The Board of Directors of the Association of Village Council Presidents adopted eight resolutions at its annual convention in September. Here is a description of these resolutions.
One of the AVCP resolutions calls for the reintroduction and passage of a blocked federal law called the Alaska Tribal Public Safety Empowerment Act. This would allow for an experiment in giving Native Alaskan tribes civil and criminal jurisdiction over certain crimes committed in Native villages. The law would allow tribal jurisdiction on a pilot basis for civil matters and crimes such as domestic and sexual violence, violation of protection orders, crimes against children, assaults on law enforcement and violation drug and alcohol laws.
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkoski first introduced the bill in October 2019. It was blocked on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee without a co-sponsor. The AVCP resolution calls on the Alaska congressional delegation to co-sponsor the legislation.
In a related resolution, AVCP pledged to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The AVCP board called on its own administration to advocate for law enforcement, expand services to support healthy communities, and work with other organizations to address the crisis.
In addition, AVCP called for the passage of legislation that would grant state recognition to the 229 federally listed tribes and tribal organizations in Alaska.
Another resolution calls on the AVCP to hold a field hearing with the congressional delegation from Alaska to discuss the state of salmon in Alaska.
And there is a resolution affirming the AVCP’s commitment “to advocate for the protection of the Bering Sea and its resources”. It also calls for “a partnership through the Bering Sea Tribal Coalition, including supporting the region’s participation in the Bering Intergovernmental Tribal Advisory Council.”
A sixth resolution urges the Alaska legislature and governor to increase funding for the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact. The pact is a government-to-government agreement between the state and the tribes and tribal organizations of Alaska signed in 2017. It enables tribes and tribal organizations to provide child protection services to children and families Alaskan natives. These services would otherwise fall to the state. Native Alaskan children make up 65% of children in the state’s child welfare system, despite making up 15% of the population. The AVCP resolution asserts that more public funds are needed for tribes to provide these child protection services and to recruit and retain staff with a living wage.
A seventh resolution says that AVCP will continue to work to protect the electricity cost equalization program for rural communities.
Finally, a resolution recognizes and applauds the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation’s service to the region throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.