Uqutengqerrtuci? ("Got seal oil?" in Yupik)
The Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission was organized in May, 1995. It is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization comprised of Alaska Native Lands Claims Settlement Act Regions and a consortia of tribes within the habitat range of the harbor seal off the coast of Alaska. It is a member of the Indigenous Peoples Council for Marine Mammals, and has a harbor seal co-managment arrangement with the National Marine Fisheries Service. Donations are tax-exempt, and can be made using this form.
ANHSC was centrally involved in Exxon Valdex restoration assessments, and maintains close stewardship of harbor seal populations through trained Local Research Associates, and annual Harvest Data Surveys. They are critical resources for research bio-sampling, and back current science with millennia of traditional wisdom.
As part of their Mission to protect harbor seal populations, the ANHSC has participated in the development of Federal Rules for cruise ships in Alaskan waters, as well as Approach Guidlines for glacial fjords for all visitors. Most recently, they have opposed potentially disruptive activities such as commercial hovercraft tours in sensitive areas.
Using modern social media such as Facebook, a new generation is learning the best of what their elders have always known.
Celebrating their 20 years as a Commission - and their countless centuries as a people - the ANHSC Chairman, Speridon "Mitch" Simeonoff, Sr. wrote in the Winter 2014 newsletter, "For the coming year and forward let's make this a better place for our children. Our ancestors made it better for us, Who are we if we do not try to make it better?"
Watch their Tsaa-Aani ("Seal Country") video, also available on DVD.