On Monday, the State of Alaska lost a big case involving federal subsistence rights. Here’s a summary of the case from the Anchorage Daily News:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a long-running dispute over management of Alaska’s waterways.The decision effectively upholds a lower court’s decision in what’s become popularly known as the ‘Katie John case.’ This continues the federal government control’s over hunting and fishing on navigable state-owned waters adjacent to federal land. The decision, a blow to the state and a victory for the Alaska Federation of Natives, upholds a 2013 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The state of Alaska had petitioned the high court, seeking review.
In a release, Alaska Native leader and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott praised the decision and called on Gov. Sean Parnell to abide by it:
Rather than pursue senseless litigation, the state should engage in meaningful dialogue with its rural residents and Native peoples to protect the subsistence way of life. I call on Governor Parnell to accept the Supreme Court’s decision and direct his administration to work constructively towards a solution that is fair and lasting.
In 2001, when Gov. Tony Knowles was governor, the state also lost its challenge in the Ninth Circuit. Knowles declined to take it to the Supreme Court.
Many in the state were puzzled when Parnell decided to revisit the issue, which outraged many in the Alaska Native community, who described it as an “assault” on their subsistence rights.
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