The Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) represents, supports and advances the creative endeavors of individuals, organizations, and agencies throughout Alaska. ASCA is committed to preserving and protecting Alaska Native peoples’ full artistic expression through customary, traditional and contemporary cultural practices an actively vital component of life throughout Alaska and a critical element of our state’s arts and creative sector.
In keeping with ASCA’s commitment to support and advocate for protection of Alaska Native artists and their artwork, ACSA submitted a resolution https://education.alaska.gov/aksca/pdf/ASCA_Resolution_Support_AKNativeArtists.pdf in November 2016 urging Alaska’s Congressional Delegation to take any and all steps necessary to ensure that Alaska Native artists’ creative opportunities and economic rights to use domestic walrus, mammoth and mastodon ivory as a primary creative medium or an incorporated material into artwork remain protected under already established state and federal law.
The legal rights of Alaska Native people to subsistence harvest marine mammals and Alaska Native artists’ rights to legally acquire and utilize byproducts of legal subsistence procured domestic walrus, mammoth and mastodon ivory to create tools, handicrafts, jewelry and artwork is a longstanding cultural tradition explicitly protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The recent passage of lower forty eight state domestic ivory bans negatively impacts Alaska Native artists who depend on the sale of their art as an important cash income source to support their economic autonomy and therefore their families and communities in a cash-limited economy.
ASCA is pleased to join the efforts of Alaska Native artists, arts advocates and cultural leaders to support Alaska’s Congressional Delegation and all others working to vigorously maintain and preserve Alaska Natives’ rights to create and sell artwork that includes domestic ivory which is procured from customary and traditional sources.