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Alaska Native

Governor Bill Walker says his priority is for Legislators to pass a fully-funded budget, not where it's done. A Legislative attorney earlier this week said the move from Juneau to Anchorage would be illegal without the Governor's approval.

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Joaqlin Estus / KNBA

May 1, 2015

Over the past four days, we have brought you stories that go out into the field for an in-depth look at Alaska's rural sanitation situation - a series we call "Kick the Bucket."  We have seen how the lack of modern sanitation is linked to disease as people strain the limits of their clean water supply. And we have looked at the implications of decreasing funding and looming maintenance expenses in villages with a limited cash economy.   Today we’ll wrap up the series by trying to look into the future.

Joaqlin Estus / KNBA

April 29, 2015

Even rural communities that have raised the money to build modern sanitation systems face the threat of their ultimate failure due to the lack of funding for operations and maintenance, wiping away whatever health gains were achieved.

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation Environmental Health and Engineering Department provides technical assistance to water treatment plant operators in the region. Here’s a bit of the conversation during a recent teleconference.

Bill Griffith, Mike Black / ADEC, ANTHC

April 28, 2015

Most of us have never lived with without running water at home. Today, we’ll learn about some people who are just getting used to it, and others who would like to get used to having running water. In the second segment of the series Kick the Bucket, we’ll also hear some of the reasons Alaska hasn’t made modern plumbing a simple fact of life for all Alaskans.

Dan Winkleman, the president of the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC), described a recent phone call from his mother-in-law in Kwethluk.

April 27

How many times a day do you wash your hands? 

If you have running water, you probably wash your hands many times a day, each time in clean, warm water. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, hand washing consumes one gallon of water per wash.

Joaqlin Estus / KNBA

April 27, 2015

How the lack of running water and flush toilets affects public health in Alaska

Legislators debate states’ rights and constitutionality of a state law to seize federal lands

Monday, legislators voted on a controversial bill that would seize some 170 million acres of federal land in Alaska, excluding national parks and the military. Opponents said the bill is unconstitutional, and, with a fiscal crisis at hand, now is not the time to begin pointless litigation. But bill supporters said Alaskans should be able to fight for what is rightfully theirs. The bill passed 27 to 11 along caucus lines. It will now be sent to the Senate.

Historical trauma at the root of substance abuse and other mental health maladies

An Ojibwe woman and independent journalist recently visited Alaska for a series of stories on historical trauma and Native American mental health practices. Mary Annette Pember said the troubled lives of Native Americans reflect their troubled history.

At least 20 distinct Native languages are spoken in Alaska, and every year, the population of speakers gets a little smaller. A Golovin senator now wants to reverse that trend by encouraging immersion language charter schools.

Democrat Donny Olson introduced a bill on Friday that would create a special certification process for instructors of Native languages, so that it would be easier for them to teach in schools.  He’s hoping to build on the success of legislation recognizing Alaska’s Native languages as official languages in their own right.

Alaska Native advocates ask Walker to ensure the Indian Child Welfare Act is properly implemented in Alaska

The Alaska Federation of Natives, and all the regional Native nonprofit organizations in the state are asking Governor Bill Walker to change his position in a case involving the adoption of an Alaska Native child. They say the state’s position in the case Tununuk II vs. the state of Alaska erects barriers between tribal children and tribal homes. The state has said it’s only arguing for compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

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