- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 9, 2017

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) - Tribe leaders in western Alaska have set up a provisional government that might lead to a true governing body if a November ballot measure passes.

Tribal representatives unanimously voted last week to form the Provisional Nunavut Alaska Government at a conference in Bethel, KYUK-AM reported (https://bit.ly/2wHKeP2 ) Tuesday. The vote was the beginning of a process to unite 56 village tribes in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region.

Some residents have voiced concern, though. Kwethluk Incorporated employee George Guy said he is concerned with tribal villages not being able to exercise fundamental rights.

Chariton Epchook, chairman of the newly formed provisional government, said uniting would not take away current sovereign authority from the tribes’ communities but will unite villages as a regional tribal authority with the ability to create laws.

“It was a hundred percent supported, and the idea is to promote self-determination: To have tribal autonomy and sovereignty,” said Nikki Hoffman, Nunavut secretary and former Bethel City Council member. “This is the beginning of a journey. This is the beginning of a marathon that started 40 years ago.”

A vote for a united government will be on the area’s November 7 ballot.

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Information from: KYUK-AM, https://www.kyuk.org


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