Public hearings on missing and murdered Indigenous people were held this week in Alaska.
APRN’s Liz Ruskin reports.
Vivian Korthius sits on a commission created by Congress to address the problem.
She says more than 300 Alaska Native people are on a missing and murdered registry.
“To me, that’s the same size of a village. A whole village. And it’s shocking to know that there’s that many people we’re missing.”
The Not Invisible Act Commission met in Anchorage to hear testimony from victims and advocates working to prevent violence.
They identified a range of problems, including a lack of services for vulnerable people and too little law enforcement in rural Alaska.
Systemic racism and trauma were recurring themes.
Several advocates told the commission that it’s hard to make federal programs work in rural Alaska, especially for small tribes.
Dana Diehl, director of wellness and prevention at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, said federal grants are not easily tailored to community needs.
“Oftentimes, the scope of our funding is very limited and narrow. But from an Alaska Native perspective, we see things more holistically, and you can’t separate things like mental health, physical health, and spiritual health.”
The commission invited family members of missing and murdered Indigenous people to testify during an afternoon session that was closed to the media.
By October, the panel is to produce recommendations on how the federal government can better prevent and respond to violence against Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
The North Dakota Legislature has passed a bill that codifies the Indian Child Welfare Act in the state.
State Rep. Jayme Davis (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians/D-ND) successfully led the passage of House Bill 1536.
Rep. Davis introduced the bill as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the fate of the Indian Child Welfare Act, which seeks to keep Native children with Native families.
Under the bill, if the high court makes changes to the federal law, the changes would not apply in North Dakota unless the legislature choses to amend it in the future.
In a statement, Rep. Davis said a repeal or significant changes to ICWA by the U.S. Supreme Court could have negative impacts on American Indian and Alaska Native children, and that protecting ICWA in North Dakota protects Native children.
The bill passed 46-0 in the Senate and 91-1 in the House.
It now heads to the governor.
A Colorado news collaborative recently released a report highlighting the experiences of Indigenous communities with the media.
It also includes solutions on improving that relationship.
KUNC’s Emma VandenEinde reports.
COLab’s Indigenous Voices report shared how Indigenous communities frequently felt invisible.
They also mentioned how the coverage of issues important to them was very surface-level.
Here’s Tara McLain Manthey, a citizen of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma and the project leader.
“The less that the community is covered in a human in-depth way, the more those stereotypes persist or become deeper ingrained.”
Some specific solutions mentioned were building trust in reporting relationships, getting Native journalists in the newsroom, and educating journalists about Native history through training.
This story is distributed by the Mountain West News Bureau, which contributed to the report.
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