Sovereign disasters: how Alaska's tribes participate in government-to-government relations in a post-disaster environment
AuthorPennington, John E.
ChairHum, Richard E.
John, Theresa Arevgaq
KeywordFederal Emergency Management Agency
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractAlaska's Tribes face complex challenges after disasters occur when contrasted with Native American Tribes in the continental United States. Federal disaster policies crafted under the Robert T. Stafford Act of 1988 were designed to streamline the coordination of disaster response and recovery for states, tribes, and local governments. These federal policies and their respective programs, though well intended, were conceptually designed to assist tribal governments and organizational structures most resembling those geographically located in the continental United States. They are not broadly applicable to the numerous organizational structures and distinct cultures of Alaska Natives today. In practice, most Alaska Tribes are required to work with and through the State of Alaska to fully receive certain programmatic benefits following federal disasters and, as a result, self-determination and tribal sovereignty are adversely impacted. This research questions the applicability of the Robert T. Stafford Act and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster policies when specifically applied to Alaska Tribes. It explores the role and impacts of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) on Alaska Natives when federal disasters occur, along with the potential long-term consequences for government-to-government relationships between Alaska Tribes and the United States, specifically FEMA. The findings and conclusions of this research will be instrumental to enhancing relationships between Alaska's Tribes and the United States when disasters occur.
DescriptionDissertation (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2023
Table of ContentsChapter 1: Introduction -- 1.1. Introduction -- 1.2. Indigenous studies and emergency management -- 1.3. Dissertation roadmap -- 1.4. Personal background and journey -- 1.5. Professional background: relationships with indigenous communities -- 1.5.1. Emergency management and Alaska Natives -- 1.5.2. State relationships with tribes -- 1.5.3. Establishing tribal emergency management -- 1.6. Research benefit to Alaska Natives. Chapter 2. Theoretical basis and definitions -- 2.1. Introduction -- 2.2. Policy making theories -- 2.2.1. Elite and group theory -- 2.2.2. Policy feedback theory -- 2.2.3. Institutional analysis and development framework (IAD) -- 2.3. Self-determination theory -- 2.4. Key definitions. Chapter 3: Background and literature review -- 3.1. Introduction: Alaska Natives and emergency management -- 3.2. Alaska Natives: cultural overview -- 3.2.1. Language and culture -- 3.3. Alaska tribes: chronology of legal basis -- 3.3.1. Early occupation and pathway to a western legal foundation -- 3.3.2. The transfer of colonization onto Alaska Natives -- 3.3.3. The treaty of cession and sale of Alaska Natives -- 3.3.4. The Marshall trilogy impact on Alaska tribes -- 3.3.5. Indian reorganization act of 1934 and Alaska IRA of 1936 -- 3.3.6. Alaska statehood and Alaska tribal sovereignty -- 3.3.7. The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) -- 3.3.8. Yellen v. Confederated tribes of the Chehalis Reservation (2021) -- 3.4. Emergency management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- 3.4.1. Emergency management -- 3.4.2. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) -- 3.4.3. FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) -- 3.5. FEMA policy, programs, and doctrine relevant to Alaska Natives -- 3.5.1. Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (SRIA) -- 3.5.2. FEMA tribal policy -- 3.6. Literature gaps: overview -- 3.6.1. Research gaps: Alaska tribes and FEMA -- 3.7. Alaska Native cultural context to disasters. Chapter 4. Methodology and methods -- 4.1. Introduction -- 4.2. Researcher positionality -- 4.3. Research design -- 4.4. Initial mixed methods approach -- 4.5. Transition to qualitative-only research -- 4.6. Methods -- 4.7. Participant selections -- 4.7.1. Alaska tribes and Alaska Native communities -- 4.7.2. Other participants -- 4.7.3. Native American tribes (outside of Alaska) -- 4.7.4. State and federal emergency management professionals -- 4.8. Introduction letter -- 4.9. Informed consent -- 4.10. Interview questions -- 4.11. Procedures and data collection -- 4.12. Data analysis -- 4.13. Alternative research consideration. Chapter 5: Findings -- 5.1. Introduction -- 5.2. Theme: relationships in the context of disasters -- Finding 1: The Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is viewed differently than FEMA -- Finding 2: Understanding how Alaska tribes and Alaska Native communities are organized will enhance the government-to-government relationship -- Finding 3: FEMA disaster grant funding informs the government-to-government relationship -- Finding 4: There has been a noticeable and positive increase in consultation, policymaking, and tribal relations that affect Alaska tribes -- 5.3. Theme: disasters are culturally experienced -- Finding 5: Disasters are statutorily defined but culturally experienced -- 5.3.1. The resurgence of Makah whaling -- Finding 6: Multiple disaster statutes, processes, and programs creates confusion for Alaska tribes and Alaska Native communities -- 5.3.2. Fisheries disasters: non-sovereign options -- 5.3.3. Tribal requests for fisheries disasters -- 5.3.4. Recent consultation and policy considerations: Magnuson-Stevens Act -- 5.4. Theme: FEMA's programs are rigid and bureaucratic -- Finding 7: Public assistance program rigidity and lack of cultural competence creates an illusion of sovereignty for most Alaska tribes -- 5.4.1. Kaktovik Village (Iñupiat): public assistance program eligibility -- 5.4.2. Metlakatla Indian community (Tsimshian): public assistance program eligibility -- 5.4.3. Akiachak Native community (Yup'ik): public assistance program eligibility -- 5.4.4. Public assistance program eligibility - summary -- 5.5. Theme: the Stafford Act is incompatible with ANCSA -- Finding 8: The Stafford Act unintentionally marginalized post-ANCSA tribes -- 5.5.1. Reconsidering ANCSA -- 5.5.2. Alaska Native community -- Finding 9: Disaster law and policy regarding village corporations may impact disaster response and recovery. Chapter 6. Conclusions, recommendations, and summary -- 6.1. Introduction -- 6.1.1. The government-to-government relationship -- 6.1.2. Subset questions of this research -- 6.2.Recommendation set: enhancing the government-to-government relationship -- 6.2.1. Recommendation: proportionally increase FEMA tribal liaisons dedicated to Alaska tribes and Alaska Native communities -- 6.2.2. Recommendation: establish dedicated disaster funding programs for Alaska tribes in a government-to-government manner -- 6.2.3. Recommendation: enhance cultural competence about Alaska Natives and Alaska Native communities. Create a standing Alaska Native languages committee -- 6.3. Recommendation set: disaster statutes, policies, and programs -- 6.3.1. Recommendation: amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act to modernize language regarding federally recognized tribes, including Alaska tribes -- 6.3.2. Recommendation: amend the Stafford Act to incorporate culturally experienced disasters -- 6.3.3. Recommendation: enact the Tribal Disasters Act for all federally recognized tribes -- 6.3.4. Recommendation: amend the Stafford Act and public assistance program to reflect Alaska tribes and Alaska Native communities in the post-ANCSA environment -- (a) Define Alaska Native community in disaster policy -- (b) Allow tribal disaster declarations to include neighboring communities --(c) Recognize Alaska Native Village corporations as eligible applicants in the public assistance program -- 6.4. Theoretical comparisons -- 6.4.1. Elite and group theory -- 6.4.2. Policy feedback theory -- 6.4.3. Institutional analysis and development framework -- 6.4.4. Self-determination theory and policymaking theories -- 6.5. Limitations -- 6.6. Recommendations for future research -- References -- Appendices.
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