"NANA, ASNA May Merge"

Tundra Times, September 2, 1966, p.5.


Kotzebue (Special) — A merge between two of the newest and most aggressive Native associations in the state may be coming.

Suggestions for joining the Northwest Native Association, which is headquartered at Kotzebue, and the Arctic Slope Native Association at Barrow were put forth at the Northwest group's recent meeting in Kotzebue.

Also, acting to solve problems of high food prices in the Northwest, officers of the new association are investigating the possibility of getting a Native-store warehouse in Kotzebue.

The warehouse would be large enough to supply native stores in the area and would act to prevent food shortages in the stores such as that which recently happened in Noorvik.

Prices would be lowered if food and supplies could be stored in large quantity, members of the association felt. The availability of foods would enable Native stores to open in communities where there are none.


One-hundred and ten people attended the two-day NANA conference in Kotzebue, the second held by the new association. Eleven out of 13 villages were represented.

Guest speakers included Don Perkins, OEO coordinator for the western Alaska area; Arthur Nagozruk Jr. of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and various political candidates in the western Alaska area.

Perkins strongly supported the idea of the NANA.

"NANA is a legal organization, and it could be the best thing that could ever happen in this area," he said.

"There are many laws on the books to protect you and the lands but many times these laws are not enforced. Quite often a law to get use of a law is to request its use, and when a group of people get together to ask for enforcement of a law, it always attracts more attention."

Perkins said many times more OEO money will go to an area where there are strong organizations because the people naturally seem better organized to use the money.

Strong organizations in Alaska help provide jobs and income for people, he said, such as with the canneries in the southern part of the state.

There, he said, people got together and worked for a cannery. They got them, and now there are some jobs available for village people in the summer fishing season.

Official delegates to the Kotzebue conference, those selected by their village councils, were Clarence P. Wood of Ambler, Daniel E. Kirk of Buckland, Isaac Thomas of Deering, Jack Jones of Kotzebue, Robert Newlin of Noorvik, Charlie Bailey of Noatak, Eugene Geffe of Kiana, Bob Hawley of Kivilina, Andrew Frankson of Pt. Hope, Jonas Ramoth of Selawik, and Gene Lee of Shungnak.

The first NANA meeting, drawing only six village representatives, resulted in the joint Northwest village land claim being filed.

The claim included 29 million acres of Northwest Alaska, including the mineral-rich Bornite area.

The second meeting was to establish evidence supporting the land claim. Village delegates were to be responsible for gathering information in their own areas—exact locations of old fish camps and hunting areas.

A third general meeting of the group is scheduled to be held sometime before October.

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