Numerous commissioned reports, public hearings, and news coverage tell the story of the broken public safety system in Alaska. We are failing. Our women, children, Elders and all are hurting as a result of this. The lack of effective law enforcement and accessible judicial services in remote Alaska villages contributes significantly to increased crime, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, domestic violence, rates of suicide, poor educational achievement, and lack of economic development. The lack of rural justice systems, substance abuse epidemic and lack of behavioral health services has increased crime in urban centers. This is not equitable nor acceptable and should be dealt with holistically, and immediately. Local, state and federal governments fail to properly address this issue while our native women and children suffer.
- We demand proper public safety for rural Alaska through 1) the passage of legislation confirming the governmental authority of Alaska Native tribes over all persons within their communities without regard to land ownership; 2) enhanced access to funds to support the operation of tribal governments, tribal courts and tribal law enforcement personnel; 3) maximum cooperation and collaboration between Alaskan Tribes, the State of Alaska and the Federal Government in the administration of justice in Alaska Native villages.
- We ask for adequate law enforcement officers in the villages and urban centers. The state and the federal government must work together to increase officer presence. Native officers should be recruited throughout Alaskan communities.
- We insist that tribal city, and borough elected leaders create high standards of public safety for all Alaskan communities. We seek to end the unspoken acceptance of sexual violence and sexual predators, and the substance abuse that follows.
- We support Criminal Justice reform by keeping low-level criminal defendants out of jail and referring them to treatment centers.
- We ask for culturally appropriate re-entry services be developed and implemented to address recidivism rates for all convicted criminals, including felons.
We recognize that the crisis of MMIWG2S (missing and murdered Indigenous womxn, girls at 2 spirit) is a complex issue, and we continue to rise up and mobilize as action is needed now. We demand justice for the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous womxn, girls and relatives - our mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, friends. We have been building relationships with state, local and federal entities to bring true systemic change. This is an Indigenous-led effort. We work closely with grassroots-led efforts and organizations stateweide to amplify the need for justice on all fronts. On our journey toward healing, we demand justice.
Most importantly, we do this work alongside our community from a healing-centered place.
Follow MMIWG2S Alaska on Facebook. NPA co-manages this page alongside Native Movement. Organizations involved in this coalition include NPA, Native Movement, the Alaska Native Women's Resource Center and the Alaska Native Heritage Center.
#MMIWGAlaska #MMIWG2S #NoMoreStolenSisters #MMIR
ADVOCATING FOR OUR RELATIVES
OUR WORK IN THE MEDIA & ADVOCACY
APRIL 22, 2020 - MMIWG ALASKA
We Will Never Lose Sight Press Release
FEB 3, 2020 - INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY
Striving to make Indigenous women, girls feel safe in Alaska
FEB 2, 2020 - KTVA
Community honors missing, murdered Alaska Native women
JAN 24, 2020 - THE ARTCIC SOUNDER
Candlelight vigisls honor life of Kristen Huntington
JAN 16, 2020 - ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS
Anchorage Vigil for woman found slain in Fairbanks
JAN 15, 2020 - KTUU
Arrest made in murder of Kristen Huntington
DEC 10, 2019 - KTVA
Alaska Native groups say Trump task force lacks Tribal representation
VILLAGE PUBLIC SAFETY
It is our goal to assist in increasing public safety across Alaska by removing barriers that currently exist in order to make this happen.
On May 9, 2019, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House created a special Village Public Safety Officer Working Group in the Alaska State Legislature. The VPSO working group held three public meetings starting in September 2019 - January 2020 that focused on what could be done in the short term to help address some systemic issues with the VPSO’s and outlined some long term goals as well. During this time NPA talked with Rep. Chuck Kopp, Co-Chair of the VPSO working group, and his staff to determine how we can best facilitate sending out information to the public, providing feedback, and offering support for final passage.
We began reaching out to individuals to talk about the legislation, created informational messaging to share with the public, created calls to action when the bill was being heard in legislative committees, and provided our own testimony in support of the bill. We identified this as an important step toward fixing the VPSO program because it addressed important issues in statute that prohibits VPSO’s to carry out their duties, provides a better funding mechanism, and creates more opportunities for the VPSO’s to become more independent and allow them to pursue what they need to carry out their job without the multiple layers of approval.
During this time we met with multiple legislators to express our support for the bill and explain why it was deeply needed to help our rural communities, in addition to what we hope will be done in addition to this legislation. We also worked with legislators on opportunities to add increases to the operating budget and discussed creative ways to support public safety and for ways to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. We were successful in creating many conversations in numerous committees by posing questions to the committees and departments. Legislators and their staffers began reaching out to us more for suggested language and ideas on what and how they can work to implement changes and where funding should be increased.
Through our meetings with current and previous VPSOs we learned about pay discrepancies between rural and urban public safety officers, lack of communities served and in many circumstances just one VPSO in a village, and lack of support from the Dept. of Public Safety, including funding and supplies. Therefore, we also began to advocate for equity and equality for the VPSOs. Currently, only one in three villages has a VPSO, and in many of those communities only one VPSO which means that one VPSO is always on call without a break for seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Due to COVID-19, the legislative session wrapped up early and only addressed the budget toward the last few weeks.As we are hunkered down in our homes we are seeing an increase in child abuse, assault and domestic violence across the nation, this is yet another layer to why we need additional support for public safety and why we cannot delay any longer to take care of the people of Alaska.
Our efforts are continuing with the planning of webinars on public safety and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the writing of an opinion piece that will be submitted to newspapers across the state, and continued efforts in reaching out to legislators and the public to push for increased public safety. We will continue to work on the passage of HB 287, and other efforts in the future for more long term solutions which may also include a separate department for the Village Public Safety Officers.