The Biden Administration on Friday approved a request from Alaska’s governor for a federal disaster declaration after a powerful storm battered more than 1,000 miles of coastline in the northernmost state last weekend.
The declaration frees up funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to aid in storm recovery.
As Emily Schwing reports, more than 40 Alaska Native communities are now facing a serious threat to their food security.
In at least two communities, dozens of residents have been displaced after their homes were ripped from their foundations by floodwater.
The storm surge included hurricane force winds that also destroyed boats people rely on for both transportation and hunting and fishing.
Ryan Bukowski is one of nearly 1000 residents in the village of Chevak.
“I mean even the people that go out with working boats right now, that’s not even enough to feed the community with what subsistence food they need, that they haven’t already lost due to power outage.”
Bukowski and many other Alaskans lost power for days after the storm.
Without electricity, the freezers where many people store all their fish, meat, berries, and other locally harvested foods for winter have thawed.
A lot of that food is now spoiled.
Communities of color remain consistently affected by COVID-19 at higher rates than whites, according to an Oregon Health Authority review.
KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.
OHA’s latest year-in-review report shows that in both 2020 and 2021, Black, Native American, and LatinX Oregonians suffered higher rates of hospitalizations and death than whites.
Researchers list lack of access to health care, lower-income jobs, crowded work spaces, and distrust in government as factors.
Kelly Rowe is the executive director of health services for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.
She says OHA’s finding matches what she’s seeing this year as well.
“We are still having fairly high rates of COVID infection out at Grand Ronde. Right after the labor day holiday weekend, mostly BA.5. This most recent variant is incredibly infectious, the congregating of people, it rose pretty significantly.”
OHA says data on race was available for 73 percent of all reported cases last year.
Gov. Gavin Newson (D-CA) signed a package of five tribal bills on Friday.
One requires state agency leaders to take training, improve communication and interact with tribes on government-to-government issues.
Another creates a “Feather Alert” system for missing and murdered Indigenous people. It’s similar to those used in cases of abducted children.
The third encourages schools and county offices to engage with tribes in their area and provide accurate education about Native American history and culture.
The fourth bill authorizes the University of California Hastings College of Law to remove the name of its founder who slaughtered tribal people in the 1800s and rename the school with tribal input.
The last bill requires the renaming of California geographic features, landmarks, public lands, and structures that use the S-Q word by January 1, 2024.
All five bills were authored by Native American State Rep. James Ramos (D-CA).
The bills were signed as California celebrated Native American Day.
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