A first-of-its-kind report on missing persons in Alaska has been released.
The State Department of Public Safety and the Anchorage Police Department collaborated to collect this data.
Rhonda McBride from our flagship station KNBA has more.
Austin McDaniel, a spokesman for the Public Safety Department, says the report maps out hundreds of cases going back to 1960.
“We think this is a good first effort, and we’re definitely interested in adding additional data points.”
McDaniel says the work, which is an outgrowth of Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-AK)’s People First Initiative, will be updated every quarter and can be found online.
In the last quarter, from April to June, 200 Alaska Native or American Indian people went missing in the state. Most of those have been found, except for 25.
The database has an important new feature.
It categorizes the circumstances surrounding the disappearances, identifying those which are suspicious.
As director of the Data for Indigenous Justice group, Charlene Apok welcomes the new report and says it’s what advocates for missing Indigenous people have been asking for – for years.
She worked on an earlier attempt to track their numbers.
“Sadly, I think what this really illustrates is a systemic issue of violence that’s being perpetrated in our community in the state of Alaska. And that should raise flags and alarms, and really start igniting justice.”
Apok hopes the database will continue to improve and provide more information about those missing, including their hometowns and Native cultural identities, so they become more than just points of data, but reminders of loved ones, lost to their families.
A Native youth group spent one week in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks reconnecting with their roots.
Wyoming Public Radio’s Hannah Habermann reports.
13 Native youth from the Wind River Reservation and the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota explored the area alongside five traditional elders and teachers from the Lakota, Dakota, Northern Arapaho, Eastern Shoshone, and Blackfeet Nations.
Lynnette Grey Bull is the leader of the youth group, called Indigenous Youth Voices.
It’s the first time the group has hosted this kind of event. She says that sharing knowledge between generations is invaluable.
“Not only do we share our language and speak our language, but we also share things that they probably haven’t learned and won’t be able to learn in school. Some of our traditional and oral knowledge and historical knowledge, as many people know, is not told in the right way.”
The group spent the week kayaking, whitewater rafting, and traditional storytelling.
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