History of Issues

For many decades, Alaska Natives, tribal, state, local and federal governments, and nonprofit organizations have sought to address high rates of alcohol abuse, juvenile suicide and family violence/sexual assault by enhancing law enforcement and access to justice in rural Alaska communities. Cross-jurisdictional conflicts between state and tribal governments at all levels complicated essential political conversations and impeded successful resolution of these debilitating social challenges.

Statistics underscore the tragic fact that Alaska Natives from rural communities continue to be overrepresented among children in need, victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual assault, and other crimes.

Decisions issued by the federal and state courts in Alaska over the past 15 years have altered the legal landscape that so profoundly affects political conversations between state, tribal and federal governments regarding how best to improve life in rural Alaska communities. While critical conversations between leaders at all levels are continuing to evolve, the work is not yet complete.