Joaqlin Estus, KNBA - Anchorage
Joaqlin Estus is a reporter at KNBA in Anchorage.
A bill that would give tribes greater jurisdiction over substance abuse, domestic violence and other misdemeanors was passed out of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee last week despite objections from the state.
The sponsor of the Safe Families and Villages Bill, U.S. Senator Mark Begich, said the bill encourages tribes to work with the state of Alaska to develop agreements on tribal court jurisdiction. But he said it also gives tribes a way to take on added responsibilities through an agreement with the federal government.
Robert Sanderson is first vice president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes and was at the mining conference. He also is concerned that Alaskans don’t have legal standing to address Canadian mining.
It’s hard to use wind as a main power source because it fluctuates. But four small Alaskan villages have succeeded in creating an innovative wind-diesel system that works even in harsh, variable weather conditions.
State Attorney General Michael Geraghty testified before a legislative committee this week to respond to a national report that singles out Alaska for its high rates of violence against Alaska Natives, especially Native women. The Indian Law and Order Commission report was deeply critical of Alaska’s law enforcement and judicial system. But the state’s Geraghty says the Indian Law and Order Commission is trying to impose lower 48 solutions that won’t work in Alaska.
Under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, more than 200 village corporations were promised land in and around their communities. At a meeting of the Alaska Native Village CEOs Association in Anchorage this week, participants described the problems they’re encountering with the contaminated lands that were conveyed to them.
Tuesday, the State House Community and Regional Affairs Committee heard from several people about the sorry state of law and order for Alaska Natives. Legislators asked them why they think the state is the source of the problem, but the person in the best position to answer that question couldn’t make it to the hearing. The Attorney General had a scheduling conflict.
Studies show bullying is linked to a host of problems: vandalism, poor performance and absenteeism at school and work, increased school dropout and job turnover, anxiety, depression, and suicide. Now an Anchorage professor sees a link between bullying and substance abuse.
A national commission blames the state of Alaska for the epidemic of violence afflicting Alaska Natives, and has come up with a series of recommendations to strengthen tribal jurisdiction. The state Attorney General agrees there’s a public safety problem, but says the Commission’s solutions aren’t suited to Alaska.
Wednesday, three members of the Indian Law and Order Commission spoke at the Bureau of Indian Affairs Providers’ Conference to describe the findings of their report to Congress and the President, a report that singles out Alaska for criticism.
Some 60 tribal entities from across the country, including more than a dozen from Alaska, have written to ask President Obama to pay them long overdue contract shortfalls.
The bi-partisan Indian Law and Order Commission issued a report on Tuesday saying Alaska is on the wrong track to help Alaska Natives fight crime, but the state Attorney General says the Parnell Administration is doing a good job at tackling a mammoth problem.
It’s been almost three years since a tsunami hit the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, releasing radiation into the ocean. Computer models indicate the contamination will reach Alaskan waters this year or next. But scientists haven’t been able to regularly sample Alaskan waters to check radiation levels.
Alaska Native tribal governments are keeping their doors open, but worry about how long the federal government shutdown will go on.
The state has intervened in a case on the side of a man convicted of attempted murder, kidnapping, and assault of the mother of his children. At issue is the authority of a tribal court over a non-tribal member and tribal court procedures.
Suicide prevention was the focus of about 100 tribal representatives attending the 13th Alaska Tribal Leaders Summit in Anchorage Thursday and Friday. Alaska has the nation’s second highest suicide rate. In rural Alaska, suicide rates are four times the national average, and involve disproportionately high numbers of young Alaska Native men.
Governor Sean Parnell signed into law a bill last week that’ll put $35 million toward construction of residential housing with a sky-bridge to the Alaska Native Medical Center, a move supporters say will save the state millions of dollars a year.
A regional non-profit tribal organization is putting several million dollars into creating video games infused with Alaska Native values and culture. Cook Inlet Tribal Council is hoping to engage, empower, and educate young people… and to make money from what it says is the nation’s first indigenous-owned video game company.