U.S. Attorney General William Barr said he plans to see for himself the hardship crime imposes in rural Alaska.
“I think Alaska Native women, you know, face unacceptably high levels of violence in very remote areas, and I’ve actually scheduled a trip up to Alaska specifically to visit some of these communities,” Barr said in response to questions from Sen. Lisa Murkowski at an appropriations hearing.
Barr called for creative and effective solutions to help a “vulnerable population.”
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that takes a new approach by essentially establishing pockets of “Indian country” in Alaska, at least on a trial basis. The renewal of the Violence Against Women Act would empower tribal courts in up to five Alaska villages to take up cases of domestic abuse and other violent crimes, even where the suspect is non-Native. An amendment by Congressman Don Young strengthened the proposed pilot program by saying the jurisdiction should be over an entire village.
The Senate has not voted on the VAWA renewal bill yet. Barr provided no detail about the timing or the itinerary of his upcoming trip.
- Sovereign Bill voices Molly Mabray in "Molly of Denali," the first Alaska Native lead character in a nationally-broadcast children's program.
- Pride week in Juneau featured something new this year: a party just for LGBTQ middle school and high school students.
- The fire has been burning since early June in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. This past weekend, winds spread the fire to within 2 miles of the Sterling Highway.
- Alaska state transportation officials confirmed that the MV Columbia will not sail past Sept. 4. The state plans to assign the ferry’s 62 crew members to other vessels.