Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
Interior Announces Consultation Policy for Alaska Native Corporations
Office of the Secretary
Framework provides greater consultation role for Alaska Native Corporations in federal decisions affecting them
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Del Laverdure today announced a new framework for meaningful consultation with Alaska Native Corporations, the entities created by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) to receive land and monetary compensation in settlement of aboriginal land claims by Alaska Natives. The supplemental policy builds on the Departmental Tribal Consultation Policy, adopted in December, 2011, that launched a new era of enhanced engagement with American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes, emphasizing trust, respect, and shared responsibility with the 566 federally recognized tribal governments in forming federal policy impacting Indian Country.
Secretary Salazar is scheduled to visit Alaska this weekend where he will be in Barrow and Nuiqsut to meet with the North Slope community leaders and tour the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska which is managed by the Department.
“Interior respects the unique cultural traditions and values of Alaska Native people and the distinct relationship between the Alaska Native Corporations and the Federal Government,” Secretary Salazar said. “The new framework ensures meaningful consultation so that corporation officials are at the table and engaged when it comes to the matters that affect them.”
“Consultation is a deliberative process that aims to create effective collaboration and informed federal decision-making,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Laverdure. “This policy creates an opportunity for input from all affected Alaska Native Corporations. Federal consultation conducted in a meaningful and good-faith manner will make for better, more effective Departmental operations and practices.”
Congress has required federal agencies to consult with Alaska Native Corporations on the same basis as American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes. Representatives from Alaska Native Corporations provided input to the supplemental policy and emphasized the unique consultation challenges and opportunities in Alaska.
The supplemental policy announced today seeks to balance the legal requirement for federal consultation with Alaska Native Corporations while respecting the unique government-to-government relationship between the U.S. Government and federally recognized Tribes in Alaska and in the Lower 48 States. To the extent that the consultation process differs, Interior officials shall give due consideration to the important role of Alaska Native Corporations and the sovereignty status and right of self-governance of federally recognized Tribes.
The supplemental policy outlines improvements in the Department's consultation processes with Alaska Native Corporations and complements existing policies that guide consultation processes with Indian Tribes. Interior bureaus and offices will seek and promote cooperation, participation, and efficiencies between agencies with overlapping jurisdiction, special expertise, or related responsibilities regarding a Departmental Actions with Alaska Native Corporations implications.
Departmental Actions include any regulation, rulemaking, policy, guidance, legislative proposal, grant funding formula changes or operational activity that may have a substantial direct effect on an Alaska Native Corporation, including Corporation land, water areas, or resources; as well as any activity impacting the ability of an Alaska Native Corporation to participate in Departmental programs. Departmental Actions do not include matters that are in litigation or settlement negotiations, or matters for which a court order limits the Department's discretion to engage in consultation.
ANCSA authorized Alaska Natives to select and receive title to 44 million acres of public land in Alaska, as well as approximately $962 million in payments. ANCSA established a statewide organizational structure to facilitate land title and cash payment transfers to Alaska Natives. The State was divided into twelve geographic regions, each commensurate with an existing “Native Association” composed of Alaska Natives with common heritage and shared interests. The Act authorized regional corporations and village corporations to hold and manage the lands.
Alaska Natives who enrolled in these associations were made shareholders of the 12 corresponding regional corporations and of over 200 village corporations through privately held shares of corporation stock. A 13th regional corporation later was added to represent non-resident Alaska Natives.
The Department of the Interior Policy on Consultation with Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporations is available here.