Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: March 19th, 2021

Free event to be offered virtually

March 19, 2021

(About the Lecturer) (Flyer)

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will host a free lecture next Tuesday, March 23, on state and federal subsistence regulations in Alaska and how population shifts are impacting how Alaska Native peoples can practice subsistence.

The lecture, Subsistence Hunting and Fishing in Alaska Under State and Federal Programs: Similarities, Contrasts and Demographic Patterns, will be given by James Fall.

In Alaska, state and federal laws establish a priority for customary and traditional subsistence uses of fish and wildlife over commercial, recreational and personal use harvesting. 

Under Alaska’s Subsistence Statute, the Joint Board of Fisheries and Game identifies “nonsubsistence areas,” where subsistence hunting and fishing are not permitted. However, residents of these areas may participate in subsistence fisheries and hunts where authorized elsewhere in the state.

Under the federal Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the Federal Subsistence Board (FSB) identifies “nonrural areas,” where residents of these areas are not eligible to participate in federally-authorized subsistence fisheries and hunts.

There are only minor differences between the boundaries and demographic characteristics of the nonsubsistence areas established by the joint board and the nonrural areas defined by the FSB. 

The population of nonsubsistence areas has grown markedly, and in 2019 held 83% of the state’s total population, up from 70% in 1960. In contrast, the population size of rural areas has been relatively flat since 1990.

In 1980, about 28% of Alaska’s population who identified themselves as Alaska Native lived in nonsubsistence/nonrural areas. However, by 2010, a majority (about 52%) of the state’s Alaska Native population resided in these areas.

“The presentation discusses some potential actions to address limitations on participation in subsistence hunting and fishing established by the current state and federal regulatory systems,” Fall wrote.

The presentation, scheduled for Tuesday, March 23, is part of a lecture series focusing on subsistence in Alaska Native communities and factors that impact traditional subsistence practices.

All lectures will be livestreamed at 12 pm Alaska time on SHI’s YouTube channel, and available for viewing on YouTube any time after the livestream (no account required).

This program is provided under the Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS) program and funded by the Alaska Native Education Program.

About the Lecturer

James Fall is a cultural anthropologist who was a program manager for the Division of Subsistence of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Anchorage from 1981 through 2020. He received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has authored or co-authored dozens of technical reports and papers on subsistence uses of fish and wildlife resources in Alaska.

In 1978, as a graduate student in anthropology, Fall began work with Upper Cook Inlet Dena’ina Elder Shem Pete, his son Billy Pete and other Dena’ina to record Dena’ina oral traditions. He is the co-author, with linguist James Kari, of Shem Pete’s Alaska, an ethnography that documents and discusses roughly one thousand Alaska Native place names in the Upper Cook Inlet area. Also, in 2013 he was co-curator, with Suzi Jones and Aaron Leggett, of Dena’inaq’ Huch’ulyeshi: The Dena’ina Way of Living, a major exhibition at the Anchorage Museum about Dena’ina culture and history. He also co-edited this exhibition’s catalog.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116,

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