The AEWC is a not-for-profit corporation and a federally recognized Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization (IRS No. 92-0081760). As a tribal entity, the success of AEWC is made possible by funds provided through federal and private grants, as well as private donations, all of which assist with the daily operations of the organization allowing us to meet our mission. Following is a list of AEWC programs and iniatives that rely heavily on outside funding. For additional information on how you can contribute, please contact Jenny Evans at (907) 727-2585 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conflict Avoidance Agreement
The AEWC is the only Alaska Native Organization that works with offshore oil and gas developers to develop and refine mitigation measures in support of NMFS’ issuance of small take authorizations for offshore oil and gas activities in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The AEWC reviews draft small take authorizations and participates in the Open Water Season Peer Review Meeting. The AEWC is also responsible for development of the Conflict Avoidance Agreement (CAA), the key initiative in cooperation with industry to ensure mitigation of impacts of industry activities on subsistence whaling.
The AEWC began work on the CAA in 1985, with a goal of balancing development with our subsistence so that our subsistence resources and livelihood are protected, while our country and our communities receive the benefits of development.
The management of impacts from offshore oil and gas development that directly affects the subsistence hunting grounds of our villages is arduous work. It involves development and annual updating of the CAA, extensive collaboration with the industry and whaling captains, refinement of the Agreement, and implementation, all which take extensive time throughout the year.
Support for this initiative helps defray administrative expenses arising from the scope of work involved in the development and implementation of the CAA.
Weapons Improvement Program
A key part of the AEWC’s work is the Weapons Improvement Program (WIP). The program is key to AEWC’s fight to maintain its subsistence whaling quota. The AEWC is scrutinized closely by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) with strict mandates placed on whalers to utilize the penthrite projectile for a more efficient and humane killing of the bowhead whale. This effort does not come without cost. With the use of the penthrite, there are costs involved in refinement of the penthrite projectile and darting gun as well as safety standards, which must be met by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
Village Whaling Captains’ Association Needs
The eleven (11) whaling villages represented by the AEWC are among the most remote villages in Alaska, none of which are accessible by road. Many of these villages are based on a cash economy and are some of the poorest in the state, which makes them heavily reliant on the subsistence hunt of the bowhead whale to feed their families and communities.
The subsistence hunt does not come without cost to the whaling villages. It includes the use of equipment and tools, both traditional and non-traditional. Harpoons, darting gun, the penthrite projectile, block and tackle, and float coats are just a few of the items needed for a successful hunt. Additionally, climate change has presented new obstacles to hunters with the receding sea ice and the melting of ice cellars. Hunters must now change their approach to the hunt and look for new ways to store their harvests (often in the form of walk-in freezers), which do not come without costs to hunters.
Although AEWC receives grant funding for its operations, it does not often receive funding to assist the individual whaling villages. Donations to assist with the purchase of whaling equipment and tools can feed an entire village.
The AEWC hosts an annual Whaling Captains’ Convention and Open Water Season Conflict Avoidance Agreement (CAA) Meeting, often referred to as the Mini-Convention. It is attended by the Commissioners, Alternate Commissioners, and Presidents of the Village Whaling Captains’ Associations, each traveling from remote villages. Every six years, following the renewal of our bowhead whale subsistence quota by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the AEWC hosts a full Convention, attended by all of the Whaling Captains from our eleven (11) villages.
The Convention is an important facet of the AEWC’s continued effort to protect and preserve the subsistence way of life for our whaling communities. It gives whaling captains an opportunity to interact with each other, to learn from each other, to share information on hunting techniques, and to exchange ideas on meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing climate and a rapidly changing Arctic.
Each year the AEWC seeks donations to defray the tremendous cost of this undertaking. This is an event the AEWC cannot accomplish without financial support from partners throughout Alaska. Donations will help ensure the vital cultural traditions of our communities are continued for generations.
Johnny L. Aiken Memorial Scholarship
Johnny L. Aiken was the AEWC Executive Director from 2010 - 2013. He dedicated most of his life to public service and the betterment of his community through his work on the North Slope. It is in his memory that the Johnny L. Aiken Memorial Scholarship was established by AEWC so that his name and legacy of giving back to the community and passing along traditional knowledge to youth will live on for generations to come.
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