Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
TETLIN- Refuge Co-Hosts Upper Tanana Cultural Resources Summit
Alaska Region, March 22, 2005
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Connie Friend, Tetlin Wildlife Refuge Tribal Liaison and Tami DeFries, Alaska Fire Service Miltary Zone Fire Management Officer, co-hosted a two day Upper Tanana Cultural Resource Summit on March 22-23, 2005.

Approximately 50 people attended the event held in the Tok Visitor Center on the Alaska Highway. Native leaders from Northway, Tetlin, Tanacross, Tok, Healy Lake, Gakona, Eagle Village, and several communities in the Yukon Territory, Canada, gathered with representatives from state and Federal government agencies to dialog about Upper Tanana Native perspectives and priorities concerning cultural sites and resources and their preservation and protection.

Upper Tanana Athabascan elder Ellen Demit opened the summit with a traditional native invocation. Native leaders and other members of local communities and villages offered their perspectives on how to protect tradition and culture within the framework of modern land management. They encouraged the integration of traditional ecological knowledge in land management planning and acknowledged the pitfalls of walking within two very different worlds. In turn, state and Federal agency representatives discussed laws and regulations related to cultural resource protection. Debbie Corbett, USFWS archeologist, spoke about her work in reclaiming cultural resources and returning them to their rightful owners.

Action items generated from the Summit include elevating the importance of cultural resource management to create political support and funding for related programs and projects, incorporating traditional ecological knowledge into land management plans, establishing protocols for working with proprietary information gathered from personal interviews, photographs, written and oral accounts, advocating for education curricula which includes Native cultural history and cultural resource management and maintaining the dialog and learning process by continuing to meet together.

The Tetlin Refuge is currently incorporating issues discussed at this Summit into their revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan.

For more information on the Summit please contact Connie Friend, at the Tetlin Refuge, Box 779, Tok, AK 99780 PH:907-883-9406 email:Connie_Friend@fws.gov

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov
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