A group of concerned and committed Alaskans is releasing its report on rural governance this week. The report will be released during the annual meeting of the Alaska Municipal League on Thursday, November 20, 2014, during a concurrent session on rural governance. Copies of the report will be available during this session, to be held at the Hotel Captain Cook, in the Endeavor Room from 10:30-11:45 am.
Acknowledging that “rural governance is unfinished business” in Alaska, the group came together in December of 2013 to revisit and build upon the work of the original Alaska Commission on Rural Governance and Empowerment (RGC). The group—11 of the original commissioners and 40 committed Alaska leaders from across the state—agreed that the original 1999 RGC Report to the Governor could have been drafted either fifty years ago, five years ago, or five weeks ago. The Report outlines the findings and recommendations of the reconvened Rural Governance Commission.
As noted in the Report, the RGC participants called on the State of Alaska to officially and unequivocally recognize tribes as governments. Those gathered concluded that effective and meaningful governance for rural Alaskans requires a transformation in state-tribal relations, and outlined a series of strategic actions necessary to accomplish that shift.
The 2013 gathering was co-hosted by First Alaskans Institute and the North Star Group. Unlike the first commission, which was a state sponsored commission, this event was privately funded and self-initiated, reflecting the urgency felt by the participants that Alaskans must act to ensure rural communities have the recognition, support and tools they need to survive and thrive.
The Report includes personal commitments and clear strategic focus areas to spur discourse and policy action. In addition to the report, First Alaskans Institute is compiling the high-level recommendations of other commissions and reports into one comprehensive resource that outlines and further affirms the need to support local governance, tribal sovereignty and empowerment.
The RGC Reconvening Report, along with background and other resource material, is available on-line at www.ruralgov.org.