Category Archives: Alaska Natives / Yup’ik Eskimo

With Sarah Palin Resigning, Rural Alaskans Have Hope in Gov. Parnell

Of Yup’ik ancestry, Myron Naneng serves the peoples of the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta as President of the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP).

Of Yup’ik ancestry, Myron Naneng serves the peoples of the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta as President of the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP).

Known as one of Gov. Sarah Palin’s harshest critics in rural Alaska, Myron Naneng wondered if some honest-to-goodness ribbing would come his way in the aftermath of Palin’s stunning resignation announcement earlier this month.

“Many people have jokingly asked if I (should) take credit for the resignation,” said Naneng, president of the Association of Village Council Presidents. “From people on the street to other locations (around Western Alaska), I haven’t heard any desire for (Palin) to stay on.”

Palin announced July 3 she would step down as governor and hand the reigns to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell on July 26. Palin said she did it because ethics complaints and politically-ambitious state lawmakers would keep her administration from getting any work done.

The news sent political and pop culture tremors around the globe. A few days after the announcement, Naneng talked from his Bethel office about his reaction and that of rural Alaska.

“Should I say hallelujah?” Naneng said. “What’s there to be broken up about?”

Poverty, high energy costs, and concerns about access to fish and game are the issues constantly swirling around residents in remote portions of the country’s largest state.

Naneng and AVCP recently organized a media tour of Western Alaska villages to showcase the lack of subsistence and commercial fishing in the area, days after Marshall fishermen defied authorities and illegally caught 100 king salmon.

“We didn’t call it a protest,” Naneng said. “It was fishing for food.”

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A Cry for Help from Rural Alaska ~ Where Is Sarah Palin?

Cold and Hungry, Here at Home in Alaska

Cold and Hungry, Here at Home in Alaska

Four days ago, a cry for help went out from rural Alaska via the Bristol Bay Times. Many of us have known that residents of Alaska’s rural villages are having a hard winter. The weather has been unusually cold this year, and prices of heating oil and gasoline have been astronomical. Add to that a disastrous collapsing salmon fishery in Bristol Bay that left residents in that area heading in to winter with less than usual, and you have the makings for a humanitarian crisis.

So in desperation, Nicholas Tucker, from the Village of Emmonak (eh-MON-eck) sent out a cry for help. With 21 days left in the month, Mr. Tucker had only $440 left to feed and keep his family of nine warm, with heating oil at $7.83/gallon. As Emmonak runs out of fuel, it will have to be flown in, potentially raising the price to $9/gallon or more. While contemplating his own plight, he wondered how many other families of the 800 living in his village were having similar hard times. So he sent out a message on his VHF radio, asking his neighbors how they were doing. Twenty five answers came. Here are a few: Continue reading

Gov. Sarah Palin’s Hand Seen in Battle Over Mine in Alaska; Everyone Ticked Off at Sarah (Video)

In an exclusive in-depth article by Michael Powell and Jo Becker for the New York Times, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s involvement and influence in the Bristol Bay / Pebble Mine controversy has left many Alaskans shaking their heads in dismay.

EKWOK, Alaska – Two years ago, Sarah Palin landed near this tiny native village and spoke of her love for the vast and starkly beautiful delta that drains into Bristol Bay.

“I am a commercial fisherman; my daughter’s name is Bristol,” said Ms. Palin, then a candidate for governor. “I could not support a project that risks one resource that we know is a given, and that is the world’s richest spawning grounds, over another resource.”

Many here took her words to heart. But as governor, Ms. Palin has helped ease the way for a proposed copper and gold mine of near-mythic proportions at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the world’s greatest spawning ground for wild salmon.

If state regulators give their approval, mining companies plan to carve an open pit that would rival the world’s largest mines, descending half a mile and taking as much energy to operate daily as the city of Anchorage. That prospect has ignited a war between Alaska’s two historic industries, mining and fishing.

Scientists and former state and federal biologists warn that toxic residue from the project, known as Pebble Mine, would irreparably harm a centuries-old salmon fishing industry that employs 17,000 and hauls in $100 million annually.

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Poverty Rates in Alaska: Alaskan Cities Prosper, But Native Alaskans are Left to Freeze

Contributing writer David Boston, writing for Suite101.com, examines the bleak future facing Alaska Natives in Governor Sarah Palin’s home state.

The Bush Administration has made tax cut after tax cut against Native Alaskan programs. Without funding for relocated housing, people could be literally left to freeze.

With a poverty rate of 10.0%, Alaska has the 11th lowest poverty in the United States, a position it shares with the state of Nebraska.

This is just slightly better than the poverty rate of Colorado, and just slightly higher than the poverty rate of Massachusetts.

Where the Worst Poverty in Alaska Occurs

The poverty in Alaska largely occurs on its west coastline and the Yukon-Koyukuk area (see map below article). This area is the most extremely rural area in the United States, meaning that the population density in this area never rises above an average of 0.4 people per square mile in any borough (county).

To put this population density into perspective, this is very much in contrast with Alaskan cities like Fairbanks, which fits 948.7 people per square mile. Or even New York City, which crams in an amazing 26,402.9 people per square mile.

The following Boroughs (Counties) are experiencing critical levels of poverty, defined by being at least 50% over the state average:

  • Bethel (20.7%)
  • Dillingham (17.6%)
  • Lake and Peninsula (16.6%)
  • Nome (18.2%)
  • Northwest Arctic (18.0%)
  • Wade Hampton (26.0%)
  • Yukon-Koyukuk (18.6%)

None of the three major Alaskan cities are experiencing critical levels of poverty.

Why the Worst Poverty in Alaska Exists

According to the United States Census, every one of the poverty-critical boroughs (counties) is home to a majority of Native Alaskans. While every borough not experiencing critical levels of poverty except for one, North Slope, is home to a majority of white residents. All three of Alaska’s major cities are the same way.

This extreme isolation makes it hard for people living in these remote rural areas of Alaska to obtain valuable information, health care, employment, and education.

The isolation of the region makes it an unattractive place to set up a business or industry for anyone who isn’t there to drill oil. Many teachers and health care professionals may also think twice before taking a job in a small town of the rural arctic.

All of this aside, it is important to keep in mind that the reasons for poverty are as unique as the individuals who live through it. Though finding trends in a specific area is important, no generalization can account for everyone.

What is Being Done about Poverty in Alaska

Unfortunately, more is being done to worsen the poverty situation in the critical poverty areas of Alaska then is being done to help it.

According to the Alaska Federation of Natives, the Bush Administration has just cut funding for several key Alaskan Native educational programs out of the FY 2009 budget.

The Even Start Program, which supports early childhood development in the most remote areas of Alaska, has been cut for 2009. The Alaska Native Education Equity Act, which developed a variety of culturally appropriate courses and strengthened early childhood education programs, has been cut for 2009.

And the Strengthening Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Programs, which established essential partnerships with regional organizations and businesses, have been cut for 2009.

Not only that, but housing programs have been cut, and the Native Alaskan calls for assistance in erosion-reduction and relocation costs have fallen on deaf ears. Since many Native villages are on the western coast of Alaska, this means a lot to them.

The future well-being of Alaskans living in poverty will seem to depend jointly on the willingness of others to lend them their voices, and the ability of their government to listen.

Poverty Rates in Alaska: Alaskan Cities Prosper, But Native Alaskans are Left to Freeze

Sarah Palin: Positions on Civil Rights

Sarah Palin Civil Rights Positions

Non-support of anything but traditional marriage

Q:  Do you support, as they do in Alaska, granting same-sex benefits to couples?

BIDEN:  Absolutely positively.  Absolutely no distinction from a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple. That’s only fair.

Q:   Would you support expanding that beyond Alaska to the rest of the nation?

PALIN:  Well, not if it goes closer and closer towards redefining the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman.  And unfortunately that’s sometimes where those steps lead. I don’t support defining marriage as anything but between one man and one woman, and I think through nuances we can go round and round about what that actually means. I’m being as straight up with Americans as I can in my non- support for anything but a traditional definition of marriage.

Q:  Let’s try to avoid nuance. Do you support gay marriage?

BIDEN:  No. We do not support that. That is a decision to be able to be left to faiths.

PALIN:  My answer is the same as his and it is that I do not.

Source: 2008 Vice Presidential debate against Sen. Joe Biden Oct 2, 2008

I’m a feminist; equal rights for women

Q:  Do you consider yourself a feminist?

A:  I do. I’m a feminist who believes in equal rights and I believe that women certainly today have every opportunity that a man has to succeed and to try to do it all anyway. And I’m very, very thankful that I’ve been brought up in a family where gender hasn’t been an issue.

Q:  What is your definition of a feminist?

A:  Someone who believes in equal rights. Someone who would not stand for oppression against women.

Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric Sep 30, 2008

Equal pay for equal work; but not Ledbetter Act

Q:  Where do you stand on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act?

A:  I’m absolutely for equal pay for equal work. The Ledbetter pay act — it was gonna turn into a boon for trial lawyers who, I believe, could have taken advantage of women who [would] allege discrimination many, many years ago. Thankfully, there are laws on the books, there have been since 1963, that no woman could be discriminated against in the workplace in terms of anything, but especially in terms of pay. So, thankfully we have the laws on the books and they better be enforced.

Q: Why should a fear of lawsuits trump a woman’s ability to do something about the fact that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes?

A: There should be no fear of a lawsuit prohibiting a woman from making sure that the laws that are on the books today are enforced. I know in a McCain-Palin administration we will not stand for any measure that would result in a woman being paid less than a man for equal work.

Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric Sep 30, 2008

Hillary put 18 million cracks in glass ceiling

I think Sen. Clinton showed a lot of determination and stick-to-itiveness in her campaigns and I have to respect that. I don’t have to agree with all that she tried to push through and parts of her agenda. In fact, I don’t agree with all of it. But there are some things that Hillary Clinton did that nobody can take away from her. And that is the 18 million cracks that she put there in that highest and hardest glass ceiling in America’s political scene. She was able to affect that and I respect that.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview on “Hannity & Colmes” Sep 17, 2008

Would like support from women’s groups, but won’t woo them

Q:  Why do you think that some prominent women’s groups have not supported you? You’ve even been attacked by some of them.

A:  I don’t know, that’s their prerogative though. Again, this campaign is about very important issues that are not necessarily gender specific. Certainly, I would love to have their support, but I’m not going to change my positions in order to try to woo them over. Don’t have time to do that. We’re moving forward on a ticket of reform.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview on “Hannity & Colmes” Sep 17, 2008

Vetoed bill denying benefits to gays, as unconstitutional

Ms. Palin said she supported Alaska’s decision to amend its Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. But she used her first veto as governor to block a bill that would have prohibited the state from granting health benefits to same-sex partners of public employees. Ms. Palin said she vetoed the bill because it was unconstitutional, but raised the possibility of amending the state Constitution so the ban could pass muster.

Source: New York Times, pp. A1 & A10, “An Outsider Who Charms” Aug 29, 2008

ADA brings expanded freedom to Americans with disabilities

  • WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is one of the most compassionate and successful civil rights laws in American history. In the 18 years since the ADA was signed into law, more people with disabilities are participating fully in our society than ever before.
  • WHEREAS, for the last 18 years the ADA has sought to ensure that people with disabilities are respected as equal citizens with equal opportunities: to access inclusive education, achieve gainful employment, and fully participate in the recreational, leisure, and social activities of our communities.
  • NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sarah Palin, Governor of the state of Alaska, do hereby proclaim July 26, 2008, as 18th Anniversary of the ADA in Alaska, and encourage public officials, business leaders, people with disabilities, and all Alaskans to pursue the ADA’s full promise of equal opportunity and to celebrate the expanded freedom that the ADA has brought to our way of life.

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Proclamation, “ADA” Jul 28, 2008

Recognized Juneteenth 2008 to celebrate the end of slavery

  • WHEREAS, Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the ending of slavery–the oldest celebration of its kind. Its roots go back to June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the war’s end and that all slaves were now free. That news took two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official January 1, 1863.
  • WHEREAS, today, Juneteenth is a day, a week, and in some areas, a month that is set aside to celebrate African American freedom.
  • WHEREAS, in cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities, & religions are joining together to celebrate this extremely important historical event.
  • NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sarah Palin, Governor of the state of Alaska, do hereby proclaim June 21, 2008, as Juneteenth Day in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to reflect on the importance of this celebration, and encourage citizens to take part in the events taking place in your communities.

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Proclamation, “Juneteenth” Jun 17, 2008

HIV/AIDS among Alaska Natives is public health crisis  

  • WHEREAS, American Indians and Alaska Natives have experienced a long history of a lower health status, which includes a lower life expectancy and higher disease occurrence than other racial/ethnic groups due to inadequate health education, disproportionate poverty, discrimination in the delivery of health care services, and access to quality health care.
  • WHEREAS, the spread of HIV/AIDS virus among American Indians & Alaska Natives poses a significant risk to the public health and well-being of these communities.
  • WHEREAS, the status of HIV/AIDS epidemic among American Indians & Alaska Natives is a public health crisis that requires a focused national effort as well as tribal effort to bring attention to the prevention needs of Indigenous people.
  • NOW THEREFORE, I, Gov. Sarah Palin, do hereby proclaim March 20, 2008, as: Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in Alaska, and ask the residents of Alaska to observe this day with appropriate programs and activities.

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Proclamation, “Native HIV” Mar 4, 2008

Recognized Martin Luther King holiday

  •  
    • WHEREAS, as we observe the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we remember the dream of a great man–an American hero–and his message of social change through nonviolence.
    • WHEREAS, Dr. King dedicated his life to empowering people, no matter their circumstances, and challenged them to lift up their neighbors and communities. He broke down barriers within our society by encouraging Americans to look past their differences and refused to rest until our Nation fulfilled its pledge of liberty & justice for all.
    • WHEREAS, Alaskans will join volunteers across the nation who will celebrate Dr. King’s life & teachings by converting the holiday into a day of service, dedicated to meeting community needs.
    • WHEREAS, yet more work remains In the words of Dr. King, “We will not be satisfied until ‘justice rolls down like waters & righteousness like a mighty stream.'”
    • NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gov. Sarah Palin, do hereby proclaim Jan. 21, 2008, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Alaska.

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Proclamation, “MLK Day” Jan 14, 2008

Comply with same-sex partner benefits despite disagreement

Governor Sarah Palin today announced that, per the recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Alaska, the State of Alaska’s regulations are in effect to begin providing state benefits to same sex partners beginning January 1, 2007. “The Supreme Court has ordered adoption of the regulations by the State of Alaska to begin providing benefits January 1,” said Governor Palin. “We have no more judicial options. We may disagree with the rationale behind the ruling, but our responsibility is to proceed forward with the law and follow the Constitution.”

In addition to adoption of the regulations, Governor Palin signed HB4002 today, which calls for a statewide advisory vote, proposed by the Legislature during its November special session. “I disagree with the recent court decision because I feel as though Alaskans spoke on this issue with its overwhelming support for a Constitutional Amendment in 1998 which defined marriage as between a man and woman. But the Supreme Court has spoken and the state will abide.

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Press release 06-012, “Same Sex” Dec 20, 2006

Marriage only be between and man and a woman

I am pro-life and I believe that marriage should only be between and man and a woman. I am opposed to any expansion of gambling in Alaska.

Source: Campaign website, http://www.palinforgovernor.com, “Issues” Nov 7, 2006

Value our cultural diversity

Sarah Palin and Sean Parnell are a New Team with New Energy for Alaska who value our cultural diversity and will provide opportunities for all Alaskans.

Source: Palin-Parnell campaign booklet: New Energy for Alaska Nov 3, 2006

Prefers term “anti-rural” to “anti-Native”

Things got ugly in the final round when former state Sen. Georgianna Lincoln called in, steamed about a first-round jab aimed at Knowles. Near the beginning of the debate, a caller had asked Knowles about a flier circulating in rural Alaska that describes Palin as “anti-Native.” When Knowles denied such a flier, Palin told the caller: “I think you’re referring to the anti-Native e-mails” being sent by paid Knowles staff members. She mentioned Lincoln, who doesn’t work for Knowles, by name.

When challenged by Lincoln, Palin changed her description of the e-mails from “anti-Native” to “anti-rural.”

“You’re changing your story right now!” Knowles said, tasting blood. The hour ended with Knowles saying Palin owed Lincoln an apology.

Source: Alaska 2006 Governor Debate: ADN coverage of radio debate Nov 3, 2006

Special legislative session on same-sex health benefits

Asked about Gov. Frank Murkowski’s call for a special legislative session on same-sex health benefits, Knowles said the session is unnecessary. But Palin said the question was not simply about health care benefits, it was an extension of voters’ definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

Source: Alaska 2006 Governor Debate: AP coverage of public TV debate Nov 3, 2006

Ok to deny benefits to homosexual couples

Here’s what Sarah Palin has to say about same-sex marriage. Palin said she’s not out to judge anyone and has good friends who are gay, but that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment.

Elected officials can’t defy the court when it comes to how rights are applied, she said, but she would support a ballot question that would deny benefits to homosexual couples. “I believe that honoring the family structure is that important,” Palin said. She said she doesn’t know if people choose to be gay.

Source: Anchorage Daily News, “Little play,” by K. Hopkins Aug 6, 2006

No spousal benefits for same-sex couples

Q: Do you support the Alaska Supreme Court’s ruling that spousal benefits for state employees should be given to same-sex couples?

A: No, I believe spousal benefits are reserved for married citizens as defined in our constitution.

Source: Eagle Forum 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire Jul 31, 2006

Top priorities include preserving definition of “marriage”

Q: In relationship to families, what are your top three priorities if elected governor?

A:  1. Creating an atmosphere where parents feel welcome to choose the venues of education for their children.
     2. Preserving the definition of “marriage” as defined in our constitution.
     3. Cracking down on the things that harm family life: gangs, drug use, and infringement of our liberties including attacks on our 2nd Amendment rights.

Source: Eagle Forum 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire Jul 31, 2006

Palin’s Rural Adviser Quits Over Alaska Native Record

Rhonda McBride, Alaska Rural Adviser

Rhonda McBride, Alaska Rural Adviser

Rhonda McBride, the rural adviser for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin resigned this morning stating she thought it would be helpful to have an Alaska Native in the position.  McBride, who is not an Alaskan Native, said she never “felt authentic” in her role as the rural adviser; she plans to now return to her previous career as a journalist.  Although Alaska Natives represent 20% of the population, Gov. Palin left the rural adviser position unfilled for the first year of her administration, dispute suggested candidates by Alaska Native leaders.  Gov. Palin has been accused of insensitivity in her lack of hiring Alaska Natives in key governmental positions. 

JUNEAU, Alaska – Gov. Sarah Palin’s rural adviser resigned Monday amid criticism of the governor’s record on hiring Alaska Natives.

Rhonda McBride, who is not an Alaska Native, made the announcement in an e-mail to several Native leaders, saying there need to be more Native voices in Palin’s administration.

“I definitely think it would help to have an Alaska Native in this position,” McBride told The Associated Press.

Many Alaska Natives have said they felt neglected when Palin, now the Republican vice presidential nominee, made appointments to her administration, including the rural adviser post.

State Sen. Al Kookesh, a Democrat, said Palin left the position unfilled her first year in office and ignored Native leaders’ suggestions on the selection process.

“We were really disappointed when an Alaska Native wasn’t appointed,” said Kookesh, a Tlingit Indian who held the job in a previous administration.

Natives bristled early in Palin’s administration when she named a white woman to a game board seat held by a Native for more than 25 years. An Athabascan Indian eventually was named to the post after protests.

Relations worsened after Palin didn’t remove a game board chairman who once suggested that Alaska Natives missed a meeting because they were drinking beer, seen as insensitive since the Alaska Native community has high rates of alcohol abuse.

Alaska Natives make up about 20 percent of the population.

Palin’s husband, Todd, is part Yup’ik Eskimo, and her 13-member cabinet includes two Alaska Natives.

“In all honesty, I have never felt authentic in my role,” McBride wrote in her e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by the AP.

McBride, who covered rural issues as a reporter before becoming rural adviser last year, said she would return to journalism to help bring attention to Native issues.

She said her last day would be Oct. 23.

Palin’s Rural Adviser Quits Over Alaska Native Record

In a related KTUU Channel 2 News story from December 7, 2007, Rhonda McBride was a reporter for the Alaskan television station, covering the rural Alaska news beat, before being appointment by Gov. Sarah Palin to the position of rural adviser.  Not to disparage Ms. McBride, who genuinely appears to care for the Alaska Native population, but perhaps this means that in a Palin presidential administration, Sean Hannity of Fox News might be considered for a cabinet level post?

Saying Goodbye to Rhonda McBride

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — On Friday Channel 2 News said so long, but not goodbye to a colleague who has made a big difference in the lives of many Alaskans.

At this time last year, Rhonda McBride was checking on the welfare of the villagers in Hooper Bay after a devastating fire.

In her eight years here at Channel 2, Rhonda has reported uncounted stories with a unique sense of style and an eye toward detail.

But it is her work in rural Alaska that set her apart, winning numerous national awards.

It was Rhonda’s groundbreaking work on the value of dental therapists in bush Alaska that helped eventually lead to an agreement with the American Dental Association.

Viewers have told us her current series on coping with diabetes has helped a immensely.

Rhonda’s passion for rural Alaska did not go un-noticed. She has been hired to be the governor’s principal liaison for rural Alaska and those of us in the newsroom cannot think of a better choice.

From time to time you might see her on special assignment for Channel 2.

So until we see you again Rhonda, Thank you.

And best of luck in your new job.

Canadian Mining Firms Downplay Report They Gave Palin Gifts, but Flew Todd Palin on Their Corporate Planes to Mine Sites

The Washington Post newspaper reported this week that Sarah Palin had accepted $25,367 in gifts, including from companies with Alaska mining interests.

The Washington Post newspaper reported this week that Sarah Palin had accepted $25,367 in gifts, including from companies with Alaska mining interests.

Journalist Suzanne Fournier of Canwest News Service reports on alleged gifts given to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin by Canadian mining companies in an article published by Canada.com on September 30, 2008.  One of the interesting points mentioned were the air flights taken by Todd Palin, most of which were paid for by the mining firms, up for Todd to view the mining sites, NOT the Alaskan governor herself.  After Todd Palin’s trips with company executives, Governor Sarah Palin came out against Prop. 4, the ballot initiative intended to reduce toxic runoff from the copper and gold mines into the ecologically fragile waters of Bristol Bay.  Gov. Palin’s opposition to the safety measure was widely believed to have influenced voters into defeating the ballot proposal in favor of the mining concerns.

Several Vancouver-based mining companies are downplaying a report they had given gifts to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband.

The Washington Post newspaper reported this week that Palin, the Republican vice-presidential candidate who pushed through her state’s ethics reform bill aimed at corrupt “old-boy” politics, had accepted $25,367 in gifts, including from companies with Alaska mining interests.

“I read the Washington Post stories on Gov. Palin and we did check into our role and determined that there was no money contributed to her campaign at any level, nor have we provided gifts to the governor,” said Sean Magee, the vice-president of public affairs at Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.

“We were quite frankly flummoxed by any reference of us making donations to her,” said Magee. “We’re a Canadian company and there are strict rules in the U.S. about political contributions.”

Northern Dynasty owns the Pebble Mine copper and gold deposit in southwestern Alaska in a 50-50 share with the Anglo-American consortium and a separate corporate entity has been created in Alaska to develop the Pebble site.

“We did, however, purchase a table at the governor’s inaugural celebration, because it was a state celebration.”

A spokesman for Vancouver-based NovaGold Resources Inc. said that its contribution was limited to allowing Todd Palin to fly in to the Donlin Creek gold minesite with government officials. The Alaska mine is under development with Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp.

“The only way you get in to the mine is by flying,” said Greg Johnson, the NovaGold spokesman.

“I gather Todd Palin has a strong interest in rural and Native American employment and development,” said Johnson, who said that Palin “has also paid for some trips out of his own pocket.”

Johnson said Palin “is part Native American I know,” but said Palin’s only role “was as the governor’s husband.” Johnson added that “native politics, business and community interests are all intermingled in Alaska.”

Teck Cominco spokesman Doug Horswill, whose Vancouver-based company is developing the Red Dog mine, said that his company’s contribution was also limited to free flights for Todd Palin.

“I don’t know in exactly what capacity Gov. Palin’s husband Todd was acting, but we took him along on a flight to the mine, which we do when we have empty seats on a plane,” said Horswill.

Todd Palin, whose mother is a quarter Yup’ik, is a union member who worked in the North Slope oil fields of Alaska for 18 years and also works as a commercial salmon fisherman at Bristol Bay, close to the site of the proposed Pebble mine.

The Washington Post newspaper is reporting mining interests contributed heavily to Palin since she became governor three years ago and among those said to have provided benefits are three Vancouver-based companies.

It’s alleged that Palin personally accepted gifts totalling $25,367 from mining interests, including a $2,200 ivory puffin mask from Matthew Nicolai, president of an American native-owned for-profit corporation called Calista that owns land on which mining companies want to do business.

Mining and environmental interests together spent $10 million fighting a ballot initiative which sought to tighten up discharge by mines into Alaskan waters, primarily by the future Pebble mine into Bristol Bay. 

After Gov. Palin said she was going to “take my governor’s hat off” and come out against the ballot measure, it was defeated at the ballot box. Palin’s pitch on behalf of mining interests was heavily used in publicity ads.

The American Fly Fishing Trade Association and industry leaders took a stand against the proposed Pebble Mine.

The American Fly Fishing Trade Association and industry leaders took a stand against the proposed Pebble Mine with Prop. 4

Canadian Mining Firms Downplay Report They Gave Palin Gifts