As original and perpetual stewards of the marine ecosystem in Alaska and throughout the Pacific, Alaska Native and Indigenous peoples’ knowledge and leadership are critical to continued protection.
Wherever Indigenous leadership and final decision-making has been severed and removed from Indigenous peoples, there has been a wound that affects the entire ecosystem further amplified through institutions and beneficiaries that causes continued severing. We seek to end that separation and extraction by creating a new pathway for healing the ecosystem driven by Indigenous peoples; one cannot be without the other, one cannot heal without the other. To heal these places and peoples requires a unique partnership, focused on amplifying and backing Indigenous leadership.
We seek to build capacity for Indigenous stewardship efforts to protect and strengthen Indigenous peoples’ authority over oceans throughout Alaska and the Pacific and grow collaboration based on respect and partnership, not on the extractive relationships currently practiced with many government, research, industrial, and environmental organizations working with Indigenous peoples.
In addition to creating an Indigenous model for collaboration, we will examine other Indigenous success models and build a Pacific-wide collective of Indigenous people focused on Indigenous Self-Determination and Governance. This model will include, as a part of this partnership, the well-being of the ocean that can be replicated throughout the world. This work is part of a broader effort at FAI to uplift and advance Indigenous voices within stewardship of the sea and its protection. FAI will ensure that any such efforts are in fact desired by the Indigenous peoples of those areas so that no outside agenda is forced on them. This is a partnership to allow for better relationships and understandings to grow and to create spaces and forums for Indigenous peoples’ leadership to be centered. A space where decision-making over Indigenous homelands (including all within it) will be respected and amplified, even if that means that any outside agendas are not one of their priorities.