4th Annual Tribal Unity Gathering

Written by Communications_Dept on . Posted in All News Items

The 4th Annual Alaska Tribal Unity (ATU) was held on December 2, 2019 that was attended by 150 tribal leaders and representatives from 45 tribes and 12 organizations.

The gathering heard remarks from the congressional delegation and Governor Dunleavy. Senator Sullivan and Congressman Young provided updates on advocating for IHS advanced appropriations, upholding ICWA, improving public safety, cleaning the ocean to protect subsistence, fixing the 477 MOA that fails tribes and the law, and the importance of the Census. Governor Dunleavy commented on making Alaska’s future better for all Alaskans, including the PCE in his 2021 budget, plans for improving education, placing more troopers in rural, and forming partnership with tribal governments.

The Alaska Tribal Administrator Association shared their services for tribal administrators statewide as a healthy tribal administrator means a healthy tribe and a healthy community.

The legislative VPSO work group held a hearing, sharing their primary findings. They are aware of the conflict of statutory duties between the State Troopers and VPSOs and they plan to address the statutes to expand the VPSO roles to recognize them as the first responders. They are juggling moving the VPSO program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Commerce. Tribal leaders expressed the lack of public safety, highlighting justice delayed is justice denied, improvements to empower VPSOs to be an equivalent to Troopers, and emphasizing the state’s responsibility of public safety in rural Alaska.

Senate President Cathy Giessel and House Speaker Bryce Edgmon spoke about the upcoming legislative session. Senator Giessel anticipates more cuts, but will work to restore some programs, such as the VPSO and Marine Highway. She supports Begich’s bill on improving children’s reading skills. Edgmon remarked the Governor promised to work with the legislature on behavioral health. The finance committee will put forward a balance budget with 1.5% increase for departments and a $200 million surplus for PFDs. To have $1200 dividends, the question becomes, do residents want a check at the moment or services the whole year for the whole community?

Alex Cleghorn updated the gathering on services the Alaska Native Justice Center provides, including advocacy for survivors of domestic assault, restorative justice, and lawyer representation to tribes’ child in need of aid cases.

ATU’s legal partners presented on a federal issues, including:

  • Alaska Tribal Public Safety Empowerment Act
  • Sturgeon Fix
  • Advance Appropriations
  • VAWA update
  • Tribal Amicus brief
  • Victims of Crime funding opportunity

During the Transportation panel, Matt Jaffe of Sonosky gave an update on the negotiated rule making, the federal budget and the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019.

The regions caucused to select executive council members, agreed to modify Will Mayo’s title to Executive Director, and passed 11 resolutions that direct ATU’s advocacy efforts. The rules were suspended during resolutions to direct ATU to send a letter affirming Alaska’s public safety emergency and urging the formation of a task force with tribes, the State, congressional delegation and DOJ to jointly address the issue.

 

2019-01

AMEND THE 477 INTERDEPARTMENTAL MOA TO LANGUAGE THAT IS CONSISTENT WITH THE 477 LAW AS AMENDED

2019-02

SUPPORT S. 2302, THE “AMERICA’S TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE ACT OF 2019” (ATIA), ITS TRIBAL TITLE (TITLE IV), AND INCREASED FEDERAL FUNDING TO THE FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE, PUBLIC TRANSIT, AND HIGHWAY SAFETY PROGRAMS IMPORTANT TO TRIBAL NATIONS

2019-03

THANKING ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR FOR ADDRESSING PUBLIC SAFETY CRISIS IN RURAL ALASKA

2019-04

SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING FOR TRIBAL PARTICIPATION AND ASSISTANCE TO ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ALASKA NATIVE VIETNAM ERA VETERANS ALLOTMENTS PROGRAM

2019-05

URGE CONGRESS TO PROMPTLY ENACT “THE ALASKA PUBLIC SAFETY EMPOWERMENT ACT”

2019-06

INCREASED SUPPORT AND PROVIDE FLEXIBILITY TO CONTRACTED VPSO PROGRAMS TO ENSURE TIMELY AND ADEQUATE PUBLIC SAFETY SERVICES TO ALASKAN TRIBAL COMMUNITIES

2019-07

URGING FULL FUNDING FOR THE ALASKA MARINE HIGHWAY SYSTEM

2018-08

OPPOSE S. 440 IN THE 116TH CONGRESS TO PROTECT TRIBAL SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY

2019-09

DEFEND REGULATORY PROTECTIONS FOR SUBSISTENCE FISHING IN ALL WATERS WITHIN ALASKA CONSERVATION SYSTEM UNITS

2019-10

SUPPORT FOR ADVANCE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE

2019-11

SUPPORT FOR VAWA REAUTHORIZATION