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INDIAN COUNTRY COMMUNITY ASSET DIRECTORY

FOOD, AGRICULTURE, AND HEALTH EQUITY INNOVATIONS


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Alaska Tribal Conservation Alliance

The Alaska Tribal Conservation Alliance (ATCA) was established as a non-profit in 2011 to provide outreach, education, training, and technical assistance to Alaska Tribal Conservation Districts (TCDs) in order to preserve and enhance natural resources and a traditional subsistence way of life.

Quick Stats

  • Hosted first annual Partnership Summit in 2019
  • Developed a Traditional Foods Assessment Survey for Alaska TCDs
  • ATCA includes representatives from 17 Alaska Tribal Conservation Districts.

Challenges for Alaska Tribal Conservation Districts

Tribal conservation districts combine local and traditional knowledge with technical resources to actively manage natural resources. A tribal conservation district establishes its conservation priorities through a comprehensive planning process. The plan is implemented locally by the district’s governing board of directors and members. Once a tribal conservation district is established under Tribal law, it can enter into a mutual agreement with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) and other federal agencies to carry out programs to accomplish conservation goals.*

One of the primary challenges in building connections for Alaska TCDs to federal programs, is that the structures of federal programs are based on TCDs outside of Alaska. ATCA formed in part because the unique needs and cultural context of Alaska Native people necessitated a specialized organization, rather than viewing all TCDs through a homogenous federal lens. As ATCA staff note, An understanding of the context of tribes outside of Alaska does not necessarily transfer to the experience inside of it.

These unique needs also come with higher financial costs: the technical assistance needed to support implementation of self-sustaining conservation practices in rural areas can have significantly higher costs. For example, depending on if there are severe weather conditions, travel costs range from $500 to $1200 per person to conduct a site visit at a TCD. Another challenge is infrastructure in Alaska, with limitations on cellular and internet services, making consistent communication more difficult.

In Alaska, ‘rural’ is used to describe locations off the road system, not just their distance from urban areas.

New Training Opportunities for Alaska TCDs

ATCA projects for the number of TCDs in Alaska to increase from 19 to 25 by the end of 2020. It is their goal is to continue outreach efforts to educate tribes throughout Alaska about the benefits of TCDs and how they can support food sovereignty, while also focusing on training opportunities that certify Apprentice Conservation Planners. In addition, ATCA will be continuing their work to conduct a TCD Resource Needs Assessment.

For more information, contact the Alaska Tribal Conservation Alliance

Sources

Tyler Mockta, Eden Romeo, Kyla Gongora. Interview by Sarah Ballew, Headwater People. 8 August 2019.

aktca.org

Alaska Tribal Conservation Alliance 2019 Annual Report

*from US Dept of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation Services: Forming Tribal Districts in Alaska.


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