KYUK AM

YKHC Board Opposes Calista's Efforts To Form Regional Tribal Government

Feb 22, 2021

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation hospital in Bethel, Alaska.
Credit Greg Kim / KYUK

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation Board of Directors has issued a resolution opposing the formation of a regional tribal government. The board passed a similar resolution in 2014.

The resolution claims that a regional tribal government is not in the best interest of the health corporation or its 58 member tribes. It says that a regional tribal government would take away individual governing power from tribes and “consolidate power into the hands of a few.” The resolution also says that the diversity of the region’s tribes provides no basis for a regional tribal government.

The YKHC Board of Directors issued its resolution in response to the Calista Regional Native Corporation's efforts to create a regional tribal government. Last year, Calista issued a draft constitution, which it sent to tribes along with a draft resolution in support of forming this government.

A consultant for Calista said that a regional tribal government would help the region regulate large infrastructure projects, like the proposed Donlin Gold mine. Calista is working with Donlin Gold to develop the mine and owns the subsurface rights to the mine site. In 2016, the YKHC Board of Directors issued a resolution opposing the development of the mine.

The idea to form a regional tribal government has existed in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta since 1993, when local tribes gained federal recognition.