FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Glennallen, Alaska – Ahtna is pleased by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Katie John line of cases as part of the Sturgeon ruling. The Katie John decision has stood as one of the few protections of Alaska Native traditional hunting and fishing rights and today’s ruling helps defend how our people live and use the land and waters near our communities. This is a paramount issue for Ahtna and we are honored that the Court cited our amicus brief in protecting the Katie John decision.
Protecting our right to use our land, while also preserving the right of our people to live their culture and traditional lifestyle, is not only fair and proper, it is protected by the compromise Congress reached with Alaska Natives during the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). We would like to congratulate Mr. Sturgeon on his victory and thank him and all those that fought to ensure the Katie John decisions were not disturbed.
In 1980, the Wrangell St. Elias Park & Preserve was established by ANILCA and surrounds 622,000 acres of Ahtna’s original land selections under ANCSA (1971). Ahtna owns approximately 1,978 acres in the Denali National Park & Preserve. The Court’s decision regarding access is one we support.