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Joaqlin Estus, KNBA - Anchorage

Joaqlin Estus is a reporter at KNBA in Anchorage.

Athletes Prepare For Native Youth Olympics

About 500 athletes from elementary through high school will be at the Native Youth Olympics, which kicks off Thursday in Anchorage.

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April 15, 2015

Investigating historical trauma endured by Native Americans, Alaska Natives

An Ojibwe woman and independent journalist Mary Annette Pember recently visited Alaska for a series of stories on historical trauma and Native American mental health practices. Pember says the troubled lives of Native Americans reflect their troubled history.

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March 24, 2015

State Senators Question Need For Water, Sewer Construction Dollars

State Senate Finance Committee members are going over proposed agency budgets one by one, looking for funds or programs they can cut. Thursday they questioned Department of Environmental Conservation officials, asking just how bad it would be to turn down federal dollars for water and sewer systems.

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March 23, 2015

State Asks Court for More Time on Adoption Case

The state on Monday asked the Alaska Supreme Court for more time in a case involving the adoption of a Yup’ik child, a case that tribes say will determine how the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, will be implemented in Alaska, and show whether Governor Bill Walker is serious about campaign pledges he made to work cooperatively with tribes.

March 16, 2015

Native Nonprofits Want State to Change on Adoption Case

All the regional Native nonprofits in the state, which represent most of the tribes in Alaska, have issued a joint statement asking Governor Bill Walker to change his position in the court case Tununuk II vs. the state of Alaska. They say Walker’s position will make it very difficult for tribal members to adopt Native children. The state says it’s only arguing for compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The case involves a Native child called Baby Dawn; her Alaska Native grandmother Elise of the village of Tununuk; and Baby Dawn’s non-Native former foster and now adoptive parents the Smiths of Anchorage. An Alaska Supreme Court ruling in December allowed the Smith’s petition to adopt Baby Dawn to override Elise’s stated wish to adopt her granddaughter.

March 11, 2015

AFN Asks Walker to Change Position on Adoptions

The Alaska Federation of Natives, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and a dozen regional Native non-profits are asking Governor Bill Walker to change his position in a case involving the adoption of Alaska Native children. They say the state’s position in the case Tununuk v. the state of Alaska erects barriers between tribal children and tribal homes.

March 10, 2015

Nearly $1 Billion Needed To Modernize Rural Sanitation Systems

Members of the Legislative Bush Caucus were told last week in a “Lunch and Learn” session on rural sanitation almost a billion dollars is needed to build, replace, and maintain rural sanitation systems. But, the gap between the level of need and funding is widening.

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March 2, 2015

Alaska Seeks Delay In Tribal Sovereignty Case

Governor Bill Walker’s administration is seeking a delay in a long-running tribal sovereignty case, saying it wants to form a working group to explore policy issues and potential alternatives to continued litigation. But the tribes’ attorney says the state’s request for a delay is just a ploy to get around its loss in court.

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February 10, 2015

State Transportation Commissioner Steps Down

State transportation commissioner Patrick Kemp has been ousted following his defense of the department’s pursuit of the Juneau access road.

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January 12, 2015

Anchorage Sets New Temperature Record

The city of Anchorage can claim a new record. The city did not see a temperature drop below zero for the entire year of 2014. The last time Anchorage residents saw a below zero reading was December 26, 2013.

December 31, 2014

Regional Subsistence Advisory Councils Having Trouble Filling Seats

Subsistence harvests are managed by federal agencies with input from local residents through regional advisory councils. Local residents aren’t stepping up to be on the councils.

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December 30, 2014
House sinking due to melting permafrost
(Credit kml.gina.alaska.edu)

Melting Permafrost Threatens Infrastructure, Homes

As we’ll see, the effects of warming temperatures on infrastructure can be costly and sometimes dramatic. In much of Alaska, bridges, roads, buildings, and runways have been built on permafrost. That’s soil that became frozen during ice ages from 400 to 10,000 years ago, and a few feet down is frozen rock-hard year around.

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December 17, 2014

Are Agencies Prepared for Effects of Climate Change?

As Alaskans grapple with the effects of a warming planet, they look to federal and state agencies to help with problems that are too big for an individual or even a community to tackle. But it’s not clear if statutes and regulations, and agency fundingare up to the task.

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December 16, 2014

Climate Change And Alaska Natives: Health

Alaskans have heard a lot about the effects climate change has had on land in the state, but new studies suggest it’s also having a big impact on the health of residents.

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December 15, 2014

Climate Change and Alaska Natives: Food

Wild foods are important to Alaskans, and especially to rural residents, but subsistence users and scientists say climate change is affecting wildlife populations, access to subsistence resources, and food preservation.

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December 9, 2014

Dementia Risk Increases With Age

Baby Boomers, like everyone else, know that avoiding tobacco use, watching their weight, exercising, and staying mentally active, contribute to longer life. However, researchers recently announced findings that show there may be a downside to living longer.

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December 1, 2014

Native Leaders Say Court Ruling Will Cut Off Native Children From Community, Culture

Native leaders say a Sept. 12th Alaska Supreme Court ruling in a case involving a Yup’ik child will cause higher numbers of Native children to be cut off from their families and culture.

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October 2, 2014
Greg Nothstine is second from left. (Photo by Joaqlin Estus, KNBA - Anchorage)

AK: Alaska Native Dancing Tradition

Over the past several decades, there’s been a renaissance in Alaska Native traditional dancing. KNBA’s Joaqlin Estus recently visited with one of the founders of an Inupiaq dance group in Anchorage, who told her about his personal journey toward tradition.

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September 26, 2014

State Takes Step Toward Recognizing Tribal Sovereignty

Until recently, Governor Sean Parnell, like his two Republican predecessors, and Governor Wally Hickel before them, used lawsuits, legislative initiatives and policies to dispute or diminish tribal authorities on several fronts. The Parnell administration now is taking a step toward acknowledging tribal sovereignty.

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September 18, 2014

Officers Say Searches, Civil Rights Must Balance In Fight Against Illegal Drugs

Alaska has ranked among the top 10 states in several categories of illegal drug use in recent years. Last week, participants at the “Reclaim Alaska: 2014 Substance Abuse Summit” hosted by the Aleutian-Pribilof Islands Association talked about the problem and ways to address it. Participants were also cautioned that civil rights must not be trampled in the process of stemming the flow of illegal drugs.

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September 15, 2014