December 29, 2006:
TASSC Steller Sea Lion Biosampling Guide
TASSC Participates in First-Ever Alaska Native Arts Summit
TASSC Funded by ACF
Commissioner Changes

TASSC Steller Sea Lion Biosampling Guide
TASSC has been working hard with Alaska Native tribes and hunters to wisely manage Steller sea lions in Alaska. TASSC’s member tribes and Alaska Native hunters have continuously expressed their desire to assist with investigating the health of the species they subsist on. Notably, they wish to have the tools to make good decisions about their sea lion food. To assist them in making the best decisions, while also contributing to those that investigate the health of the species, TASSC, cooperating with the Native Village of Old Harbor, has produced the Alaska Native Hunters’ Guide to Steller Sea lion Biosampling.

The Steller sea lion health assessment datasheet, featured to the right, is the foundation of the guide. The guide details how to complete the datasheet and how to extract pertinent samples from the hunted sea lion. TASSC has also created a biosampling kit that is used in accordance with the guide. The biosampling kit includes tools to collect quality sampling, such as sterile blades, bags, powderless gloves and proper labeling information. This approach blends traditional/cultural knowledge with western scientific methods to contribute to determining the health of the species.

Not only will this health assessment and sample collection contribute to western scientific research, but some samples will be archived for future nutrient and contaminant analysis. TASSC hopes to collect meat, blubber and liver samples to answer the question, how healthy is sea lion food for me? In order to determine this, data about the hunted sea lion and the subsequent samples must be collected in a very systemic fashion, while being feasible to accomplish when out on the hunt. TASSC believes that this guide will be a useful resource for those hunters that wish to collect samples.

If you are a hunter or a governing Alaska Native tribe and interested in participation, or would like more information, please contact TASSC at 1.800.474.4362.

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TASSC Participates in First-Ever Alaska Native Arts Summit
On October 25th, the first Alaska Native Arts Summit was held at the Egan Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. Organized by the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and the Alaska Native Arts Foundation, the summit brought together a group of over 250 Alaska Native artists and arts organizations to discuss common threads, needs, and concerns.

Presentations were given by Mayor Mark Begich, summit leader Maria Williams, fiber artist Teri Rofkar, sculptor Ron Senungetuk, and Carmen Bydalek of the Alaska Native Heritage Center presented on the Alaska Native Arts Ford Foundation Survey Results. Yup’ik storyteller Chuna McIntyre performed during the lunch break.

Participants broke out into round-table discussion groups to address topics which included Intellectual Copyright, Counterfeit Art: Possible Solutions and Fair Trade Practices, Marketing Your Alaska Native Art, Alaska Native Art and the Next Generation, Collections Sharing and Repatriation of Native Art, and Regulations and Laws Affecting Sale of Alaska Native Artwork. TASSC was asked to participate as a discussion leader for the Regulations and Laws group. With Steve Tuttle, USFWS Law Enforcement, TASSC staff Donna Willoya provided information on how traditional customs and federal agencies’ laws work to conserve the various species used for Alaska Native handicraft. Also discussed were international limitations and their impact on the sale of Alaska Native art for artists as well as storeowners who sell the handicraft. The ESA 4(d) Special Rule, which aligns SW sea otter subsistence regulations with the rest of Alaska, was also discussed.

The Alaska Native Arts Summit was a successful gathering of Alaska Native artists and arts organizations from across the state. TASSC was honored to be involved in the Summit and hopes to participate again next year.

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TASSC Funded by ACF
At the end of October 2006, TASSC received notice that it had been selected for funding for the Alaska Conservation Foundation’s (ACF) Watchable Wildlife Conservation Trust grant. The Watchable Wildlife Conservation Trust is a donor-advised fund developed in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The purpose of the Trust is to fund those projects that emphasize non-consumptive use of wildlife, expand wildlife conservation efforts, and broaden public support for conserving Alaska’s wildlife resources.

In response to the need for more outreach-based education, TASSC will use this funding to create and distribute a guide on the current laws and regulations pertaining to sea otter and Steller sea lion. Updates will be provided as this project progresses in TASSC newsletters and on TASSC’s website.

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Commissioner Changes
TASSC would like to take this opportunity to thank John Lind, Bristol Bay Commissioner, for his service on TASSC Board of Commissioners. John was appointed to the Board in October 2005 and strongly advocated for his region. Thank you John, for your participation, time, and effort.

At this time we would like to welcome back Patrick Kosbruk, appointed by the Bristol Bay Native Association in October 2006 who joins Myra Olsen to represent his region. Patrick previously served on the Commission from 2002-2005. Patrick is a Commercial Fisherman residing in Perryville and is active on the Bristol Bay Native Association’s Board of Directors, Native Village of Perryville and Oceanside Corporation.

We would also like to welcome Michael See to the Commission, TASSC’s new Southeast Commissioner. He was appointed in October 2006 by the Southeast Alaska Inter-Tribal Fish and Wildlife Commission and joins George Ramos as representative for the Southeast region. Michael is a Commercial Fisherman from Hoonah and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Hoonah Indian Association, Tlingit and Haida Community Council of Hoonah, is Chair of the Icy Straits Advisory Committee, and is Chairmen of the Hoonah Marine Mammal Commission.

Since their appointments, Patrick and Michael have advocated for their respective regions and the sound management of sea otters and Steller sea lions.

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