVCP to convene a convention before May 9, 2016. This date will provide AVCP with sufficient time to prepare for a regular convention where it will answer all those questions tribes have regarding lawsuits; layoffs; cessation of programs; sale, closure or purchases of capital equipment or property; financial reporting that is current and historic, as needed; clear and measureable performance evaluation benchmarks for each program, etc. This date will allow AVCP not only to clean its house, but to reflect on its mission and service to all its members without bias or partiality.

Join us in tangibly helping to address those areas of our AVCP that require reasoned thought, hard work and hard decision-making, and planning for a better tomorrow for all tribes within the AVCP member footprint.


Devron Hellings, President

Native Village Napaimute


Middle Kuskokwim Borough Summit

Borough consultant education representatives on the cost/benefit of borough formation for the Middle Kuskokwim

Lamar Cotton, borough consultant educating representatives from the Middle Kuskokwim on the cost/benefit of borough formation for our region at the recent Middle Kuskokwim Borough Summit

On February 22nd through the 25th, 20 representatives of the 10 Middle Kuskokwim villages met to learn about the cost/benefit of borough formation for the region centered around the potential development of Donlin Creek.

This Summit was sponsored by the Kuskokwim Corporation. For more information on the key results of this meeting please click on the PDF below.

A sincere thank you to the Board of Directors, Management, and Staff of TKC for their efforts to educate the People of the Middle Kuskokwim on the cost/benefit of borough formation for our region.

Middle Kuskokwim Borough Summit 2 (CLICK HERE)


Ice Road Marking Between Chuathbaluk & Napaimute Completed

January 29 trail marking near the Kolmokofsky River

January 29 trail marking near the Kolmokofsky River

Our trail crew completed the marking of the 20 mile stretch of ice road between Chuathbaluk and Napaimute on February 1st.

Point-of-Beginning is at the spruce tree marker at Jim Smith’s place above Chuathbaluk.

Markers are willows with WHITE reflectors spaced 1/10 of a mile apart.

Point-of-End is the dump road landing at the lower end of Napaimute. Stay on the beach road from this point upstream until we get some colder weather.

No large vehicle traffic (trucks) is recommended on the River above the dump road landing due to open water and uncertain conditions from the earlier blow out of the channel in front of the original village.

Thank you to those that made contributions to this work: Harry Faulkner/Top Fuel, Megan Leary, Brandon Leary, Buddy Herron, Randy Turner, and Ron Hoffman.

We hope that other users of the road will make contributions to help cover the expense of this work.

Point-of-Beginning: the spruce tree marker at Jim Smith's

Point-of-Beginning: the spruce tree marker at Jim Smith’s

Dakota Phillips saws slot in the ice for trail markers

Dakota Phillips saws slot in the ice for trail markers

Ben Leary installs one of over 200 markers and reflectors between Chuathbaluk & Napaimute

Ben Leary installs one of over 200 markers and reflectors between Chuathbaluk & Napaimute

With temperatures rising to the low 40's during this work - the mosquitos were out!

With temperatures rising to the low 40’s during this work – the mosquitos were out!