KNBA - KBC

9/16/14 - Alaska Native speakers' attorneys spell out election translation needs

Sep 14, 2014

KYUK's Daysha Eaton reports Native American Rights Fund attorneys representing Yup'ik and Gwitchin speakers have responded to the state's plan for providing translations for elections. The state's proposed plan addresses a state Supreme Court order to improve translation of voting materials into Native languages before the Nov. 4 election. The NARF attorneys asked that the state have: 

1)  Bilingual help in every community where it's needed, in advance of and on election day.

2.  Written translations of ballot measures, including ancillary information provided in English such as pro and con arguments, neutral summaries, and information on early and absentee voting and how to register.

3.   Translations and translators to address dialect differences, including review of written materials to ensure accuracy.

4.  Posters before the election announcing the materials are available, and who to contact or where to pick up the materials, as well as posters in polling places on election day notifying people bi-lingual assistance is available.

5.  In-person training for all the translators to go through the new materials and teach translators how to use them.

The suit was brought by the villages of Togiak and Hooper Bay. There are 8,000 to 10,000 Yup'ik speakers, and 500 to 1,000 Gwitchin speakers in Alaska.

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan has agreed to participate in a debate on fisheries issues on Oct. 1 in Kodiak after all. The campaign of U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, and others, had criticized Sullivan for a decision to forego the debate.

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An Alaska Court system task force will examine the state's handling of abuse and neglect of the elderly, including guardianship and conservatorship. 

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More than two dozen health centers in Alaska will receive federal funding to hire staff, extend hours, and expand services. The $5.3 million in funding under the Affordable Care Act will help the centers reach some 7,700 new patients. Each facility will receive close to $200,000.