Nick P. Andrew Jr. and William C. Andrew
Ohogamiut Traditional Council
October 06, 2009 at 8:04AM AKST
The Ohogamiut Traditional Council (OTC) as a federally recognized Alaskan Native tribal government opposes the citation issued on Jason Isaac for the protest fishing in late June.
On Sept. 30, 2009, two wildlife enforcement officers from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service flew into Marshall three months after the “Marshall Protest” occurred and ticketed Isaac, who serves as the OTC tribal president, and lone Marshall village police officer.
The citation was written for $275.00 according to 50 CFR 100.19 (g). Jason Isaac was the only person that admitted to the “illegal fishing” that prompted international media attention, high lighting the strong message of the dire situation our people are facing.
King salmon is our traditional and customary staple food source, and after a long hard expensive winter compounded by the energy crisis of 2008, we needed to get the message out that we will no longer sit idle and silent as another injustice happened at the hands of the state and key federal fishery managers.
One of the most important Yup’ik Eskimo cultural, traditional, and customary morals and beliefs encourages helping those most in need. Tribal Elder Paul Boots also firmly believes that no crime was committed, nor should anyone fight over a food resource that nature alone manages.
He said, “king salmon feeds us, and we should not fight over who gets to eat it."
Jason Isaac, who wants to get the message out that he is no criminal or a salmon poacher, stated, “I did nothing wrong, we helped those who could not provide for themselves, especially our elders, widows, and the disabled."
He further added that his citation should be “thrown out” based on the fact that the Pilot Station Sonar miscounted migrating king salmon this earlier summer, which affected both the subsistence and commercial opportunities during these trying times.
The OTC is requesting support and advocacy from the Native community of Alaska to urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to have the charges dismissed.
We also ask that all Alaskan tribal governments and regional nonprofit Native organizations revoke their working relationships with state and federal subsistence managers until this matter is resolved.
Subsistence is our God-given right that predates this nation and we must continue in our endeavors to preserve this right for those yet to be born.