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KNBA News - Bill that would change who can teach sexual education moving forward

5/4/16

Legislation limiting who can provide sex education moving forward

By the Associated Press

A conference committee has adopted the Senate rewrite of Rep. Wes Keller's bill dealing with parental involvement in education and student testing. The bill approved by the committee calls for sex education to be taught by certified teachers under contract with a given school or someone under a teacher's supervision approved by the local school board. Previously the House twice failed to agree to that version. Keller thinks he now has the votes for the Senate version to clear the House.

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British Columbia mining proposal prompts concern in Southeast Alaska community

By the Associated Press

A Canadian company exploring an Alaska mineral prospect near a wildlife preserve is drawing criticism from residents who say the risk is not worth the potential economic benefits.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Constantine Metal Resources Ltd. has applied to expand exploration near the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve in Haines.

The Chilkat River stays open well after other southeast Alaska rivers freeze up. Up to 4,000 bald eagles gather there each year to feed on salmon carcasses.

Constantine officials say they're not sure a mine will ever be built, but if it is, Alaska's stringent regulations will ensure it's done safely.

But critics such as Haines environmental activist Gershon Cohen says a debate on a future mine upstream of important wildlife habitat should start before a company spends millions on exploration.

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Southeast Tribe plans to use business profits to provide governmental services

By Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Southeast Alaska's largest tribal organization wants to expand its service programs. Part of the effort could be funded by profits from a business it's about to purchase.

The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska lists more than 33,000 members.

President Richard Peterson said some don’t get enough attention.

“We divide ourselves and say, ‘They live in Seattle. Why should we serve them?’ Or ‘They’re living in the village. Why do we care?’ We are Tlingit and Haida people. That’s why we care,” he said.

Programs include financial assistance, child care, occupational training, vocational rehabilitation and case management.

But Peterson said most programs reach only part of Southeast Alaska. He and other Central Council officials want that to change.

“We need to create our own income, our own revenue streams that allow us to do what we want with our funds and serve who we want with our funds, wherever they live.”

That income would come from a business purchased by the council.

Richard Rinehart of the TlingitHaida Tribal Business Corp. said one was identified, but it didn’t meet the corporation’s goals.

“The board wanted something that was more strategic, something that had more possibilities for growth in the future. And we were able to find one that is national in scale, they have a national presence, and that we believe we can grow, double (or) triple the size in a relatively short period of time,” Rinehart said.

He said that growth would come because a Native-owned, small business gets a preference when bidding for federal contracts. Many Alaska Native corporations use what’s called the8(a) program to raise revenue.

Rinehart wouldn’t identify the business because of a non-disclosure agreement with the seller. He said an announcement could come this month.

Central Council President Peterson said goals include improved services to veterans and turning its vocational training program into a tribal college.

He also said it’s time to expand Tlingit language programs to include Haida and Sm’álgyax, the Tsimshian language.

“We have to hold each other up. We can’t say this language versus that language. We have to have equality there,” he said.

The Tlingit-Haida Central Council gained authority in March over foster care and some other state services for Native children in the region.

Peterson told tribal assembly delegates that’s an important step toward sovereignty.

“Our families are hurting. They’re broken. The power isn’t in the state to restore our families. It’s within us. And we need them to get out of our way to do so,” he said

The new authority will help the council place Native children in Native foster homes. Aseparate court decision told the state to recognize child support orders issued by tribal courts.