This is how I envision an end game scenario to clans managing and defending their own territorial fishing waters. Hand in hand with or following the the development of a de facto Tlingit Nation, we could begin controlling and managing our own territorial waters.
The gang of illegal loggers could not but laugh when three forest officials equipped with sticks challenged them on a canal under Patkostha forest camp deep in the Sundarbans.
“Hush! Don’t even utter a word,” commanded the leader of the 13-member heavily armed gang. Tying up the foresters at gunpoint, they felled trees until their three boats were full of logs.
Before leaving, the gang locked the forest officials in the hull of the latter’s boat and released the boat on the canal. They floated for five hours until they were rescued by fishermen.
This is an instance of a gang, an entity not recognized as legitimate by the state, defending its territory against incursion and regulation by the state. Likewise, our clans are not recognized as legitimate entities by the State of Alaska or the US Government. Were we to reclaim this territory, we would likewise have to defend our terriotory against incursion and regulation by the state.
I don’t know to what degree these logging gangs harvest timber at sustainable levels so as to maintain a steady, reliable yield that will support the gang for generations. If and when our territorial clan waters return to our control, we will have the proper culture context, customs, values and habits in our tribal memories to self regulate a sustainable harvest of salmon and other sea resources. Those clans that don’t do this will find themselves with over fished waters and will be forced to invade neighboring clan territory to continue their existence. Of course, they will end up at war with their neighboring clans and likely at war with an entire coalition made up of clans that recognize the illegitimacy of the invading clans’ hostile behavior.
The article above also demonstrates how sustained violence is not the norm when it comes to this kind of clan/gang territorial-ism. Actually, logging gangs and state foresters find that making peace is a better solution.
As a result, they are left with no other choices but living in good terms with robbers and illegal loggers.
“We’ve an understanding with robbers and illegal loggers. If confronted, we show our departmental flag. They won’t harm us then. Actually, they respect us in a way,” said the rescued forester.
In reality, the foresters follow the rules of the criminals. Deep in the Sundarbans it has become a tradition that robbers use forest stations as a resting place while the foresters cook for them.
This peace, however, may be the result of weak enforcement, corruption, and a weakened government in Bangladesh. Still, the people of America, including we Tlingit, Native Americans and American Indians, will outlast the entity that is the United States of America. Other empires fell, such as Roman Empire, British Empire and USSR, all great superpowers in their time. So to will the United States of America fall one day. Whether it is costly wars abroad (we have been in a continuous state of on and off war for generations,) the collapse of the economy, peak oil, over population, corruption, or a thousand other factors, eventually the Federal Government will weaken. Our clans will be one of the many localized entities that fills the void.
Of course, another scenario leading to territorial clan property would be the Federal Government ceding management and ownership of Southeast Alaska’s waters back to us. I highly doubt this will happen. And lastly, let us not forget that their is plenty of room for white locals in SE Alaska to operate “clans” of their own. In fact, white lobstermen in Main have found a similar solution to managing their resources: Lobstering History From the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.