Story last updated at 6/5/2013 - 2:09 pm
HYDABURG - Hydaburg mayor Tony Christianson, Saanhl_K_ingwaas, accepted a national award for resource stewardship from the U.S. Forest Service. In a Washington, D.C. ceremony on May 14, Christianson received the inaugural Rise to the Future Award for Tribal Accomplishment for achievements in his role as natural resources director of the Hydaburg Cooperative Association.
Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Butch Blazer presented the award to Christianson in recognition of more than 10 years of sockeye salmon stock assessments at Hetta Lake near Hydaburg. Throughout this process, Christianson has striven to engage local tribal members in resource management efforts.
Under his direction, the tribe has engaged in projects that provide high-quality information to the Federal Subsistence Board, the U.S. Forest Service, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game for managing local fish and game resources. In addition, Tony implemented a study of annual subsistence harvest and use patterns for the community.
Under his direction, the tribe has since conducted several studies to collect, analyze, and document Traditional Ecological Knowledge important to the community. Over the years his program has resulted in improved information on subsistence resources and uses and has vastly improved relationships, cooperation, and coordination with the Haida people.
"Tony has a firm understanding of the natural and cultural environment of Hydaburg," said Cal Casipit, Subsistence Fisheries Biologist for the Forest Service Alaska Region and recent recipient of a similar national award. "He truly strives to find common ground between traditional ecological knowledge and western management practices to best serve his community."
Through his efforts to build a natural resources program, Christianson has helped to create numerous jobs as fisheries technicians and resource specialists in his community. Aside from the fish programs, the natural resources department of Hydaburg Cooperative Association now has full-time positions with crews who spend time collecting field data on stream habitat throughout the tribe's traditional territory.
Casipit stressed, "he is constantly engaging younger generations through education and on-the-job training, in hopes of retaining youth within the community."
In addition to his natural resources work, Tony serves as mayor of Hydaburg, leading efforts in environmental education, cultural revitalization, and community planning and building.