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May 18, 2021

When is Fishing a Crime?

  “If I got the means to do it, I will do it,” Phillip said. “Even if you are breaking the law?” asked his lawyer, James Davis Jr. “Well, if it comes down to feeding my family, yes,” Phillip answered. A radio report from KYUK in Bethel made me pull over the Subaru this week. I was listening to the story of Bethel fishermen being prosecuted by the state of Alaska for subsistence fishing during a state-ordered closure. This was Les Misérables, Alaskanized. Last summer these Native fishermen defied a fishery closure to catch salmon to feed their families. The…

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Murky Weighs In, We’ve Moved On

You’d think that a former governor who presided over the most corrupt government in Alaska since statehood would stay home and write his memoirs or something. You’d think a former Governor whose own Chief of Staff served a prison sentence for illegal campaign contributions would thank his lucky stars that Chief of Staff didn’t tell the Feds everything he knew and would keep discretely quiet. You’d think a failed candidate who helped give us Sarah Palin would have the simple decency to maintain an embarrassed silence. You’d think the man who single-handedly killed a national bank and seriously wounded a regional Native corporation would…

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‘Choose Respect’ Fails To Protect Native Women – Diane E Benson

(Diane Benson is a writer and professor of Native studies at the University of Alaska, and is a recent recipient of the national Bonnie Heavy-Runner Advocacy Award in recognition of outstanding service to victims of crime in Indian country.) It’s a method, marches. Historically marches are held to protest (civil rights), to get from one point to another (relocation) and to parade power (military). Generally, the word indicates walking lock-step whether literally or metaphorically. Choose Respect marches for change. But what are we trying to change, a social behavior? The march says Alaska is a violent place and we need…

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What You Can Do About SB21

The Republican-dominated Senate just voted to give Alaska’s future away. So, what are you going to do now? Disneyland? Wrong answer. The savings that Alaska has accrued from it’s oil tax revenue will now go straight into the pockets of the most profitable corporations in the history of the world. We have no guarantees of any increased oil production, jobs, or exploration. History tells us we won’t get any of it. For a summary of what happened, with quotes and video clips of important moments, click HERE. Nine senators (7 Democrats and 2 Republicans) stood up for you, and withstood…

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Senate Votes to Give Big Oil Billions

Here’s your highlight reel from the Senate oil tax debate. Late Wednesday night the Alaska State Senate voted 11-9 to give billions from the state treasury to the oil industry. A 10-10 vote would have killed the bill. Amendments and debate took all day, and went well into the night. The bottom line is that the senate voted to give away the farm, in exchange for nothing. No increased promise of production, exploration, or jobs. It might incentivize them to do something though. Magically. If we’re lucky. That’s the argument of the 11 Senators who voted for this historically bad…

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GOP’s Slash & Burn Values

“Family values.” It’s something we hear a lot around election season from the Republican Party. It’s code for “queers are bad and ladies are baby ovens.” It has nothing to do with healthy families. Case in point: This past week, the Republicans in the Alaska House of Representatives, on some sort of “look-how-fiscally-conservative-we-are” display, slashed and burned the state operating budget. The hypocrisy of their campaign stances comes into pure light when you see how they are spending our money. Pre-kindergarten education was slashed, as was funding for Best Beginnings early education and the Parents as Teachers program. A two-year…

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Congress, Meet Tongass

  By Geoff Mueller Washington D.C., rife with politicians and paved with legislative hurdles, is a far cry from the Alaska backcountry. But that hasn’t stopped Juneau-based flyfishing guide Matt Boline from ditching his waders, donning a suit, and entering the melée. Earlier this week Boline traveled to the nation’s capital as part of a commercial and sport fishermen delegation pressing Congress to enact stronger protections for salmon and trout in the country’s largest national forest. The Tongass National Forest is located in southeast Alaska, home to one of the world’s largest and healthiest wild salmon fisheries. Currently, 65% of…

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Murkowski Disingenuous Says NARF

Natalie Landreth is a senior staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in Anchorage, Alaska. Founded in 1970, NARF is the oldest and largest nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide.     By Natalie Landreth Last Thursday, March 7, President Obama signed into law the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Nationwide, many celebrated the new provisions allowing tribal governments to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual assault. It was a long overdue fix for a jurisdictional loophole. Absent from the press coverage…

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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…

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Murkowski Responds to Accusations

Sunday afternoon Senator Lisa Murkowski borrowed a move from Sarah Palin and responded on her Facebook page to an article I wrote yesterday which first appeared in The Anchorage Daily News, and on The Mudflats. “It’s incredibly important to clear up the confusion created by Shannyn Moore’s piece today — and I want Alaskans to hear it directly from me. The amendment she misconstrued focused on tribal jurisdiction over non-Natives who are accused of domestic or sexual assault on reservation land. Of Alaska’s 229 federally-recognized tribes, Alaska only has one reservation: Metlakatla. My amendment was introduced to spell out in…

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