April 27, 1998

For Further Information Contact: NARF, (303) 447-8760



BOULDER, CO – The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is pleased to announce that Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and NANA Regional Corporation have together pledged $43,500 to co-sponsor a two-year attorney fellowship in the Native American Rights Fund's Anchorage office. The ASRC / NANA Fellowship is part of a nationwide project that is specifically designed to facilitate partnerships in under-served communities among public service organizations and private sector corporations. The National Association for Public Interest Law and The Open Society Institute launched the fellowship initiative - the NAPIL Partner Fellowship Program - this past fall.

"This is a significant endorsement of NARF's work from two of the largest Alaska Native regional corporations," says John Echohawk, Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund. "We are honored to have their support and look forward to a successful fellowship that will directly serve our Alaska Native constituency." The Native American Rights Fund is currently recruiting applicants for the position and expects to select and announce the Fellow by early summer. The ASRC / NANA Fellowship, which will begin in September, will focus on Alaska Native sovereignty and subsistence protection issues.

Conrad Bagne, Chief Operating Officer of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation says, "As Alaska Natives, we are facing many challenges to our way of life and values. ASRC is proud to be a partner in support of this fellowship. It will help address some of the inequities that exist in our legal system by providing legal and advocacy services for Native people in Alaska. Our hope is that this partnership will also help foster and strengthen relationships between legal service organizations and Alaska Native corporations. This partnership honors our philosophy of cooperation and sharing."

Charlie Curtis, President of NANA Regional Corporation adds, "We are highly committed to ensuring that Alaska Native issues are at the forefront. The Native American Rights Fund is a vehicle that enables our voices to be heard and our rights to be defended for the benefit of all indigenous people."

The National Association of Public Interest Law is a national organization devoted to educating and preparing future lawyers to recognize inequities that exist in our legal system and society and to make lifelong commitments to use their legal skills and resources for the development of a more just society. The Open Society Institute -- an international grantmaking foundation funded by philanthropist George Soros -- is providing half the funding for this fellowship, along with several others nationwide.

The Native American Rights Fund is a non-profit organization that provides legal advice and representation to Indian tribes, individuals and organizations nationwide in the areas of: the preservation of tribal existence; the protection of tribal natural resources; the promotion of human rights; the accountability of governments to Native Americans; and the development of Indian law.