A study ordered by Congress into safety and justice for Native Americans has condemned the situation in Alaskan villages as the worst in the United States, reports the Anchorage Daily News. The report, by the bipartisan Indian Law & Order Commission, devoted a blistering 30-page chapter solely to Alaska and faulted the legal logic and policy considerations used by state government to frustrate expanded jurisdictions for tribal courts.
The highly centralized, top-down approach to law enforcement and governance by the state has neglected huge swaths of Alaska, leading to Third World conditions and shocking rates of domestic violence, suicide and alcohol abuse, the report concluded. At least 75 communities in Alaska lack any law enforcement presence, while the state’s village public safety program has been underfunded, understaffed and inappropriately unarmed, the report said. It said safety problems are endemic in American Tribal communities but are “systematically worst” in Alaska, reinforcing discriminatory attitudes about Alaska Natives and their capacity to govern.