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Joaqlin Estus, KNBA - Anchorage

Joaqlin Estus is a reporter at KNBA in Anchorage.

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. Download Audio
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. Download Audio
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. Download Audio
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. Download Audio
December 30, 2014
Melting Permafrost Threatens Infrastructure, Homes

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. Download Audio
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. Download Audio
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. Download Audio
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. Download Audio
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. Download Audio
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. Download Audio
October 2, 2014
AK: Alaska Native Dancing Tradition

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. Download Audio
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. Download Audio
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. Download Audio
September 15, 2014

Comment Period on FEMA Disaster Declaration To Close

Sunday, Aug. 31, is the deadline for comments to FEMA, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on a policy carrying out a law that would allow tribes to request emergency and major disaster declarations. Download Audio:
August 29, 2014

NSF Earmarks $1.5M for Native Students Studying STEM Subjects

A $1.5 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation will fund a five-year pilot project to help American Indian and Alaska Native college students achieve advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM subjects. Download Audio:
August 29, 2014

Report: Alaskans Aren’t All That Healthy

According to the recently released “Healthy Alaskans 2020,” - an assessment and strategic plan issued every decade, Alaskans aren’t all that healthy. A 15-page overview of Alaskans’ health status as of 2012 shows Alaskans are not doing as well as people in the U.S. overall in every category. Download Audio: 
August 20, 2014
Sen. Begich Courts Voters in Rural Alaska

Sen. Begich Courts Voters in Rural Alaska

Senator Mark Begich last week visited the three lower Yukon River villages of Marshall, Alakanak, and Emmonak. He heard from dozens of people about infrastructure needs, and issues such as the importance of subsistence and the need for local law enforcement. Download Audio:
August 13, 2014