The Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp is calling on Gov. Sean Parnell to rethink his choice of Cora Campbell as Fish and Game commissioner and is urging the state to search for other candidates.
Here's the statement from ANB this afternoon:
The state’s oldest civil rights organization is urging Gov. Sean Parnell to rethink his top choice for commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp also rejected the state’s second choice for the post, saying nominee Ron Somerville has a long and hostile history toward indigenous people of Alaska.
“We consider the forwarding of Ron Somerville by the joint boards of fisheries and game a direct slap in the face to the Native community,” said Grand President Richard Jackson. “His actions against indigenous people of Alaska are well documented and should disqualify him from leading the department for all Alaskans, including Native people.”
The boards approved both applicants this week, including Parnell’s top pick, Cora Campbell. The ANB Grand Camp urged the governor to reject her primarily because of her lack of experience.
“We have serious concerns that someone so young and inexperienced and who has such close ties to the commercial fishing industry will lack the maturity and judgment to negotiate the difficult issues facing Alaska and to serve the many constituents for Alaska's wildlife resources,” Jackson said.
There are many qualified, competent individuals who would make an excellent commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and who have the experience and the relationships to move the management of Alaska's fish and game resources forward, Jackson said.
“We are urging Gov. Parnell to broaden the search for qualified candidates and to weigh the concerns of the ANB-ANS Grand Camp,” Jackson said.
Founded in 1912, the ANB Grand Camp is the oldest civil rights group in the state. ANB Grand Camp has been instrumental in numerous issues, including passage of the country’s first civil rights act and Native land claims.