U.S. EPA Administrator Regan Visits Igiugig in Bristol Bay

I waited 20+ years for an EPA Administrator to visit our village of Igiugig after many invitations. Michael Regan has literally traveled the world and rural U.S. He is blown away by our village, village leadership, ingenuity, and progressive ways of moving ahead with what we have. It took a lot of effort to make this happen. – Lydia Olympic, former Igiugig Tribal Village Council President

On August 29, 2023, EPA Administrator Michael Regan visited Igiugig – his first trip to Bristol Bay and his only stop in the region during his five-day tour of Alaska as part of the EPA’s Journey to Justice program.

Regional tribal leaders attended a tribal leadership forum* with the Administrator:

  • Lydia Olympic, Igiugig
  • Keith Jensen, Pedro Bay Village Council President
  • Alexander Tallekpalek, Levelock Village Council President
  • George Alexie, Nondalton Tribal Council President 
  • Fawn Silas, Nondalton Tribal Administrator 

The Igiugig community was invited to a local foods lunch with the EPA Administrator and representatives. Everything served at the lunch was grown or harvested in community, including grilled salmon and salads. Makuryat Yurartet performed an honoring song: Sayiit (our sockeye salmon). The Administrator and invited village leaders were given a lengthy in depth community tour. A smaller tribal leadership forum convened including the Igiugig Tribal Stewardship Office, boards of both Igiugig Tribal Village Council and Igiugig Native Corporation, and the Lakes Region Presidents, and the group had a meaningful dialogue with Administrator Regan. After the convening, AVF Partner and Program Director AlexAnna Salmon took Administrator Regan fishing and he caught the smallest mightiest trout in the Kvichak River!

"It was an immense honor to host the EPA Administrator in Igiugig, and to share the heart of Bristol Bay – the clean water, air, intact environment, and a way of life our tribes have worked so tirelessly together to protect. More importantly, it provided the opportunity for us to express our sincere gratitude to the administration for recognizing the value of this watershed to the United States and the world...and that we will continue working at every level to advance our efforts for a self-determined future." – AlexAnna Salmon, Igiugig Tribal Village Council President

Photographs courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Village of Igiugig is a small, self-sufficient, rural community in southwestern Alaska. Alaska Venture Fund works closely with Igiugig Village Council to create a prosperous future for the community by fulfilling its goals of sustainable social and economic development while carefully stewarding the lands and waters that support a subsistence way of life. AlexAnna Salmon is Igiugig’s Village Council President, and a Partner and Program Director of Bristol Bay Sustainable Communities at Alaska Venture Fund. To learn more about the work AlexAnna is leading in Igiugig, please contact her.

*Kokhanok Village was invited, but could not attend. UTBB was represented by member communities.

Published September 8, 2023

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