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Law School Project Aims to Support Economic Systems in Select Alaskan Villages, U.S. Reservations

Posted on May 7, 2010 in: Academics, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Service, Students
The pilot project will bring together Alaska Native and American Indian leaders with academic leaders from Gonzaga Law School and students in a joint effort to analyze economic issues. photo credit: Jennifer Raudebaugh

The pilot project will bring together Alaska Native and American Indian leaders with academic leaders from Gonzaga Law School and students in a joint effort to analyze economic issues. photo credit: Jennifer Raudebaugh

SPOKANE, Wash.  – The Gonzaga University School of Law’s Institute for Development of Economic Policy for Indigenous People announced today it is launching a three-year pilot project to invigorate and support sustainable economic systems within select Alaska Native villages and American Indian reservations.

Professor Jay Kanassatega serves as director of the Institute and is an assistant professor at Gonzaga Law School.

Professor Jay Kanassatega serves as director of the Institute and is an assistant professor at Gonzaga Law School.

The pilot project will bring together Alaska Native and American Indian leaders with academic leaders from Gonzaga Law School and students in a joint effort to study and analyze economic issues. Partners include Eklutna, Inc., the indigenous people of Anchorage called the Dena ‘ina, the Native village of Eklutna, the Alaska Peninsula Corporation and its associated traditional governments, and two other Alaska village corporations. In addition, three Pacific Northwest American Indian tribes will be participants.

The pilot project will focus on the study and analysis of economic and other policy issues identified by participants and the assessment of whether public policy and the rule of law could provide a foundation to support economic activity for Alaska Natives and American Indian people.

The Institute was created in March of 2009 with a mission to advance the sovereign interest of native and other indigenous people in Indian Country, including Alaska and Hawaii and the Reserves of the First Nations in Canada. The Institute aims to advance the sovereign interests of native and other indigenous peoples, including their fundamental right to self-determination through development of culturally focused public policies.

The pilot project is believed to be the first concerted, joint traditional and academic effort to address economic conditions in Alaska Native villages and on Indian reservations using public policy and the rule of law as a foundation.

Professor Jay Kanassatega serves as director of the Institute and is an assistant professor at Gonzaga Law School.  The Institute views the rule of law as foundational for building sustainable economic systems, effective and collaborative governmental and intergovernmental relations for indigenous peoples in Alaska and throughout the United States, Kanassatega said.

For more information, contact Professor Kanassatega at (509) 313-5791. For more information about the involvement of Eklutna Inc., please contact Curtis J. McQueen at (907) 696-2828.

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