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Indian Law and Order Commission pushes for reform in Alaska

The Indian Law and Order Commission met in Alaska on Wednesday and urged state officials to recognize tribal sovereignty in order to improve public safety in Native villages.

Troy Eid, the chairman of the commission, said local control will make rural areas safer. He said the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 is keeping Native people in a paternalistic system.

"What's so shocking about Alaska is that you have the most rural state in the country and you have the most centralized law enforcement in terms of how the state provides -- and fails to provide -- services," Eid said at the meeting, The Anchorage Daily News reported. "We cling to this model because we know it and because there's a lot of perverse pleasure taken in controlling the lives of other people ... The colonial model, which is alive and well in Alaska, does not work."

The commission is calling on Congress to treat former reservation lands that are placed in trust as Indian Country. Alaska tribes are currently excluded from the land-into-trust process at the Bureau of Indian Affairs but ongoing litigation might change that.

Alaska Natives are also excluded from the tribal jurisdiction provisions of S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The commission is calling on Congress to repeal the exclusion.

State officials have resisted the recognition of tribal sovereignty.

Get the Story:
Chairman of law and order panel says Alaska should stop fighting tribal rights (The Anchorage Daily News 12/5)

Indian Law and Order Commission Report:
A Roadmap For Making Native America Safer (November 2013)

Related Stories:
APRN: Debate about law enforcement for Alaska Native villages (11/20)
Indian Law and Order Commission sets timeline for reform (11/13)
Indian Law and Order Commission supports tribal authority (11/12)
Indian Law and Order Commission releases public safety report (11/6)

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