Legislature(2019 - 2020)CAPITOL 106

05/02/2019 08:00 AM House TRIBAL AFFAIRS

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Moved HR 10 Out of Committee
Moved HB 142 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
           HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON TRIBAL AFFAIRS                                                                          
                          May 2, 2019                                                                                           
                           8:02 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky, Chair                                                                                          
Representative Bryce Edgmon, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative John Lincoln                                                                                                     
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Zack Fields                                                                                                      
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 142                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to Alaska Native organizations; relating to the                                                                
village public safety officer program; and relating to the                                                                      
Alaska temporary assistance program."                                                                                           
     - MOVED HB 142 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 10                                                                                                         
Urging  the United  States Congress  to reauthorize  the Violence                                                               
Against  Women  Act  of  1994 without  an  exemption  for  tribal                                                               
governments  in  the  state  and to  support  Savanna's  Act  and                                                               
highlight the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.                                                                  
     - MOVED HR 10 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 142                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NATIVE ORGANIZATIONS VPSO & TANF PROGRAMS                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KREISS-TOMKINS                                                                                    
04/22/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/22/19       (H)       TRB, JUD                                                                                               
04/30/19       (H)       TRB AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/30/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/30/19       (H)       MINUTE(TRB)                                                                                            
05/02/19       (H)       TRB AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
BILL: HR  10                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: REAUTHORIZE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) ZULKOSKY                                                                                          
05/01/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/01/19       (H)       TRB                                                                                                    
05/02/19       (H)       TRB AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE JONATHAN KREISS-TOMKINS                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As the prime sponsor of HB 142, introduced                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
JOHN SCANLON, Staff                                                                                                             
Representative Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  On behalf of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                              
prime sponsor of HB 142, provided further information regarding                                                                 
the bill.                                                                                                                       
ABIGAIL ECHO-HAWK, MA, Chief Research Officer                                                                                   
Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB)                                                                                              
Director, Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI)                                                                                  
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited testimony during the                                                                    
hearing of HR 10.                                                                                                               
AMBER WEBB, Artist                                                                                                              
Kasilof, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited testimony during the                                                                    
hearing of HR 10.                                                                                                               
KENDRA KLOSTER, Executive Director                                                                                              
Native Peoples Action (NPA)                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited testimony during the                                                                    
hearing of HR 10.                                                                                                               
MICIANA HUTCHERSON                                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HR 10.                                                                           
MARNA SANFORD                                                                                                                   
Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                                                                        
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HR 10.                                                                           
JOEL JACKSON, President                                                                                                         
Organized Village of Kake                                                                                                       
Kake, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing of HR 10.                                                                   
HEIDI VANTREASE, Domestic Violence Advocate                                                                                     
Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program                                                                                        
Organized Village of Kake                                                                                                       
Kake, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HR 10.                                                                           
MISTY NICHOLI, Operations Manager                                                                                               
Native Movement                                                                                                                 
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HR 10.                                                                           
CARMEN LOWRY, Executive Director                                                                                                
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA)                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HR 10.                                                                           
JULIAN THIBEDEAU                                                                                                                
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing of HR 10.                                                                   
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:02:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  TIFFANY ZULKOSKY  called  the House  Special Committee  on                                                             
Tribal Affairs  meeting to  order at  8:02 a.m.   Representatives                                                               
Talerico,  Lincoln,  Ortiz,  Vance,  Edgmon,  and  Zulkosky  were                                                               
present at  the call  to order.   Representative Fields  was also                                                               
        HB 142-NATIVE ORGANIZATIONS VPSO & TANF PROGRAMS                                                                    
8:03:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  142,  "An Act  relating  to  Alaska  Native                                                               
organizations;  relating to  the  village  public safety  officer                                                               
program;  and   relating  to  the  Alaska   temporary  assistance                                                               
8:03:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    JONATHAN     KREISS-TOMKINS,    Alaska    State                                                               
Legislature,  as the  prime  sponsor of  HB  142, introduced  the                                                               
bill.   He explained  HB 142 is  a technical fix.   He  said that                                                               
under current  law certain organizations are  eligible to partner                                                               
with  the State  of Alaska  in administering  the Village  Public                                                               
Safety  Officer   (VPSO)  and  Temporary  Assistance   for  Needy                                                               
Families  (TANF)  programs.   However,  there  is an  element  of                                                               
ambiguity about whether Central Council  of the Tlingit and Haida                                                               
Indian Tribes  of Alaska  (Tlingit & Haida)  is in  fact eligible                                                               
because Tlingit  & Haida  has a  somewhat anomalous  legal status                                                               
relative to  most of the  other regional organizations  in Alaska                                                               
that  administer  VPSO  and  TANF.   This  has  been  vetted  and                                                               
identified by  the Alaska Department  of Public Safety  (DPS), he                                                               
continued, (indisc. - audio difficulties).   [HB 142] quells that                                                               
ambiguity,  he stated.   (Indisc.  - audio  difficulties continue                                                               
until Representative Edgmon moves to report the bill.)                                                                          
8:04:47 AM                                                                                                                    
JOHN SCANLON, Staff,  Representative Kreiss-Tomkins, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature   testified  on   behalf   of   the  prime   sponsor,                                                               
Representative Kreiss-Tomkins.  [None  of Mr. Scanlon's testimony                                                               
was recorded due to audio difficulties.]                                                                                        
8:05:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  moved to  report HB  142 out  of committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and  the accompanying zero fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no objection,  HB 142 was reported  from the                                                               
House Special Committee on Tribal Affairs.                                                                                      
8:05:34 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 8:05 p.m. to 8:08 p.m.                                                                       
         HR  10-REAUTHORIZE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT                                                                      
8:08:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 10,  Urging the United States Congress to                                                               
reauthorize the  Violence Against  Women Act  of 1994  without an                                                               
exemption  for tribal  governments in  the state  and to  support                                                               
Savanna's Act  and highlight the  crisis of missing  and murdered                                                               
Indigenous women.                                                                                                               
CHAIR ZULKOSKY passed the gavel to Vice Chair Edgmon.                                                                           
8:08:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY introduced  HR 10  via a  PowerPoint presentation                                                               
titled "House Resolution 10."   (Indisc. - the first five minutes                                                               
of Chair Zulkosky's  presentation were not recorded  due to audio                                                               
difficulties.  According to the  secretary's log notes during the                                                               
presentation, Chair  Zulkosky stated:   The  case of  missing and                                                               
murdered  Indigenous  women  (MMIW)can   no  longer  be  ignored.                                                               
Research reveals that violence  has reached unprecedented levels.                                                               
Public safety  problems are linked  with significant gaps  in the                                                               
reporting  of data.   The  Anchorage Police  Department has  been                                                               
highlighted as the most responsive in the country.)                                                                             
8:13:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY  reported that  according  to  the Department  of                                                               
Public Safety (DPS),  Alaska's sole cold case  investigator has a                                                               
case  load  of approximately  135  unresolved  cases.   The  Rand                                                               
Center  on Quality  Policing, she  pointed  out, recommends  that                                                               
cold case  investigators carry  roughly 10 or  fewer cases.   She                                                               
offered  her belief  that between  the disproportionate  rates of                                                               
violence  against Indigenous  women,  the lack  of public  safety                                                               
resources  throughout rural  areas,  gaps in  reporting and  data                                                               
statewide,   and  insufficient   cold  case   resources,  it   is                                                               
imperative  that the  Alaska House  of Representatives  highlight                                                               
that the crisis  of missing and murdered Indigenous  women can no                                                               
longer  be  ignored  and  share  with  the  Alaska  Congressional                                                               
Delegation  what   the  legislature  believes   could  strengthen                                                               
resources on the ground to solve it.                                                                                            
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  stated that as  consideration is given  to public                                                               
safety  needs across  the  state, it  must  be acknowledged  that                                                               
providing adequate public safety services  is a right that should                                                               
be  afforded  to  every  Alaskan,  no  matter  where  they  live.                                                               
Multiple  studies,  commissions,  and  reports  on  rural  public                                                               
safety  in  Alaska  all  come  to the  same  conclusion  -  local                                                               
responsibility  for structures  of  law  enforcement and  justice                                                               
systems are necessary to keep communities safe.                                                                                 
8:15:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY, in  reference to slides 7-9,  stated that through                                                               
federal legislation  like the Violence  Against Women  Act (VAWA)                                                               
and  Savanna's  Act,  Congress  acknowledges  that  the  goal  of                                                               
protecting Indigenous women is a  shared purpose with tribes.  In                                                               
an  environment  of   decreased  spending,  leveraging  increased                                                               
federal resources through partnerships  with tribes in Alaska can                                                               
help  make   progress  on  issues   like  missing   and  murdered                                                               
Indigenous  women.     Solution-based  partnerships  provide  for                                                               
opportunities for significant systems change.                                                                                   
CHAIR ZULKOSKY said  the Violence Against Women Act  (VAWA) is an                                                               
historic  piece of  legislation that  changed existing  policy to                                                               
better  combat  violence  against women  throughout  the  nation.                                                               
Each reauthorization  in 2000, 2005,  and 2013,  strengthened the                                                               
bill and  included provisions aimed  at enhancing the  safety for                                                               
Native  victims of  domestic  violence,  dating violence,  sexual                                                               
assault, stalking, and trafficking.   In 2005 Congress recognized                                                               
the severity  of the violence  against Native women and  the need                                                               
to  enact federal  legislation supporting  increased protections.                                                               
However,  the  2005  and 2013  reauthorizations  excluded  Alaska                                                               
tribes   from  the   improvements  and   accompanying  resources.                                                               
Alaska's Congressional Delegation is working to resolve this.                                                                   
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY reported  that  Congressman  Young introduced  an                                                               
amendment  to  [House  Resolution] 1585  reauthorizing  the  2013                                                               
Violence  Against  Women  Act  provision  addressing  the  Alaska                                                               
exemption  for tribal  access to  law and  justice resources  and                                                               
jurisdiction.    On  the  U.S.  House  Floor,  Congressman  Young                                                               
pointed  out that  [Alaska] Native  villages  currently lack  any                                                               
efficient tools  to criminally prosecute  the offenders.   Tribal                                                               
courts are  taking domestic violence  cases, but  jurisdiction is                                                               
tricky.   Congressman  Young's amendment  allows  for five  pilot                                                               
projects  in  Alaska  that   recognize  tribal  jurisdiction  for                                                               
villages that have  at least 75 percent  Alaska Native residents.                                                               
It  also  provides Alaska  tribes  access  to additional  federal                                                               
resources for  tribal law enforcement  and tribal  court capacity                                                               
building and preserving solvency of  public safety and justice in                                                               
remote rural Alaska during an era of decreased funding.                                                                         
8:17:39 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  moved to  slide 10  and explained  that Savanna's                                                               
Act (S.  227) is  a bill cosponsored  by Senator  Lisa Murkowski.                                                               
This  bill  increases  coordination   among  all  levels  of  law                                                               
enforcement,  improves data  collection and  information sharing,                                                               
and  empowers  tribes  with  the resources  they  need  in  cases                                                               
involving  missing  and  murdered  Indigenous  women  and  girls,                                                               
regardless of whether the cases occur  in rural or urban areas of                                                               
the U.S.  This legislation aims  to bridge the gap of the limited                                                               
data on the number of missing  Native women by directing the U.S.                                                               
Department  of  Justice  to  formulate  new  guidelines  for  the                                                               
reporting of violent crimes against  Indigenous people.  The bill                                                               
also  improves  access  for  tribes   to  certain  federal  crime                                                               
information databases,  mandating that  the Attorney  General and                                                               
the Secretary  of Interior consult  with Indian tribes on  how to                                                               
further  improve these  databases and  access to  them.   It also                                                               
requires  certain  federal  agencies to  solicit  recommendations                                                               
from tribes  on enhancing the safety  of Native women.   The bill                                                               
creates standardized  guidelines in consultation with  tribes for                                                               
responding  to cases  of missing  and murdered  Native Americans,                                                               
which  will include  guidance on  interjurisdictional cooperation                                                               
among tribes,  federal, state,  and local  law enforcement.   The                                                               
bill  also requires  statistics  on missing  and murdered  Native                                                               
women and  recommendations on how  to improve data  collection to                                                               
be included in an annual report to Congress.                                                                                    
8:19:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY related  that during the time she has  been in the                                                               
Alaska  State Legislature,  conversations  have  occurred on  the                                                               
House  Floor  about  whether  House  Resolutions  are  effective.                                                               
Sometimes people  say it  just means  legislators are  talking to                                                               
themselves.   But  as  was heard  from  the Alaska  Congressional                                                               
Delegation this year, resolutions mean  a lot when federal policy                                                               
is being considered.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY  said   HR  10  provides  the   Alaska  House  of                                                               
Representatives with  an opportunity to stand  in solidarity with                                                               
victims, families,  and communities  that legislators  believe in                                                               
the importance  of protecting Alaska  Native women  and children.                                                               
As  public safety  is  discussed  across the  state,  it sends  a                                                               
message that  violence against Indigenous women  should no longer                                                               
be ignored  or go unpunished.   She said HR 10  expresses support                                                               
for federal legislation that has  been studied, commissioned, and                                                               
negotiated  for several  decades at  the federal  level.   As the                                                               
only  Alaska   Native  woman  currently  serving   in  the  state                                                               
legislature, this area is of particular interest to her.                                                                        
VICE  CHAIR  EDGMON  concurred with  Chair  Zulkosky's  statement                                                               
about  resolutions.   Sometimes resolutions  are passed  time and                                                               
again on  a single subject.   But, to  his knowledge this  is the                                                               
first  time that  this topic  has  come before  the Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature  in  any  capacity.    In his  view,  HR  10  carries                                                               
incredible weight and  meaning in terms of giving  exposure to an                                                               
issue that  has been  waiting for attention  and resolution.   He                                                               
thanked Chair Zulkosky for bringing forth HR 10.                                                                                
8:21:19 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR EDGMON  called a brief at-ease to return  the gavel to                                                               
Chair Zulkosky.                                                                                                                 
8:21:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY opened  invited testimony  on HR  10.   She noted                                                               
that the  first witness, Abigail  Echo-Hawk, is co-author  of the                                                               
Urban  Indian  Health  Institute's  2018 report  on  missing  and                                                               
murdered Indigenous women and girls.                                                                                            
8:22:02 AM                                                                                                                    
ABIGAIL  ECHO-HAWK, MA,  Chief Research  Officer, Seattle  Indian                                                               
Health  Board (SIHB);  Director,  Urban  Indian Health  Institute                                                               
(UIHI), stated she  was born and raised in Interior  Alaska.  She                                                               
said  her  mother,  Yvonne  Echo-Hawk,  is  one  of  the  adopted                                                               
children of  Katie John of  Mentasta Village.   Her father  is of                                                               
the Pawnee Nation  of Oklahoma but was raised  in Delta Junction,                                                               
Fairbanks, and  Mentasta Lake.   She said  the report  on missing                                                               
and murdered  Indigenous women and  girls was issued  in November                                                               
2018.  The report was released  in Washington, DC, at the capitol                                                               
in partnership with U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski.                                                                                
MS.  ECHO-HAWK  said UIHI  partnered  with  the senator  on  this                                                               
report because  UIHI found  that Alaska  ranked highest  for both                                                               
missing and  murdered Indigenous women;  they were in the  top 10                                                               
for the state as  well as the city of Anchorage.   The purpose of                                                               
the  report was  to  show that  missing  and murdered  Indigenous                                                               
women are  not limited to  Alaska Native villages,  tribal lands,                                                               
or  reservations,  but  rather  an  epidemic  that  is  happening                                                               
anywhere Indigenous women lived.  The  UIHI set out to create the                                                               
very first data report on 71 cities across the U.S.                                                                             
MS. ECHO-HAWK said UIHI looked  specifically at Alaska because of                                                               
her  connections  to  the state  and  because  community  members                                                               
across Alaska  were seeing huge numbers  within their communities                                                               
and it  was a  big concern  to them.   Alaska as  a state  has 52                                                               
cases of missing and murdered  Indigenous women and Anchorage has                                                               
31  specific  cases of  missing  and  murdered Indigenous  women.                                                               
Anchorage ranks  third [among  the 71 cities  in the  report] for                                                               
the  highest  number of  missing  and  murdered Indigenous  women                                                               
cases and  Alaska as a state  ranks fourth.  It  is believed that                                                               
this is an absolute undercount of what is actually going on.                                                                    
MS. ECHO-HAWK  explained that Freedom  of Information  Act (FOIA)                                                               
requests were  initially submitted to Alaska's  cities and larger                                                               
towns,  but UIHI  struggled to  get information  from across  the                                                               
state.   For  example,  a  request was  submitted  to the  Juneau                                                               
police, but they  closed out UIHI's request saying  that they had                                                               
a  similar request  from a  university.   They said  they assumed                                                               
UIHI and the university must be  working together, so no data was                                                               
received  from them.    She  pointed out  that  there  was a  fee                                                               
associated with  FOIA requests in  Alaska.  Alaska  accounted for                                                               
93 percent  of all the  cost of accessing  data.  Across  most of                                                               
the country UIHI did not have  to pay fees to access data through                                                               
FOIA requests.                                                                                                                  
8:26:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ECHO-HAWK related that without  data for the state of Alaska,                                                               
UIHI was  unable to  understand what  was going on  and to  get a                                                               
good baseline  of data on  missing and murdered  Indigenous women                                                               
and girls  in Alaska.  A  FOIA request was then  submitted to the                                                               
Alaska  Department of  Public Safety  (DPS) which  asked for  any                                                               
historical  data on  up to  the present  of missing  and murdered                                                               
Indigenous women  and girls.   The request was  initially refused                                                               
because  DPS estimated  that  there  were up  to  1,200 cases  of                                                               
missing  and murdered  Indigenous  women and  girls within  their                                                               
files and it  would take too much effort, time,  and resources to                                                               
gather that information  for UIHI.  That  was very disappointing,                                                               
so  UIHI  reached  out  to some  Alaska  Native  leaderships  who                                                               
assisted  UIHI in  working with  DPS.   The department  agreed to                                                               
provide data from 2013-2018 as that was digitized.                                                                              
MS. ECHO-HAWK  pointed out that 1,200  is an estimate given  by a                                                               
DPS representative.   This would  give Alaska the  highest number                                                               
for this  epidemic across  North America,  including Canada.   If                                                               
this number  is correct, it would  make Alaska the center  of the                                                               
epidemic, which  is why  UIHI was  so anxious to  get as  much of                                                               
that information  as possible.   However, by the time  the report                                                               
was released in  November 2018, no information  had been received                                                               
from the Alaska  Department of Public Safety.   Therefore, at the                                                               
end of  2019 UIHI will  be issuing  a report specifically  on the                                                               
state  of Alaska.    Information  is being  gathered  by UIHI  in                                                               
collaboration with Alaska Native  organizations across the state.                                                               
The  report will  contain  the data  as well  as  the stories  of                                                               
individual family  members.  The intent  is for the data  to give                                                               
policymakers and communities a basic  understanding of the impact                                                               
and for  the stories to tell  the impact to their  loved ones and                                                               
their  community.   Work  will continue  with  U.S. Senator  Lisa                                                               
Murkowski's office  to ensure  that this  information is  used at                                                               
federal and state levels.                                                                                                       
8:29:06 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ECHO-HAWK  said Alaska has an  opportunity to be a  leader in                                                               
addressing the  crisis of missing  and murdered  Indigenous women                                                               
and girls, which  is why she is  so excited about HR 10.   In her                                                               
work across  the country she  has seen these resolutions  be used                                                               
at the  federal level to  push for legislation that  is necessary                                                               
and needed.  She related when  UIHI submitted its FOIA request to                                                               
Anchorage,  the city  searched its  current data  and matched  it                                                               
against data  that UIHI  had from  community members.   Anchorage                                                               
found  that two-thirds  of  the  cases that  UIHI  had listed  as                                                               
American Indian/Alaska  Natives were  not listed that  way within                                                               
the  city's  database.   Much  of  that  had  to do  with  racial                                                               
misclassification.   Racial  misclassification is  rampant across                                                               
the U.S.  and Alaska.  A  strong point of what  is happening with                                                               
the federal legislation is that many states are taking this on.                                                                 
MS. ECHO-HAWK explained that for  many databases, if the race and                                                               
ethnicity of the  missing or murdered person is  not entered, the                                                               
database will default the person to  white.  While she cannot say                                                               
that Anchorage  had the  default-to-white problem,  Anchorage did                                                               
have  many of  those cases  classified  as white  women when  the                                                               
cases in  their system  were actually Alaska  Native women.   The                                                               
Anchorage Police  Department went back and  reclassified those as                                                               
Alaska Native women.   It highlights the need  for best practices                                                               
and how race and ethnicity  is captured because this epidemic has                                                               
remained hidden from most of society  for so long.  [Despite] the                                                               
lack of data, rampant misclassification,  and inability to access                                                               
data  through the  FOIA requests,  American Indian/Alaska  Native                                                               
people  know that  their women  continue  to go  missing and  are                                                               
murdered at epidemic rates.                                                                                                     
8:31:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ECHO-HAWK reiterated that Alaska  accounted for 93 percent of                                                               
costs for  UIHI to access data.   Sitka and other  towns had fees                                                               
to access the  information and she was unable to  pay them.  This                                                               
is a  barrier to community  members and organizations  looking to                                                               
establish what  and where the problem  is and how to  address it.                                                               
Data cannot  be accessed  because of  fees, bureaucracy,  and the                                                               
lack of  resources at the  Alaska Department of Public  Safety to                                                               
look at  its historical  records, which  inhibits the  ability of                                                               
UIHI to truly understand what is  going on.  Legislation like the                                                               
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)  and others require better data                                                               
collection   and  accountability,   which  will   address  racial                                                               
misclassification  and allow  for tribal  communities  to be  the                                                               
ones  directing the  efforts for  prevention and  working with  a                                                               
missing or murdered woman's loved ones and community members.                                                                   
MS. ECHO-HAWK reiterated that the  State of Alaska could become a                                                               
leader  because Alaska  has the  highest numbers  of missing  and                                                               
murdered  Indigenous women.   She  said HR  10 acknowledges  that                                                               
this is  an epidemic  and that  this epidemic  will no  longer be                                                               
silent  or  invisible.    The  legislature  is  standing  up  and                                                               
acknowledging and addressing  this crisis.  As  UIHI goes forward                                                               
with releasing  its 2019  report, it will  continue to  work with                                                               
the state, the  Alaska Native villages and  corporations, and the                                                               
Alaska Congressional  Delegation to ensure that  this information                                                               
is  used for  the health  and wellbeing  of Indigenous  women and                                                               
girls in Alaska.                                                                                                                
8:33:21 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  thanked Ms. Echo-Hawk  for her testimony  and the                                                               
work she had done on this issue nationwide.                                                                                     
8:33:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ inquired whether  Ketchikan charges a fee to                                                               
access data.                                                                                                                    
MS. ECHO-HAWK confirmed Ketchikan charges  a fee and because UIHI                                                               
didn't  have the  resources to  pay that  fee, Ketchikan  was not                                                               
included in the data.                                                                                                           
8:34:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  thanked Ms.  Echo-Hawk and UIHI  for their                                                               
work.   He  remarked  that the  information  regarding Alaska  is                                                               
startling and  alarming.  He  inquired whether Ms.  Echo-Hawk has                                                               
recommendations to improve getting  information from Alaska about                                                               
missing and murdered Indigenous women.                                                                                          
MS. ECHO-HAWK  responded that one recommendation,  related to the                                                               
rampant racial misclassification, is to  train state troopers and                                                               
police departments  on best practices.   She said UIHI  has found                                                               
that people are  uncomfortable, don't know, or don't  know how to                                                               
use the  data systems for  collecting this information.   This is                                                               
startling given that when a person  goes missing one of the first                                                               
descriptors needed  about them is  their race and  ethnicity, yet                                                               
that is not being captured in  Alaska and many other states.  So,                                                               
UIHI is looking at establishing  best practices and making police                                                               
departments  and state  troopers accountable  for gathering  race                                                               
and ethnicity correctly.                                                                                                        
MS. ECHO-HAWK said another recommendation  is to address the fees                                                               
and  inability to  access information  by  community members  and                                                               
others who  submit FOIA requests.   For example, UIHI is  a small                                                               
organization and  she had no funding  to do this project,  so she                                                               
self-funded the project at a cost  to her of about $20,000 and so                                                               
she didn't have the  funds to pay all the fees.   The UIHI report                                                               
is  being used  across the  U.S. to  introduce legislation  in 16                                                               
state  and   as  the   basis  of   multiple  pieces   of  federal                                                               
legislation,  and she  did  it for  $20,0000.   Yet  it is  still                                                               
lacking  in good,  in-depth  data.   The  fees  and inability  to                                                               
access  information prevent  communities  and organizations  from                                                               
getting information that is needed to make informed decisions.                                                                  
MS.  ECHO-HAWK further  recommended  that  tribal leadership  and                                                               
voices  be  included  in  shaping   what  is  needed  within  the                                                               
communities, particularly  by looking at the  Alaska exemption in                                                               
the last iteration  of VAWA [and the lack of  resources in Alaska                                                               
to research the  data].  Resources in other  states allowed other                                                               
tribal  nations  to  work at  both  prevention  and  intervention                                                               
levels  when  somebody  went  missing  or  was  murdered.    Most                                                               
Indigenous  people  across  the  U.S.,  including  herself,  know                                                               
somebody who  has gone  missing or was  murdered and  that should                                                               
not  be the  norm.   So, right  now the  specific and  actionable                                                               
pieces in Alaska are the  racial misclassification and the access                                                               
to data through FOIA requests.                                                                                                  
8:38:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  said the next  invited witness, Amber  Webb, will                                                               
be  speaking to  the incredible  art installation  located behind                                                               
the committee members.                                                                                                          
8:39:17 AM                                                                                                                    
AMBER  WEBB,   Artist,  shared  that   she  is   originally  from                                                               
Dillingham but  now lives  in Kasilof.   She thanked  the Tlingit                                                               
ancestors  of Juneau  on  whose lands  today's  meeting is  being                                                               
held.   She said  her art piece  includes approximately  90 women                                                               
from Alaska,  Canada, and  the border  states along  Canada, with                                                               
about half of the women being from  Alaska.  She has been able to                                                               
include 47  women from  Alaska in previous  projects.   She keeps                                                               
collecting  more names  from people  sharing  their stories  with                                                               
her.  Ms.  Webb pointed out that her research  to do this project                                                               
reflects the previously  heard testimony about the rates.   It is                                                               
a much larger  problem in Alaska than people  realize because the                                                               
data is difficult to collect,  and people are protective of their                                                               
loved ones in their stories.                                                                                                    
MS.  WEBB explained  that each  portrait in  the project  is hand                                                               
drawn  in ink  and that  the dates  of disappearances  or murders                                                               
range from 1969  to 2018.  Since she has  been doing the project,                                                               
five women  from Alaska  have gone missing  or murdered  and have                                                               
been added  to the  project.  She  has been working  on it  for a                                                               
little over  a year  and watching  the news  as these  things are                                                               
happening  and  sometimes  it is  overwhelming  to  collect  this                                                               
information at the same time.                                                                                                   
MS.  WEBB said  the purpose  of the  project is  twofold.   It is                                                               
about awareness,  but the  root of  what it  is about  is healing                                                               
because the issue  has gone unacknowledged largely by  media.  In                                                               
so many  ways it's been  invisible but is  not a new  issue, it's                                                               
been happening for over 200 years.   She has collected a lot more                                                               
pictures for  doing these  portraits for  the years  between 2003                                                               
and 2018 because she can  access photographs online.  Data before                                                               
those years is hard to come by  because she must wait to meet the                                                               
right people  who will share a  story with her and  tell her that                                                               
their mother or aunt or cousin  was killed and here is a picture.                                                               
Many  of  the pictures  she  did  get  came  from people  in  the                                                               
community who trusted her to  represent their relatives, which is                                                               
something she tries to honor in the way she presents the piece.                                                                 
8:43:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  WEBB related  that important  but not  spoken about  is that                                                               
most  perpetrators  of  this   violence  are  non-Native  people.                                                               
Sometimes people have the misconception  that this is primarily a                                                               
Native issue.   But  it isn't.   It's an  issue for  everyone who                                                               
lives in Alaska  and in the U.S.  She  urged committee members to                                                               
not  minimize the  impact when  thinking about  the scope  of the                                                               
violence.   She  pointed out  that her  12-foot project  with the                                                               
portraits  of about  90 women  is a  very small  fraction of  the                                                               
national impact.   Imagine how  it would look, she  continued, if                                                               
it had 5,000 faces because that is what is being confronted.                                                                    
MS. WEBB  pointed out that  violence is not a  traditional value.                                                               
She said HR  10 is important because it  brings [Native Alaskans]                                                               
closer  to returning  to that  sacred place  in society  that was                                                               
held for  thousands of  years.  [Legislators]  are in  a powerful                                                               
position  to   acknowledge  what   has  been  happening   in  the                                                               
communities.  It isn't just  to acknowledge what our grandmothers                                                               
and great-grandmothers  have endured, and what  our families have                                                               
endured.   It's also  to create a  future where  our great-great-                                                               
grandchildren don't have  to face the same rates  that our great-                                                               
great  grandmothers  faced because  [Native  Alaskans]  are in  a                                                               
position where they can find solutions for this problem.                                                                        
8:46:12 AM                                                                                                                    
KENDRA KLOSTER, Executive Director,  Native Peoples Action (NPA),                                                               
stated she is Tlingit, Raven  Kiks.adi, originally from Wrangell.                                                               
She said  she spent  much of  her childhood  in Juneau  and wears                                                               
many different  hats - tribal  member, mother,  sister, daughter.                                                               
She is passionate  about protecting the traditional  way of life.                                                               
She was  drawn to Native  Peoples Action by  what can be  done to                                                               
help  tribal members  and Native  people.   She explained  Native                                                               
Peoples Action is  a statewide nonprofit that  strives to provide                                                               
Alaska  Native communities  and their  traditional values  with a                                                               
voice  at  all levels  of  policymaking.   Strong  Alaska  Native                                                               
community networks  are leveraged  to build  a volunteer  base to                                                               
provide  encouragement and  guidance in  connecting their  Native                                                               
traditional values.   She worked  for the  legislature previously                                                               
and  was  drawn  by  NPA's  work to  increase  Native  voices  in                                                               
policymaking as  well as  in Native  communities and  to ensuring                                                               
that Natives  always have  a seat  at the  table, whether  in the                                                               
legislature or in communities.                                                                                                  
MS. KLOSTER said NPA has  been building relationships with tribes                                                               
across the  state.   As well, NPA  is working  with policymakers,                                                               
non-Native organizations,  and Native  organizations.   The board                                                               
and steering committee members of  NPA are from across the state,                                                               
including  Denaina Athabascan,  Yup'iks, Koyukon  Athabascan, and                                                               
Tlingit.   The organization has  artists, attorneys,  chiefs, and                                                               
community  activists.    The  focus is  on  coming  together  and                                                               
working together to ensure Alaska Native values are protected.                                                                  
8:48:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. KLOSTER said safe communities  are core in NPA's work because                                                               
numerous reports  are telling the  story that communities  have a                                                               
broken  public  safety system.    Public  safety is  not  offered                                                               
across Alaska  and NPA wants  to be a part  of fixing that.   The                                                               
lack of law  enforcement and the lack of data  collection are why                                                               
she was  glad to hear  Ms. Echo-Hawk speak.   The UIHI  report is                                                               
what  she uses  when  talking with  organizations and  grassroots                                                               
efforts on how to be helpful in backing up this information.                                                                    
MS.  KLOSTER said  Native  Peoples Action  and  its partners  are                                                               
helping  with grassroots  efforts.   Rallies  have  been held  in                                                               
Juneau.   The rallies and  readings of  the names of  missing and                                                               
murdered  Indigenous women  during Alaska  Federation of  Natives                                                               
(AFN)  meetings have  been  incredibly powerful.    She said  NPA                                                               
wants  to  uplift  those  names  in the  people  and  provide  an                                                               
understanding that  the statistics  being read  are the  faces of                                                               
sisters, grandmothers,  and daughters.   It is very  important to                                                               
NPA to work  together and see what NPA can  do as an organization                                                               
to take care of Native women.                                                                                                   
MS. KLOSTER addressed Representative  Edgmon's inquiry about what                                                               
can be  done.  She thanked  Chair Zulkosky for bringing  forth HR
10, saying it  is important for bringing  attention and awareness                                                               
to  this  major  problem.    She pointed  out  that  research  is                                                               
something else  that can be done.   She too was  stunned that Ms.                                                               
Echo-Hawk  was  unable  to  access the  information.    He  noted                                                               
Washington state  has passed two  bills:   HR 2951 was  passed in                                                               
2018 and ordered  a study to determine how  to increase reporting                                                               
and investigation on  missing Native American women;  HB 1713 was                                                               
signed into law in April  [2019] and will improve law enforcement                                                               
response to missing and murdered Native American women.                                                                         
8:51:48 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. KLOSTER  suggested Alaska look toward  Washington state's two                                                               
pieces of legislation.  Alaska  could expand upon them to mandate                                                               
that tribal entities  and federal and state  law enforcement work                                                               
together  because  they likely  don't  have  the same  protocols.                                                               
Alaska could  also look at  the data collection  issue identified                                                               
by Ms. Echo-Hawk; she herself is  an example because she is often                                                               
classified  as white.   Much  improvement is  needed in  Alaska's                                                               
data  collection and  the  Freedom of  Information  Act, how  law                                                               
enforcement works together in Alaska,  and looking at bills other                                                               
states have passed to see whether Alaska can do the same.                                                                       
MS.  KLOSTER said  Native Peoples  Action and  its partners  will                                                               
continue to  bring awareness  in grassroots  efforts.   Coming up                                                               
May 5  [2019] is the  National Day  of Awareness for  Missing and                                                               
Murdered  Indigenous  Women and  Girls  at  which NPA  and  other                                                               
Native  organizations  have  partnered  to  put  on  a  rally,  a                                                               
community gathering, and  a heartbeat of the drums.   This is the                                                               
community coming together to honor these  women as well as a call                                                               
to action  on how  to improve  this and be  a support  system and                                                               
finding policies and  actions.  A rally and march  will also take                                                               
place in Fairbanks on May 5 at  the Golden Heart Plaza.  She said                                                               
NPA will continue to do grassroots  efforts, to lift the names of                                                               
these  women, and  to work  with communities,  organizations, and                                                               
8:54:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY opened public testimony on HR 10.                                                                                
8:54:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MICIANA HUTCHERSON testified she is  a citizen of Central Council                                                               
Tlingit  &  Haida  Indian  Tribes  of Alaska  and  was  asked  by                                                               
President Peterson to  come before the committee today.   She has                                                               
questioned  herself  about  why  she   is  being  asked  to  give                                                               
presentations here and at community  events.  Her mother reminded                                                               
her, she  related, that her life  has been affected by  this, but                                                               
she  just never  noticed  it.   Her mother  reminded  her of  her                                                               
great-aunt who  lived in  Juneau in  the 1950s  and was  found in                                                               
Lawson Creek brutally  raped and murdered.   Her great-aunt's 15-                                                               
year-old nephew was  the only one available to  come identify her                                                               
body.    Her  mother  reminded  her that  recently  at  a  tribal                                                               
assembly,  missing  posters were  passed  out  for Tracy  Day,  a                                                               
tribal citizen  who is currently  missing in Juneau.   Her mother                                                               
also  reminded  her  that  two  weeks  ago  she  had  to  file  a                                                               
protective  order  for herself  because  she  is currently  being                                                               
stalked by  a Juneau  community member.   Ms. Hutcherson  said it                                                               
struck her  that this is  something that has been  normalized for                                                               
Native women  in the  Native community;  she didn't  even realize                                                               
that  she had  such direct  connections to  missing and  murdered                                                               
Indigenous  women.   It  is something  she  was passionate  about                                                               
before because she  has seen these women and this  art piece, and                                                               
she doesn't  know how someone  could see  this and know  about it                                                               
and not be passionate about it.                                                                                                 
8:56:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HUTCHERSON said people associate  Natives with many different                                                               
stories, such as  Natives get free college and don't  have to pay                                                               
taxes.  But right now, as  a 30-year-old woman, she can tell more                                                               
stories of  missing and  murdered Indigenous  women than  she can                                                               
tell traditional stories  from her own tribe.  To  her, that is a                                                               
problem.  Native  Alaskans know these women's  stories but people                                                               
outside  the Native  community don't.    Data is  needed to  tell                                                               
these  women's  stories  and  to   ensure  their  stories  aren't                                                               
repeated.  It needs to  be ensured that they aren't misclassified                                                               
in the system.   It needs to be ensured  that they matter because                                                               
they mattered to someone.   These women were taken, their stories                                                               
are important.   At these  gatherings people often ask  why these                                                               
bills  are important,  but her  question is,  Why not?   Why  not                                                               
reauthorize  VAWA without  the Alaska  exception?   This data  is                                                               
needed, and this support is needed  in Alaska.  This affects [all                                                               
Native Alaskans],  so why  wouldn't these bills  be needed?   All                                                               
hands  are   needed  on  deck   -  tribal,  state,   and  federal                                                               
governments working together on this issue.                                                                                     
8:58:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HUTCHERSON  stated that there  is a history of  purposely and                                                               
methodically mistreating Native women in  this country.  A direct                                                               
line can be drawn  from the time of contact to  this issue.  This                                                               
didn't just  develop overnight.  It  is a result of  a system and                                                               
it is time to change that  system.  An old Cheyenne proverb says,                                                               
"A nation is  not conquered until the hearts of  its women are on                                                               
the  ground, then  it is  finished."   Alaska  Native people  are                                                               
matrilineal  and  oftentimes  matriarchal.    So  that  is  quite                                                               
literal for Alaska Native people.   "When you take our women from                                                               
our communities  you are  taking our  identities, you  are taking                                                               
the very  heart of what  we stand for," she  said.  "So,  we need                                                               
our women,  we need  them to  be protected."   The  predators who                                                               
take and murder  these women sometimes do it  knowing that nobody                                                               
is  going to  show up.   The  man who  is stalking  her frequents                                                               
Tlingit  and Haida  events, he  studies Native  issues, he  knows                                                               
that if  something happens nobody is  coming to look for  her and                                                               
if they do there will be no consequences.                                                                                       
MS. HUTCHERSON said  Alaska's lack of resources amazes  her.  She                                                               
didn't have  personal connection with  it until she  went through                                                               
this stalking  issue a  couple weeks  ago.   The first  place she                                                               
went to  get a protection  order was  her tribal court,  but they                                                               
were unable  to offer  that to  her.   They could  offer domestic                                                               
violence  protection but  could  not  offer stalking  protection.                                                               
So,  she went  across  the street  to the  state  and the  office                                                               
wasn't open.  She went to the  AWARE shelter and was told to come                                                               
back the next  morning.  This is not okay.   Better resources are                                                               
MS.  HUTCHERSON  said  the  families  of the  women  in  the  art                                                               
installation need answers, deserve  answers, and deserve justice.                                                               
She would  like to  know at  the very  least that  if she  did go                                                               
missing, if this  stalker does do something to  her, that someone                                                               
would come looking for her.   She offered her appreciation to the                                                               
sponsor of HR 10.                                                                                                               
9:01:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MARNA SANFORD, Tanana Chiefs Conference,  thanked the sponsor and                                                               
cosponsors of HR  10.  She urged that members  from both sides of                                                               
the aisle cosponsor and support  the resolution.  She offered her                                                               
appreciation  for Ms.  Echo-Hawk's research  and important  work.                                                               
She pointed out  that murder is the third leading  cause of death                                                               
among American Indian  and Alaska Native women,  according to Ms.                                                               
Echo-Hawk's report.   If  murder was the  third leading  cause of                                                               
death  amongst white  women,  white people,  or  the American  or                                                               
Alaskan population in  general, folks would be  talking about it.                                                               
At  a  recent tribal  court  conference  in Fairbanks  there  was                                                               
extensive  discussion  on  VAWA  and the  Victims  of  Crime  Act                                                               
(VOCA).  here  isn't one tribal leader who doesn't  know by heart                                                               
what VAWA says.   It's time for the folks in  Juneau to know what                                                               
VAWA  says  and to  know  how  important  it  is.   The  research                                                               
provided  by Savannah's  Act is  important to  the folks  who are                                                               
trying to make a difference in the Native communities.                                                                          
MS.   SANFORD  offered   her  appreciation   for  Ms.   Kloster's                                                               
suggestions on what  the state could do in addition  to passing a                                                               
resolution regarding  data collection and ensuring  that Alaska's                                                               
public  safety officers  are correctly  classifying the  cause of                                                               
death, whether it  be accidental or undetermined.   Alaska can do                                                               
better  and can  be providing  that information  and making  sure                                                               
that FOIA  issues aren't  standing in the  way of  getting proper                                                               
research.   She offered  her hope  that HR  10 will  receive wide                                                               
support in the legislature.                                                                                                     
9:04:05 AM                                                                                                                    
JOEL  JACKSON, President,  Organized Village  of Kake,  testified                                                               
that the Village  of Kake has about 500 people  and is located on                                                               
Kupreanof  Island.   He  said  he has  been  talking about  these                                                               
issues for  the last two years.   It is heartbreaking  that it is                                                               
taking  so long  to  get  something in  place  to protect  Native                                                               
women.   It  is very  frustrating to  community leaders  in rural                                                               
Alaska that this is still not being taken seriously.                                                                            
MR. JACKSON related  that a few cases have happened  in Kake.  In                                                               
2013, Mackenzie Howard  [13 years old] was  murdered right across                                                               
from her home in the back of  a community church.  She laid there                                                               
for about 11  hours before any state troopers responded.   He and                                                               
other community  members cordoned  off the  area and  stood watch                                                               
all  night to  protect  the  scene and  local  men patrolled  the                                                               
community to make  people feel safe.  In 2017,  Jade Williams [19                                                               
years  old] was  murdered  in her  grandmother's  house during  a                                                               
party.   Three young men  were identified  that were there.   Mr.                                                               
Jackson  said he  is  a  first responder  and  works with  Kake's                                                               
volunteer  emergency medical  service  (EMS).   The EMS  provided                                                               
life support  measures, but Ms. Williams  was pronounced deceased                                                               
at the local clinic.  It was late  in the day and again the state                                                               
troopers  didn't respond  until  the  next day.    Again, he  and                                                               
others cordoned off the home and secured the area.                                                                              
9:07:24 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. JACKSON  said this is a  pattern in rural villages.   In 2017                                                               
he gave  a talk at  a tribal  conference in Anchorage  with state                                                               
officials where he said that if a  moose or deer is killed out of                                                               
season, fish and game officials will  show up within hours of the                                                               
incident  happening.   The state  officials  responded that  that                                                               
doesn't happen,  but he  knows otherwise because  he has  seen it                                                               
happen and has  heard it from other villages.   He reiterated his                                                               
frustration with this.                                                                                                          
MR. JACKSON noted that Kake has  a young man who recently went to                                                               
Village Public Safety  Officer (VPSO) training in  Sitka, so Kake                                                               
now has a full-time local  VPSO.  He expressed his disappointment                                                               
in  the VPSO  program,  not the  men and  women  working in  that                                                               
position, but  the lack  of authority that  they have.   Domestic                                                               
violence is  a big problem all  over and VPSOs cannot  respond to                                                               
domestic  violence  situations because  it  is  one of  the  most                                                               
dangerous  of  situations  and   VPSOs  don't  carry  a  sidearm.                                                               
Traffic stops  are another thing  VPSOs cannot do because  of the                                                               
danger.   He said  VPSOs are  well trained and  need to  be given                                                               
this  authority.   The  difference  between a  VPSO  and a  state                                                               
trooper is three more weeks of training.                                                                                        
9:10:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. JACKSON  further noted there are  problems with jurisdiction.                                                               
For example, a Kake woman  and tribal citizen was allegedly raped                                                               
in Metlakatla,  a reservation.   The tribal police there  and the                                                               
state  couldn't decide  who would  investigate it.   By  the time                                                               
there was  an investigation the  evidence was not  there anymore,                                                               
and the case has yet to be resolved.   As well, the death of Jade                                                               
Williams has yet to be solved and someone held accountable.                                                                     
MR. JACKSON  said he is  passionate about protecting  his people,                                                               
especially the women and children.   It is unacceptable that this                                                               
is allowed  to happen  in rural  areas.  If  it was  a non-Native                                                               
person or child,  it would be a whole different  story.  Everyone                                                               
has the right to have protection under the law.                                                                                 
MR. JACKSON stated  he attended the Village  Police Officer (VPO)                                                               
program in  Sitka.  He  was Chief of Police  in Kake in  the late                                                               
1970s and  early 1980s and  afterwards worked  for the city  as a                                                               
policeman.   Later  when  the  city didn't  have  VPSOs he  would                                                               
receive and  respond to calls on  his own.  He  believes strongly                                                               
in  protecting  his people  and  so  he  steps  up, but  this  is                                                               
something he shouldn't have to do.                                                                                              
MR.  JACKSON pointed  out that  the 911  system goes  through the                                                               
Alaska  State Troopers  Ketchikan dispatch.   Dispatch  takes the                                                               
information and then it goes to  either the state troopers or the                                                               
after-hours nurse  in Sitka.   They ask their questions  and then                                                               
it eventually gets down to going  over to the VPSOs or the health                                                               
agent in  Kake, all of  which takes at  least 30-45 minutes.   He                                                               
offered the tribe's help on anything that could be done.                                                                        
9:14:37 AM                                                                                                                    
HEIDI   VANTREASE,    Domestic   Violence    Advocate,   Domestic                                                               
Violence/Sexual  Assault  Program,  Organized  Village  of  Kake,                                                               
thanked the committee for its  work in addressing the missing and                                                               
murdered  Indigenous  women.    She  said she  has  worked  as  a                                                               
domestic violence  advocate since  December 2011.   She  sees the                                                               
challenges  and struggles  women face  when trying  to get  help.                                                               
The numbers  in the  data report are  rather alarming  and scary.                                                               
Two young  girls have  been murdered  in Kake.   Her  program was                                                               
very  new  when  Mackenzie  Howard was  murdered.    Because  the                                                               
program is a first responder, she  sees the impact on the woman's                                                               
family as well as the whole  community.  The community was shaken                                                               
when  this happened.   The  community  wants to  bring names  and                                                               
faces to the committee  to show that it is more  than just a data                                                               
report, there  are people behind  these numbers.  The  program is                                                               
doing its  best to help the  loved ones during this  time and the                                                               
program  is helping  on the  frontlines to  help the  community's                                                               
women and  girls be safe.   The program is working  diligently so                                                               
this doesn't happen again.                                                                                                      
9:17:07 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  VANTREASE said  the community  is watching  and waiting  for                                                               
solving  the cases.   Everyone  knows either  the parents  or the                                                               
young ladies  and are  frustrated with having  no answers  and no                                                               
justice being served.  As  domestic advocates, her program is the                                                               
first responder to these cases and  stands by the families in the                                                               
weeks and  months and  years following.   It  has been  seen what                                                               
these losses  do and  how it  hurts the  community.   These young                                                               
girls have  been the  catalyst for making  change and  doing what                                                               
can be done in  the village.  Her program sees  the impact of the                                                               
lack of offender  accountability.  It is frustrating  for a woman                                                               
to go through  the process of starting a case,  reporting it, and                                                               
waiting for  it to go  court, only to  have the offender  get off                                                               
with a slap on the wrist if even that happens.                                                                                  
MS. VANTREASE related  that last year was the first  MMIW walk in                                                               
Kake and nearly 200 people attended,  which is almost half of the                                                               
community.   This  shows the  importance  of this  issue and  its                                                               
importance to the people.   Everyone walked in remembrance of the                                                               
families'  loved ones  who tragically  died because  of violence.                                                               
Everyone walked in  solidarity with the families and  in hopes of                                                               
change.  Community  work is being done, such  as public awareness                                                               
and annual  culture camps.   The state's  help is needed  to help                                                               
ensure  that this  doesn't  happen again,  that  justice will  be                                                               
served, that Indigenous women are  protected and valued, and that                                                               
offenders are  held accountable.   It  is time  for the  state to                                                               
make the safety  of Alaska Native women a priority  and let it be                                                               
seen that Alaska Native women's lives are valued and matter.                                                                    
MS.  VANTREASE  pointed  out  that   VPSOs  are  disallowed  from                                                               
carrying  firearms,  yet Alaska  rates  the  highest in  domestic                                                               
violence  cases.   An officer  was  shot several  years ago  when                                                               
responding to  a call.   It  needs to be  ensured that  VPSOs who                                                               
have stepped  up to the plate  to protect the community  are also                                                               
kept safe.                                                                                                                      
MS. VANTREASE urged  that the committee's support be  seen in the                                                               
actions it takes following these hearings.                                                                                      
9:21:22 AM                                                                                                                    
MISTY NICHOLI,  Operations Manager,  Native Movement,  stated she                                                               
is Koyukon  Athabascan and  is from  Kaltag.  She  said she  is a                                                               
University  of Alaska  Fairbanks (UAF)  graduate, noncommissioned                                                               
officer  in the  Army Reserves,  licensed practical  nurse (LPN),                                                               
social advocate,  and mother  of three  adult sons.   As  a Denaa                                                               
woman she is a member of the most at-risk demographic in Alaska.                                                                
MS. NICHOLI  said she  is speaking  today on  behalf of  her late                                                               
grandmother, Theresa Nicholi, who is  one of Alaska's missing and                                                               
murdered Indigenous  women.   She explained  how she  thought the                                                               
death of her  grandmother was something that  didn't happen often                                                               
until  she  saw  articles  about Alaska's  missing  and  murdered                                                               
Indigenous women.  Through Native  Movement and its partners, she                                                               
was able  to lead  a collaborative living  art memorial  that was                                                               
unveiled last  October at an  Alaska Federation of  Natives (AFN)                                                               
rally.  It was  started with 38 names that had  been shared.  Two                                                               
Facebook posts  were made asking  for people who wanted  to honor                                                               
their loved one  names.  With those two Facebook  posts and eight                                                               
hours  at AFN,  an  additional  142 names  were  given.   [Native                                                               
Movement] is now  responsible for carrying over 184  names of its                                                               
stolen sisters.                                                                                                                 
9:23:00 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. NICHOLI  related that her  grandmother's body was  found with                                                               
bruises  and lacerations  to  her  face and  hands.   There  were                                                               
witnesses who  saw her enter  a house, saw  a man throw  her down                                                               
the  stairs, and  saw him  under the  cover of  darkness carrying                                                               
something the  size of  her small  grandmother over  his shoulder                                                               
towards Mukluk Slough.   There was no VPSO in  the village at the                                                               
time, so  the state troopers  flew in  and took her  body without                                                               
questioning  anyone.   It  is  still talked  about  today.   Like                                                               
countless other murdered Alaska  Native women, including her Aunt                                                               
Margaret  and   Aunt  Elizabeth,  her  grandmother's   death  was                                                               
incorrectly classified as accidental.  She continued:                                                                           
     I remember  my mother's  screams, cries, and  rage when                                                                    
     she  learned  that justice  wouldn't  be  served.   Her                                                                    
     emotions came from deep down in  her soul and a part of                                                                    
     her was broken that day.   A part of me was broken too.                                                                    
     I learned at  nine years old that our  lives and deaths                                                                    
     didn't  matter.   I'd  like  to  say that  things  have                                                                    
     changed  and that  there are  VPSOs who  function as  a                                                                    
     liaison for  the state  troopers to  ensure deliverance                                                                    
     of justice, but it hasn't changed at all.                                                                                  
9:24:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. NICHOLI  said a young  man shared a  story with her  a couple                                                               
years ago:                                                                                                                      
     A young  woman in  his community  was murdered.   There                                                                    
     wasn't a VPSO  in the village.  The  troopers picked up                                                                    
     her body  and didn't  adequately investigate.   Later a                                                                    
     man confessed  to multiple people  that he  killed her.                                                                    
     When  those  people  relayed that  information  to  law                                                                    
     enforcement, they were turned  away and told that there                                                                    
     was no evidence.                                                                                                           
MS.  NICHOLI said  the State  of Alaska's  current lack  of legal                                                               
protection has  made Indigenous women a  target for perpetrators.                                                               
To remedy the state's failure  to protect Indigenous women, HR 10                                                               
must  be passed.   Funding  must be  continued and  increased for                                                               
VPSOs.   Tribal  police  departments need  to  be recognized  and                                                               
worked with.  Asking for these protections for Alaska's most at-                                                                
risk  people   will  help  ensure  that   Indigenous  women  have                                                               
equitable  legal protections,  improve their  representation, and                                                               
increase government-to-government relations.                                                                                    
MS. NICHOLI  stated her  life has been  dedicated to  serving her                                                               
country and  the people of  Alaska.  She  said she would  like to                                                               
know that  her life  matters.   It is  the responsibility  of the                                                               
able and those  charged to serve citizens to  ensure that at-risk                                                               
populations are protected.  She  is certain the committee members                                                               
all take the  responsibility of their positions  seriously and so                                                               
she has faith that HR 10 will be passed today as a first step.                                                                  
9:26:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CARMEN  LOWRY, Executive  Director,  Alaska  Network on  Domestic                                                               
Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA),  stated that the network is                                                               
a  24-member organization  with members  being domestic  violence                                                               
and sexual assault service providers  across the state.  She said                                                               
the  network fully  supports HR  10  and that  the resolution  is                                                               
timely.   The network is  a federally recognized  state coalition                                                               
that  receives funding  from two  sources to  be able  to provide                                                               
coordinated services  and collaborative  services with  the state                                                               
administrator, who in Alaska is  the counsel on domestic violence                                                               
and sexual  assault.  Much  activity and  work are being  done at                                                               
the  federal level,  there  are now  18  federally funded  Native                                                               
coalitions across the U.S.  Out of  those 18, two are in Alaska -                                                               
the  Yup'ik  Women's  Coalition and  the  Healing  Native  Hearts                                                               
MS. LOWRY  said the network  realized last  year that it  had not                                                               
done nearly  enough to support  its Alaska Native sisters  in the                                                               
work that they are doing, so  the network convened a dialogue.  A                                                               
second  dialogue convened  a  couple weeks  ago  was attended  by                                                               
ANDVSA,   Yup'ik  Women's   Coalition,   Healing  Native   Hearts                                                               
Coalition,  Alaska  Native  Women's   Resource  Center,  and  the                                                               
Council on  Domestic Violence and  Sexual Assault.   These groups                                                               
came together in  recognition that more had to  be done together,                                                               
to work  together, to  look at  what was going  on with  the VAWA                                                               
reauthorization, and  to learn what  the structural  barriers are                                                               
for  Alaska Native  coalitions,  women, and  tribes  in having  a                                                               
greater impact in  their own community.  It was  realized that it                                                               
is time to recognize the  tragic epidemic of missing and murdered                                                               
Indigenous women and girls, of a  lack of resources, of a lack of                                                               
self-determined opportunity for Alaska Native victims.                                                                          
9:29:55 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. LOWRY addressed  the question of what else can  be done.  She                                                               
said that  at the second dialogue  it was determined that  an in-                                                               
depth fatality  review was needed  for an Alaska  Native murdered                                                               
woman or  girl.  This suggestion  is based on work  that is being                                                               
done in  Montana.  Montana  has one  fatality review for  a death                                                               
that occurs  on a  reservation or  on Indian  land, and  one that                                                               
occurs  on non-Indian  land.    Regarding the  lack  of data  and                                                               
inaccuracy of  data, the proposed  fatality review  could provide                                                               
in-depth awareness  of what  could be  done differently  and what                                                               
could be done to prevent this  kind of death from occurring.  She                                                               
said the  mandate for moving  forward on a fatality  review rests                                                               
within  the  Department  of  Public  Safety.    She  offered  her                                                               
understanding that DPS is interested in moving forward on this.                                                                 
MS. LOWRY assured  committee members that the  network will share                                                               
HR  10 with  its  member agencies  and  the Alaska  Congressional                                                               
Delegation.  The  network will continue to do whatever  it can to                                                               
lift the work of Alaska Native sisters and organizations.                                                                       
9:32:09 AM                                                                                                                    
JULIAN THIBEDEAU thanked the previous  speakers for sharing their                                                               
stories,  which encourages  others to  share their  stories.   He                                                               
said these  stories are often  kept to oneself because  it hurts,                                                               
but when  the stories  are shared  there is a  coming out  of the                                                               
darkness.   When  sharing these  stories, people  know that  they                                                               
aren't alone.   Sharing  helps people start  to come  together in                                                               
the communities.   He pointed out that the  100-plus names coming                                                               
as a  result of the  two Facebook posts  are just the  people who                                                               
happened to be attending AFN and see what was going on.                                                                         
MR. THIBEDEAU  said he is calling  today because his mother  is a                                                               
missing and  murdered Indigenous woman.   In 1996 his  mother was                                                               
murdered for  some cocaine that  wasn't even hers.   He explained                                                               
he is  saying it like that  because that is the  bottom line, the                                                               
motive  behind her  death.   His  mother was  a beautiful  person                                                               
inside and out  and was an Alaska Native artist  and a person who                                                               
carried her  traditions.  She  had her  struggles too and  one of                                                               
them  was drug  and alcohol  abuse.   She happened  to be  at the                                                               
wrong place at the  wrong time.  It shouldn't be  like that.  She                                                               
was a good  mother and a good  person.  Some people  might say to                                                               
write a  person off if there  were drugs involved, but  the drugs                                                               
were not in his mother's  possession and two people were murdered                                                               
that day  - his  mother and  her boyfriend -  and he  was present                                                               
during that time.  He was eight years old.                                                                                      
MR. THIBEDEAU related  that sharing an emotional  subject is hard                                                               
to do and  it's hard to find  the right words to share.   He said                                                               
his hope is  that by sharing, others will be  encouraged to share                                                               
too.   There was justice  in his mother's  case.  The  person who                                                               
committed the crime  was captured.  He  offered his understanding                                                               
that  statistically speaking  it's  not as  fortunate for  Alaska                                                               
Native   people,  especially   in   rural   villages  where   law                                                               
enforcement  isn't present.    It  is his  prayer  and hope  that                                                               
people come  together and continue  working to break  the silence                                                               
on violence and to help stop this.                                                                                              
9:38:00 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY closed public testimony  after ascertaining no one                                                               
else wished to testify.                                                                                                         
9:38:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LINCOLN  moved to  report HR  10 out  of committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and  the accompanying zero fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no  objection, HR  10 was reported  from the                                                               
House Special Committee on Tribal Affairs.                                                                                      
9:38:47 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Tribal Affairs meeting was adjourned at                                                                    
9:38 a.m.                                                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HR 10 Sponsor Statement.pdf HTRB 5/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HR 10
HB 10 PP 5.2.2019.pdf HTRB 5/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 10
HR 10 ANKWC Oral Testimony 4.30.2019.pdf HTRB 5/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HR 10 Tribal Law and Order Commission: Ch 2 Alaska.pdf HTRB 5/2/2019 8:00:00 AM
HR 10 Missing-and-Murdered-Indigenous-Women-and-Girls-UIHI Report.pdf HTRB 5/2/2019 8:00:00 AM