Indian Affairs | Subsistence Program

Subsistence Branch

What Is “Subsistence?”

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  • Subsistence includes the gathering, harvest, processing, consumption, and use of wild resources – birds, mammals, fish, and plants -- from the natural environments of Alaska

  • For some Alaska Native people, the term Subsistence is objectionable, as it means far more than the harvest of wild resources for bare necessities– they prefer the phrase “Our Way of Life”, as subsistence practices encompass the lifestyle of Alaska Natives, who have long relied upon the land to not only provide physical sustenance, but also to continue rich and diverse cultural traditions.

Federal laws governing subsistence uses in Alaska:

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  • Alaska National Interests Conservation Act (ANILCA) Title VIII provides priority subsistence use for rural residents of Alaska on Federal public lands.

  • The Bureau of Indian Affairs Alaska Regional Director is directly involved in implementing ANILCA Title VIII as a member of the Federal Subsistence Board. Our agency serves as the primary voice for Alaska Native people in this Federal responsibility.

  • Marine Mammal Protection Act

  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act

  • Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Act

–along with international agreements implemented through multi-national commissions such as the Pacific Salmon Commission and the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
The State of Alaska also has a law providing subsistence as a priority use of Alaska’s fish and wildlife by all Alaska residents. 

The Federal Subsistence Management Program

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The Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture have delegated ANILCA Title VIII responsibilities to the Federal Subsistence Board.

A description of the program is available at this link - US DOI Federal Subsistence Management Program

The 8-member Board consists of Regional Directors from five agencies—the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and the Forest Service, and three public members, one of which is the Chair. The public members represent rural Alaska communities. 

BIA Alaska Region Federal Subsistence Board Member

Mr. Weldon (Bruce) Loudermilk, Regional Director

BIA Alaska Region Subsistence Branch Staff

The Subsistence Branch has specialists, who serve on the Federal Subsistence Management Interagency Staff Committee and Technical Review Committee and provide technical assistance to tribes on subsistence issues.

Glenn K Chen, PhD, Subsistence Branch Chief.
Regional Fish & Wildlife Biologist

Patricia Petrivelli
Subsistence Anthropologist

FAX #: 271-1750
3601 C Street #1100
Anchorage AK    99503