"Tanana Chiefs Vote to Join AFN, Discuss Land Claims"

Tundra Times, November 3, 1967, p.1, 7

One enlightening development at the Tanana Chiefs Conference in Tanana last weekend was when the Chiefs and delegates voted unanimously to join the Alaska Federation of Natives.

Tanana Chiefs is the first major organization to vote itself into working partnership with statewide native organization.

Fourteen resolutions were passed, including one with specific recommendations on the location of a U.S. Public Health hospital.

Other recommendations were made on land claims, regional high schools, Department of Rural Affairs, airport capital improvement program, legal aid, road construction, radio communications and other matters.

The first day of the conference was devoted mostly to health matters in which PHS officials took important parts.

Dr. Charles Nielson, deputy area director of the USPHS Alaska Native Health Area Office, told the conference that "we are not here to tell you or decide for you; we invite you to indicate to us your wishes and thoughts on health matters."

On the subject of a new hospital, Warren Griffin, chief of the Office of Program Planning and Evaluation, stated:

"We are not here to sell a decision; we invite you to share in, and assume responsibility for an important decision regarding the location of a new hospital facility for the Tanana Service Unit."

Various criteria utilized by the Alaska Native Health area staff were explained and discussed at length with the resulting possibilities:

1. That a new hospital would be constructed in Tanana which would continue to serve as a service unit headquarters. A health center would be located in Fairbanks with limited participation under Public Law 151, to an extent to be determined later.

2. Participation in a hospital, in the even Fairbanks builds one, with 40 beds under Public Law 151 with staff privileges for USPHS physicians and a health center in Fairbanks and Tanana.

These discussions resulted in the resolution in which the Tanana Chiefs urged that a new hospital be built in Tanana.

Galena, Huslia, Allakaket, and Ruby were proposed as sites for health stations while Fort Yukon would be upgraded to a health center.

The State Legislative Council, represented by Sen. Brad Phillips, chairman, Sen. Jay Hammond, Rep. Jalmur Kerttula, and Rep. Jules Wright, presented discussions relative to housing, employment, education, land claims and the possible establishment of the Department of Rural Affairs.

Sen. Phillips indicated that the Legislative Council would be preparing a $1 million housing bill for the next session of the legislature.

The last day of conference was a closed session during which land claims were discussed as well as the drawing up of resolutions.

During this time, the delegates and Chiefs were urged to begin preparations for land claim hearings that are expected to be held in Alaska soon after the adjournment of Congress.

The hearings are expected to be conducted by Senator Henry Jackson of Washington State.

Due to an illness in the family, Chairman of the Chiefs, Rep. John Sackett was called away. The conference was chaired by three men, Bob Moffitt, Ralph Perdue, and Alfred Grant.

Delegations to the conference were from the following villages, cities and towns: Fort Yukon, Stevens Village, Galena, Beaver, Rampart, Nenana, Nulato, Cantwell, Chalkyitsik, Minto, Fairbanks, and Tanana.

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