Encouraging ongoing dialogue, the sharing of information, and continued open discussion as ways to advance issues and shed light on the unique challenges facing municipal, tribal, sovereign, rural and urban governance in Alaska.

The Alaska Governance Project is a North Star Group (NSG) initiative providing Alaska communities and people with information resources to increase understanding and knowledge about relevant policy issues, encourage increased communication, and help build healthy communities.

The tabs on this website provide links to the five distinct parts of the Alaska Governance Project, as described below.

The advocacy group Alaskans for Better Governance is leading a campaign to win voter approval for a ballot initiative in 2022 that would require the State of Alaska to recognize all 229 Tribes in Alaska that have status as federally recognized Tribes. An explanation of this issue, news stories, and supporting documents can be found here.

The State of Alaska and the sovereign Tribes of Alaska have engaged in a long-running effort to define their relationship with each other. The status of the relationship has fluctuated from one Alaska gubernatorial administration to another. An overview of the history of state and tribal joint work and agreements, the Rural Governance Commission final report (1999), the Rural Governance revisited report (2014), additional agreements and reports, and supporting documents can be found here.

Recognizing that working together is beneficial for the citizens of their communities, especially when trying to stretch limited financial resources in both rural and urban areas, municipalities and Tribes have taken steps to formalize their working relationships. The agreements adopted to date—in a variety of forms—provide instructive examples for other municipal and tribal governments that wish to explore the possibilities for formal relationships.

A key highlight of the Alaska Governance Project is the work between the Municipality of Anchorage and the Native Village of Eklutna. From 2019-2021, members of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly initiated conversations with the sovereign Native Village of Eklutna (assisted by NSG in a consulting capacity) to draft an ordinance that formally recognized and established an official relationship between the municipality and the Tribe. The ordinance—which also recognized all Tribes in Alaska—was adopted on Jan. 14, 2021. Anchorage is only the second municipality in the U.S. to recognize Tribes through local ordinance. Through this website, NSG will track the ordinance’s ongoing implementation. The ordinance, background information, notes/minutes and video links for MOA-NVE joint meetings, and additional documents can be found here.

One way for the State of Alaska and Alaska’s Tribal governments to work together is through state-tribal compacts. The compacts, essentially government-to-government contracts, give the tribes the authority and potentially the funding to provide specific services to tribal members on behalf of the state government. Information on existing and under development compacts can be found here.
In working on this project, NSG has assembled a collection of reference documents and website links that directly address Alaska governance, as well as different and related aspects. The complete set of documents and website addresses (subject to updates and additions) can be found here.

North Star Group Initiative

North Star Group (NSG) navigates complex social challenges related to resource development and community self-governance across Alaska, the Arctic, and beyond. Through respectful, mutually supportive relationships founded upon collaboration, the NSG global network of professionals guide business, government, and organizations toward socially responsible and economically sustainable goals. As international interest in the Arctic has increased, NSG has expanded its operations to include other geographic regions. NSG team members are based in Anchorage, Alaska, Washington, D.C., Paris, France, and with global partner organizations across the world.