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Begich to Reintroduce Safe Villages Act


In the wake of revelations about specific amendments added by Sen. Lisa Murkowski to the Violence Against Women Act, passed by Congress last week, Senator Mark Begich will seek to reintroduce a relevant bill. His legislation would remove inequities that leave Alaska Native women vulnerable and unable to pursue justice for domestic violence and sexual assault cases on the same measure as tribal women in the Lower 48 states, who can legally address these issues in tribal court when the offender is non-Native.

Natalie Landreth, an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund explains:

“We are tired of the separate but equal treatment that Alaska tribes receive from courts and Congress. They are tribes just like tribes in the Lower 48 and they are entitled to be treated like all other tribes. These exclusions, which have found their way into numerous bills over the years, say to Alaska’s tribes that they are different and lesser than other tribes. In the case of VAWA, it means that Alaska Native women are less deserving of protection, less important. I find that unconscionable.”

In a post on Facebook Monday afternoon, Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) weighed in on the issue of the equality and protections afforded to Alaska Native women, and the amendments made by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The issue of the “Special Rule for Alaska” was raised by Mudflats contributing editor, and ADN columnist Shannyn Moore in her article HERE.

I know that many people were frustrated after reading Sunday’s Anchorage Daily News column about amendments to the Violence Against Women Act. I share that frustration and that is why I’m reintroducing my bill to address this gap in the law, The Alaska Safe Families and Villages Act. I’ve been working on this bill since I was elected to the Senate because I believe we need to do all we can to prevent and address violence against women wherever it occurs. The bill will allow tribes to use more local control when dealing with alcohol and subsistence related issues—significant factors in many cases of violence and abuse. We have not been able to move this bill so far because the State of Alaska administration opposes it. I can, and I will, be more aggressive with this legislation now that I am on the Indian Affairs Committee.

Begich did not specifically address Murkowski’s role in inserting the amendments to the Violence Against Women Act, nor her response to Moore’s column on her own Facebook page. That response, and Moore’s rebuttal can be read HERE.



8 Responses to “Begich to Reintroduce Safe Villages Act”
  1. Subject: Include Alaska Natives in the Violence Against Women Act

    Hello Alaskans,

    Please join us in support to end domestic violence against Alaskan Native women, children, and families. Ask President Obama, your state legislators, and the Alaska Congressional delegation (Lisa Murkowski, Mark Begich, and Don Young), and Governor Parnell to remove the Alaska tribal exclusion and require all states and tribes to honor all civil domestic violence protection orders! Tribes in Alaska should not be treated differently from tribes outside of Alaska.

    That’s why I created a petition to The Alaska State House, The Alaska State Senate, and 4 others.

    Will you sign this petition? Click here:


  2. Zyxomma says:

    I look at Senator Begich’s face and see a human. I don’t get the same feeling looking at Senator Murkowski.

  3. Pinwheel says:

    How did Sen Begich vote thru out development of the original legislation? Did he oppose Murkowski’s amendment as it was offered and approved? Also, Don Young has a fairly poor voting record when it comes to women’s issues. What about his vote on the Senate bill? The vote in the House was very lopside. n

    • Alaska Pi says:
      Mr Begich voted yes on the final- you can look up his other votes
      Mr Young did not vote on the final. I’m not looking up his others- have had it with that doof.

      • Jag24 says:

        The only good recent contribution that The Congressman only to Those who voted for Him is the nick for Governor Sean Parnell, Captain Zero. That was a few years ago, but it was good.

      • akbright says:

        He evades voting quite a bit. I guess this gives him the ability to fall on either side without commitment. I have had it with him, too. I wish his followers would catch on to his “non-actions” and move on.

    • tallimat says:

      Good questions.
      And thanks for answering PI.

      While we can list our elected officials voting and stand on this issue.
      It’s just best to keep the likes of Dung out of the conservation.
      Pretend he doesn’t exist.

      Oh and shucks, my disco dancing senator has stepped up to the plate.
      Makes me smile.
      It is gonna be a good day.

  4. Alaska Pi says:
    Good job Mr Begich!
    Is not necessarily a safe political thing for you to do but is the right thing to do.
    Very much the right thing.

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