Legislature(2015 - 2016)BARNES 124

02/19/2015 08:00 AM House COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

Audio Topic
08:08:14 AM Start
08:08:29 AM Presentation: Alaska 4-h Youth in Governance
08:40:51 AM HJR3|| HCR1
09:59:13 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
        HJR  3-CONGRESS:ALASKA NATIVE TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY                                                                    
             HCR  1-TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY PROCLAMATION                                                                         
8:40:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TILTON announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  JOINT  RESOLUTION NO.  3,  Urging  members of  the  Alaska                                                               
delegation   to  the   United   States   Congress  to   introduce                                                               
substantially  similar legislation  to the  Alaska Safe  Families                                                               
and Villages  Act of 2013;  urging the United States  Congress to                                                               
affirm  the criminal  jurisdiction of  Alaska tribal  governments                                                               
over  tribal members  within the  boundaries  of their  villages;                                                               
urging  the  United States  Congress  to  cooperate with  tribes'                                                               
efforts  to  transfer  Native  land   to  trust;  and  supporting                                                               
multilateral negotiations  between tribal  governments, nontribal                                                               
municipalities,  and   the  state  and  federal   governments  to                                                               
delineate  clearly tribal  geographical  jurisdictions and  HOUSE                                                               
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION  NO. 1, Urging the  Governor to acknowledge                                                               
officially  the  sovereignty  of Alaska  tribal  governments,  to                                                               
create  clear   and  consistent  policies  for   increased  state                                                               
collaboration  and partnership  with  tribes, and  to direct  the                                                               
attorney  general to  conduct a  complete review  of the  state's                                                               
litigation against  Alaska Native tribes; urging  the Governor to                                                               
acknowledge the  inherent criminal jurisdiction of  Alaska tribal                                                               
governments over  tribal members  within the boundaries  of their                                                               
villages; urging  the Governor to cooperate  with tribes' efforts                                                               
to  transfer Native  land to  trust; and  urging the  Governor to                                                               
support  multilateral  negotiations between  tribal  governments,                                                               
nontribal municipalities,  and the state government  to delineate                                                               
clearly tribal geographical jurisdictions.                                                                                      
8:41:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON, Alaska State  Legislature, speaking as the                                                               
sponsor  of  HJR  3  and  HCR   1,  began  by  saying  that  both                                                               
resolutions are  about making the  state's public  safety dollars                                                               
stretch farther in  rural Alaska.  The two  resolutions intend to                                                               
foster collaboration  between Alaska Native tribes  and the state                                                               
in  terms of  criminal justice  issues.   In  a broader  context,                                                               
[Alaska Natives] are the third  fastest growing prison population                                                               
in the  state and  they are  growing four  times faster  than the                                                               
general  population   of  the  state.     The  aforementioned  is                                                               
occurring, he pointed out, while  the statewide criminal activity                                                               
is slowing  and there are  more nonviolent offenders.   He opined                                                               
that  because there  is  a prison  population  that continues  to                                                               
increase, the criminal justice agencies  of the state, as well as                                                               
the Department  of Health and  Social Services,  are experiencing                                                               
an increase in  costs.  In fact, if the  prison population of the                                                               
state continues  to grow  at its  current rate,  in two  to three                                                               
years  another prison  the size  and cost  of Goose  Creek Prison                                                               
will need to  be built.  Representative Edgmon  explained that he                                                               
introduced the  resolutions in  the hope  that [the  state] could                                                               
better recognize  the value of  Alaska Native tribes in  terms of                                                               
[addressing]   criminal  justice   activities,   albeit  at   the                                                               
misdemeanor  and lower  level.   The result  of such  recognition                                                               
would lower costs of criminal  activity as well as produce better                                                               
outcomes.    He then  noted  the  growing movement  of  reforming                                                               
justice measures in a manner  that looks more toward the victims,                                                               
needs of the offenders, and  impact to the community.  Thirty-two                                                               
states, including  Texas, Kentucky, and South  Dakota, have taken                                                               
steps  toward instituting  "smart  justice" and  saved  a lot  of                                                               
money  in the  process.   Furthermore,  Texas  has experienced  a                                                               
decrease in  its recidivism  rate by  one-quarter, saved  some $3                                                               
billion in  building new  prisons, and  experienced a  20 percent                                                               
decrease in the crime rates.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  opined  that   Alaska  tribes  have  been                                                               
wronged for  a long  time and  there have  been many  studies and                                                               
committees that  have found that  the centralized  justice system                                                               
in  Alaska  operating with  hubs,  remote  Village Public  Safety                                                               
Officers (VPSO), Alaska State Troopers,  and the court system has                                                               
not been  that effective.   Family  violence, alcohol  abuse, and                                                               
suicide rates are at epidemic  proportions and continue to spiral                                                               
upwards in  rural Alaska.  Therefore,  he argued for the  need to                                                               
move  past the  [centralized  justice system]  and engage  tribes                                                               
more  at the  community level.    He highlighted  that the  court                                                               
system has  stepped up in  terms of relationships with  tribes in                                                               
the state.  These two  resolutions call for greater collaboration                                                               
and more consistent  policies between the state  and tribes while                                                               
recognizing  the  strong  differences of  opinion  regarding  the                                                               
state  and   tribal  government  powers.     Although  there  are                                                               
unanswered  questions  with  regard   to  the  extent  of  tribal                                                               
jurisdiction  in  the state,  the  cost  of litigation  has  only                                                               
grown.  Therefore, the better  approach would be to embrace state                                                               
and tribal governmental relationships  such that an atmosphere of                                                               
respect  and collaboration  is  created.   Representative  Edgmon                                                               
clarified  that the  resolutions  aren't  promoting the  co-equal                                                               
treatment  of  tribes  in  the state  government,  but  they  all                                                               
operate under  the Alaska State Constitution  and the presumption                                                               
that  "we  are  a state  as  a  whole."    Tribes have  a  unique                                                               
relationship  with the  federal government  and other  areas that                                                               
allow them to  provide services and programs at  that local level                                                               
that, he  opined, can  be helpful  in addressing  crime, reducing                                                               
the number  of prisoners,  and creating  a better  overall public                                                               
safety atmosphere.  He then pointed  out that [HCR 1] is directed                                                               
toward the  governor while  [HJR 3]  is directed  toward Alaska's                                                               
Congressional delegation.  Both  resolutions request that broader                                                               
steps be taken toward recognizing  that a better relationship can                                                               
be  had with  tribes.   He reminded  the committee  that although                                                               
resolutions  aren't binding  and don't  carry the  force of  law,                                                               
they  carry an  important official  message from  the legislature                                                               
that  it  values  a  stronger   relationship  between  the  state                                                               
government  and Alaska  Native  tribal  government, which  should                                                               
produce   verifiable  outcomes   and  a   better  public   safety                                                               
environment  in  the  state's rural  communities.    In  closing,                                                               
Representative  Edgmon mentioned  that he  has worked  with Chair                                                               
Tilton  to amend  the resolutions,  specifically  removal of  the                                                               
term "sovereignty" as there are  differences of opinion as to its                                                               
meaning and  connotation.  The aforementioned  maintains the true                                                               
intent   of  the   resolutions,   which  is   to  foster   better                                                               
relationships  with tribes  to  promote  better criminal  justice                                                               
services at the community level.                                                                                                
8:51:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES noted  her appreciation  of the  intent of                                                               
the resolutions as  well as the revisions.  She  then requested a                                                               
brief  overview of  the unique  relationship between  the federal                                                               
government and Alaska Native tribes.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  informed the committee that  Alaska Native                                                               
tribes   were   recognized  in   the   late   1990s  through   an                                                               
administrative order.   There are  roughly 228  tribes throughout                                                               
the  state.    Through  the federal  recognition,  Alaska  Native                                                               
tribes have  a unique government-to-government  relationship with                                                               
the federal agencies  that allow them to  capture revenue streams                                                               
and  certain  services  that  are outside  the  normal  range  of                                                               
municipalities.     These  resolutions  suggest  that   a  better                                                               
relationship  between the  Alaska Native  tribes and  the state's                                                               
criminal  justice  agencies  would  afford them  the  ability  to                                                               
access  and  obtain  federal  revenue   for  resources  and  [law                                                               
enforcement] presence not present today.                                                                                        
8:53:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES  inquired  as  to  whether  there  is  any                                                               
history between the state and  Alaska Native tribes that would be                                                               
relevant to these resolutions.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE   EDGMON   opined  that   Representative   Hughes'                                                               
question  articulates  that  the legislature  knows  very  little                                                               
about Alaska Native tribes.   In fact, Representative Edgmon said                                                               
that although  he is of  Alaska Native  descent and was  born and                                                               
raised  in rural  Alaska,  he  doesn't know  a  lot about  Alaska                                                               
Native tribes.                                                                                                                  
8:54:45 AM                                                                                                                    
TIM  CLARK,  Staff,  Representative Bryce  Edgmon,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, explained that HCR 1  is designed to demonstrate the                                                               
state's willingness to work with  Alaska Native tribes on ways to                                                               
alleviate  crimes,  social  ills,  and community  distress.    As                                                               
mentioned earlier,  HCR 1  endorses strengthening  the authority,                                                               
responsibility,  and  capacity  of  local  Alaska  Native  tribal                                                               
government  with regard  to  public safety  and  the delivery  of                                                               
justice in  their communities.   Both resolutions,  in particular                                                               
HCR  1, were  derived  from the  findings of  over  a half  dozen                                                               
commissions  that  have  met  over   25  years.    All  of  those                                                               
commissions   agreed  that   greater   control,  better   defined                                                               
jurisdiction,  and increased  accountability at  the local  level                                                               
will lead to swifter response  to violence and criminal activity,                                                               
increased crime  prevention, and increased  rehabilitative rather                                                               
than punitive sentencing models.   The aforementioned, he opined,                                                               
will work  significantly toward achieving  healthier communities.                                                               
The current iteration  of HCR 1 requests  the governor officially                                                               
recognize  tribes, particularly  to detail  clear and  consistent                                                               
policies   for   increased   state   agency   collaboration   and                                                               
partnership  with  tribes.    He opined  that  state  and  tribal                                                               
relations and in  turn tribal communities can  be vastly improved                                                               
with  state  policy  that emphasizes  collaboration  as  well  as                                                               
consistency  and clarity  in policies.   The  resolution, HCR  1,                                                               
also urges  the governor to  direct the attorney general  (AG) to                                                               
conduct  a  complete review  of  the  state's current  litigation                                                               
against  Alaska Native  tribes to  determine whether  some of  it                                                               
would  be   deemed  unnecessary  if  working   toward  a  greater                                                               
partnership  with  Alaska  Native   tribes.    Furthermore,  such                                                               
collaboration  would  save  the  state money.    Mr.  Clark  then                                                               
directed  attention  to  the  third   resolve,  which  refers  to                                                               
criminal  jurisdictions  over   tribal  members  within  accepted                                                               
boundaries of rural  villages.  He noted  that the aforementioned                                                               
is a recommendation  of the Indian Law &  Order Commission, which                                                               
devoted an  entire chapter  of its 2013  report to  Alaska Native                                                               
tribal issues.  This recommendation  is also endorsed by the U.S.                                                               
Attorney  General's Advisory  Committee  on  American Indian  and                                                               
Alaska Native children exposed to  violence.  Mr. Clark mentioned                                                               
that this is something Congress  could confirm without addressing                                                               
the  notion  of  Indian  country.     The  basic  intent  of  the                                                               
resolution  is to  increase authority  and responsibility  at the                                                               
local level while allowing tribes,  through potential new federal                                                               
funding  streams, to  build better  institutions and  capacity to                                                               
undertake such  responsibilities.  The  fourth resolve  speaks to                                                               
land and  trust issues and is  related to a recent  Department of                                                               
Interior (DOI) decision that would  allow Alaska Native tribes to                                                               
transfer  land into  trust.   Allowing  Alaska  Native tribes  to                                                               
transfer land  into trust  is one of  the more  controversial and                                                               
complex issues  that will likely  be eliminated in  amendments as                                                               
it's  not  the core  intent.    The  fifth  resolve is  merely  a                                                               
statement urging  the governor  to support  eventual negotiations                                                               
between tribal  governments, nontribal municipalities,  the state                                                               
government,   and   federal   government   regarding   geographic                                                               
jurisdictions.   The resolution,  he emphasized,  is aimed  at an                                                               
eventuality in the future.                                                                                                      
9:01:56 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TILTON opened public testimony.                                                                                           
9:02:20 AM                                                                                                                    
LIZ  MEDICINE  CROW,  President/CEO,  First  Alaskans  Institute,                                                               
explained  that  the  First Alaskans  Institute  is  a  statewide                                                               
Native  nonprofit  that  focuses on  leadership  development  and                                                               
through  which  there is  a  public  policy fellowship  in  which                                                               
fellows are placed in offices  in the legislature.  This session,                                                               
fellows  are  placed   in  the  offices  of   Senator  Olson  and                                                               
Representative Kito.   The First Alaskans  Institute also focuses                                                               
on  community engagement  through grants  that are  given through                                                               
community investments.   The nonprofit  also publishes  the First                                                             
Alaskans  magazine.   She  then  noted  that the  First  Alaskans                                                             
Institute  has the  Alaska Native  Policy Center  and one  of the                                                               
most consistent  themes from communities throughout  the state is                                                               
the inability to form great  relationships between tribes and the                                                               
state.  She said she is  most excited with the resolution because                                                               
it symbolizes the state's progress as  it continues to be a state                                                               
known for  its innovation.   A blockade  for that  innovation has                                                               
been the  inconsistent treatment and relationship  status between                                                               
the state government and the  Alaska Native tribal governments of                                                               
the state.  As  a tribal citizen of Kake, a  citizen of the State                                                               
of Alaska,  and a  citizen of the  U.S. government,  Ms. Medicine                                                               
Crow said it  would seem she would have three  forums by which to                                                               
have  services and  protection provided  to her.   However,  that                                                               
doesn't exist.   She expressed the need for the  state and tribes                                                               
to  be  able to  bring  forward  a  more functional  and  healthy                                                               
relationship to  determine how to  best bring  resources together                                                               
to  address the  challenges of  the citizenship  while protecting                                                               
them  as  well.    She  reminded  the  committee  that  the  most                                                               
vulnerable  [Alaska Native]  people are  continuing to  be harmed                                                               
and  harmed at  greater rates.   Therefore,  [HCR 1]  provides an                                                               
opportunity  for the  state  to  recognize the  way  it has  been                                                               
operating  hasn't effectively  addressed  the  issues [of  Alaska                                                               
Natives].    These resolutions  provide  an  opportunity to  find                                                               
other  innovative ways  to leverage  the abilities  and strengths                                                               
that exist rather  than fighting a jurisdictional  war because in                                                               
the  interim  the  people  are being  harmed;  these  people  are                                                               
citizens of  the state, the  tribes, and the  federal government.                                                               
In closing, Ms.  Medicine Crow stated her support for  both HCR 1                                                               
and   HJR   3   as  well   as   making   government-to-government                                                               
relationships  a priority  for the  state not  only because  it's                                                               
fiscally prudent,  but more importantly  because it's  better for                                                               
the citizens of the state.                                                                                                      
9:07:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD inquired  as to  the current  litigation                                                               
and issues between the state and Alaska Native tribes.                                                                          
MS.  MEDICINE CROW  pointed  out that  there  is litigation  with                                                               
respect to the  Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA),  Office of Child                                                               
Services.  These  cases are troubling because  whatever the legal                                                               
arguments when  ICWA provisions for placement  are triggered, the                                                               
[Alaska  Native] children,  families, and  communities are  being                                                               
harmed.   A  respectful  government-to-government approach  would                                                               
help create  a pause during  which consideration can be  given to                                                               
what is  in the best interest  of the children.   Another area in                                                               
which  there are  issues is  with  regard to  voting and  whether                                                               
equal and equitable  access to voting is being  provided in terms                                                               
of  language, materials,  and polling  stations.  She noted  that                                                               
there  are other  situations within  the Department  of Law  that                                                               
would allow the attorney general  time to reflect on its position                                                               
and principle  of practice in  dealing with Native  tribes around                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
9:10:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  asked if Ms. Medicine  Crow was supportive                                                               
of  the proposed  [amendments to  the resolutions]  to streamline                                                               
and   eliminate  some   of  the   conflicting  language   in  the                                                               
MS. MEDICINE CROW  said that although she only  saw the amendment                                                               
this morning,  she believes  the sponsor knows  what is  best for                                                               
the   resolutions  and   the   processes   in  the   legislature.                                                               
Therefore, she said she would wait to see the result.                                                                           
9:11:19 AM                                                                                                                    
ROD ARNO,  Executive Director, Alaska Outdoor  Council, expressed                                                               
concern with  the last  resolve of HJR  3, which  relates support                                                               
for the  clear delineation of tribal  geographical jurisdictions.                                                               
The concern,  he specified,  is in  terms of  the impact  of such                                                               
delineation on  the contiguous fish  and game  management regime,                                                               
particularly  with migratory  animals and  fish stocks  that pass                                                               
through 220-plus Native  areas, on a sustained yield  basis.  Mr.                                                               
Arno said he  hasn't seen the earlier mentioned  amendment to HJR
3  that would  change this  aspect  of the  resolution, but  will                                                               
continue  to  follow the  legislation  to  ensure the  matter  is                                                               
addressed for all Alaskans.                                                                                                     
9:13:07 AM                                                                                                                    
MARY  BISHOP,  referred to  a  2/26/97  Alaska State  Legislature                                                               
document  entitled  "What does  Indian  Country  Really Mean  for                                                               
Alaska?"  that  she  submitted  to   the  committee.    She  then                                                               
encouraged the legislature  to oppose HCR 1 and HJR  3, moving of                                                               
Alaska  Native   lands  into  federal  trust,   and  establishing                                                               
geographic boundaries  of tribal jurisdictions.   She opined that                                                               
both resolutions  encourage the  establishment of  Indian Country                                                               
in  Alaska,  but Alaska  Native  leaders  rejected that  type  of                                                               
settlement in  the 1960s as  the Alaska Native  Claims Settlement                                                               
Act  (ANCSA)   was  being  developed.     Village  leaders  voted                                                               
overwhelming  in support  of  the  corporate settlement  instead.                                                               
She acknowledged the  high rates of social ills  in rural Alaska,                                                               
but pointed  out that the same  situation exists in the  Lower 48                                                               
reservations.   Therefore,  Indian Country  status doesn't  solve                                                               
the problem  [of social ills].   Ms.  Bishop then opined  that in                                                               
general, the  Lower 48 reservations  don't serve as a  good model                                                               
for rural Alaska villages.  However,  she agreed with the idea of                                                               
an  innovative   approach,  which  she  opined   doesn't  include                                                               
thinking in terms of Indian  Country.  She highlighted the Choose                                                               
Respect program as an example of innovation.                                                                                    
MS.  BISHOP   opined  that  rural   justice  and   problems  with                                                               
criminality in  the villages is  pushing the agenda to  obtain an                                                               
Indian Country  designation, which  she characterized as  a smoke                                                               
screen over other features of  Indian Country, including taxation                                                               
and  regulation.   The  state, she  offered,  is prohibited  from                                                               
regulating  and  taxing land  in  Indian  Country as  the  tribal                                                               
entity actually  has the  authority to tax  and regulate.   After                                                               
the Ninth Circuit Court of  Appeals' unanimous ruling in favor of                                                               
Venetie, Judge Fernandez wrote the following:                                                                                   
     We had been  asked to blow up a  blizzard of litigation                                                                    
     throughout the State of Alaska  as each and every tribe                                                                    
     seeks  to test  the limits  of its  power over  what it                                                                    
     deems  to be  Indian Country.   There  are hundreds  of                                                                    
     tribes and  the litigation permutations are  as vast as                                                                    
     the capacity of  fine human minds can make  them.  They                                                                    
     can include  claims to freedom from  state taxation and                                                                    
     regulation.   Claims  to regulate  and  tax for  tribal                                                                    
     purposes, assertions of sovereignty  over vast areas of                                                                    
     Alaska, and  even assertions  that tribes  can regulate                                                                    
     and tax the various  corporations created to hold ANCSA                                                                    
     land.  The  latter assertion would give  the tribes the                                                                    
     power to control, regulate,  and tax those corporations                                                                    
     out of existence and would  provide a fruitful area for                                                                    
     intertribal  conflict. This  no  imaginative parade  of                                                                    
MS.  BISHOP,  in  conclusion,  encouraged  the  committee  to  be                                                               
extremely  cautious with  any consideration  of tribal  land that                                                               
goes into  trust or might  promote the status of  Indian Country.                                                               
She reiterated the  need to consider innovative  ideas to address                                                               
rural  justice as  well as  suicide and  other problems  in rural                                                               
9:21:25 AM                                                                                                                    
WAYNE HEIMER  said he was  gratified that the  term "sovereignty"                                                               
is  [to be]  eliminated  from  [HCR 1].    However, he  expressed                                                               
uncertainty that  the concept of  sovereignty could  be separated                                                               
from  this issue  or the  resolution's intent.   Sovereignty,  he                                                               
offered,  is an  abstract concept.   He  noted that  he has  been                                                               
pondering  sovereignty  since  Bureau  of  Indian  Affairs  (BIA)                                                               
Secretary  Ada Deer  administratively  recognized  the tribes  in                                                               
Alaska.   Mr.  Heimer opined  that using  the concept  of special                                                               
municipal regulations  instead of the term  sovereignty creates a                                                               
situation that  doesn't currently exist.   The language  in ANCSA                                                               
was  incredibly  strong and  such  rights  as aboriginal  titles,                                                               
claims, etcetera do not presently exist  and would have to be re-                                                               
created  if that's  the  path  chosen.     Mr.  Heimer said  that                                                               
although freedom  is a human  impulse, to secure the  blessing of                                                               
community people have to compromise  their individuality.  Alaska                                                               
is  trying  to secure  the  blessings  of community,  he  opined,                                                               
without making  the necessary compromises.   Although he  said he                                                               
respected   the  human   yearning   for  self-determination   and                                                               
recognized the practical and  economic benefits of government-to-                                                               
government contracting, he encouraged  the committee to carefully                                                               
weigh the  risk to the  greater Alaska community for  the romance                                                               
of sovereignty  and the risk it  carries.  For those  who believe                                                               
the federal approach is an  appropriate path, Mr. Heimer reminded                                                               
the committee  of U.S. Secretary  of the Interior  Sally Jewell's                                                               
recent  visit and  the degree  of  respect she  had for  Alaska's                                                               
9:25:26 AM                                                                                                                    
GREGORY  RAZO,  Member, Alaska  Federation  of  Natives Board  of                                                               
Directors, began by  informing the committee that he  has been an                                                               
attorney in Alaska  since 1984 and is a member  of the Cook Inlet                                                               
Region  Incorporated  (CIRI);  co-chair   of  the  Alaska  Native                                                               
Justice Center; and president of  the Alaska Legal Services Board                                                               
of Directors.  He then related support  for both HJR 3 and HCR 1.                                                               
Speaking  to an  earlier question  about the  federal Indian  law                                                               
that  applies   in  Alaska,  Mr.   Razo  pointed  out   that  the                                                               
responsibility to Native  Americans, that is tribes,  is found in                                                               
Article  1, Section  8, of  the United  States Constitution.   He                                                               
explained that  by extension, the  passage of  the aforementioned                                                               
article extends the authority to  engage in relations with tribes                                                               
to the  executive and judicial  branches of government.   Article                                                               
1,  Section 8,  he opined,  places the  tribes firmly  within the                                                               
constitutional  fabric of  the nation.    The aforementioned  has                                                               
been  extended through  case law  and congressional  statute over                                                               
the years.  The trust  obligation derived from Article 1, Section                                                               
8,  has been  the  basis  to support  development  in Alaska  and                                                               
throughout the United States of  tribal institutions.  This trust                                                               
obligation, he  emphasized, is the highest  responsibility of the                                                               
U.S. to  any of its  citizens, which  was recognized in  the case                                                               
Seminole Nation v. United States [316  US 286, 62 S. Ct. 1049, 86                                                             
L. Ed.  1480 - Supreme  Court, 1942].   The obligation  was first                                                               
discussed,  however,  in The  Cherokee  Nation  v. The  State  of                                                             
Georgia [30 US  1, 8 L. Ed. 25,  8 L. Ed. 2d 25  - Supreme Court,                                                             
1831].    Over the  last  40-plus  years  in Alaska  since  ANCSA                                                               
changed  federal  Indian  policy, corporations  and  tribes  have                                                               
worked together  to develop institutions  to take care  of Alaska                                                               
Natives.    He  opined  that   the  two  have  created  the  most                                                               
innovative,    creative,     and    successful    community-based                                                               
organizations  in  the  state.     The  aforementioned  has  been                                                               
achieved largely in the absence  of state intervention.  However,                                                               
the state has provided support  for the development of health and                                                               
social  service institutions  within  [Alaska Native]  nonprofits                                                               
and regional tribal  associations.  As an attorney  in Alaska for                                                               
30  years,   Mr.  Razo  opined   that  although   not  officially                                                               
recognized, community-based  justice happens every day  and needs                                                               
to be recognized.   Whether it's with a tribe,  borough, or city,                                                               
community-based justice is a non-centralized  justice that is the                                                               
fastest,  cheapest, and  most effective  justice.   He  suggested                                                               
that legislative  support of these  resolutions is  a significant                                                               
show  of support  [recognizing that  Alaska Native]  institutions                                                               
have  been developed  and  are fully  capable  of serving  Alaska                                                               
Natives and others in the state's small communities.                                                                            
MR. RAZO turned to the budget  crisis that the state faces, which                                                               
he characterized  as of a proportion  of which the state  has not                                                               
seen before.   The institutions funded by  the federal government                                                               
that are  tribal in  nature rarely  receive 100  percent funding,                                                               
which means the  tribes and nonprofits have  to obtain additional                                                               
funding from the state government  and private sources.  Although                                                               
it's  not  a  free  ride for  tribal  institutions,  the  federal                                                               
funding  that  has been  available  for  a  number of  years  has                                                               
resulted in the Association of  Village Council Presidents (AVCP)                                                               
and its institutions  in Western Alaska that  are ready, willing,                                                               
and able to provide help with  health and social services as well                                                               
as legal services and investments.   The aforementioned, he said,                                                               
merely requires a partnership with the  state.   He remarked that                                                               
sovereignty is such a buzz word  for some people, but opined that                                                               
what  [the resolutions]  refer to  is a  government-to-government                                                               
relationship.  Although he acknowledged  that the federal, state,                                                               
and tribal governments are not  equal, he pointed out that tribal                                                               
governments  have  existed  long  before any  statute  said  they                                                               
existed.  These resolutions seek  engagement in a partnership and                                                               
a real discussion regarding how better  to serve the needs of all                                                               
Alaskans, but especially  Alaska Natives.  He noted  that he just                                                               
returned  from  a meeting  in  Kotzebue  with U.S.  Secretary  of                                                               
Interior Jewell.  Unlike what  was reported in the newspapers, it                                                               
was a  respectful conversation before Alaska  Native leaders from                                                               
across  the  state  in  which  there was  a  clamor  for  working                                                               
together at  the state and federal  levels.  Visiting any  of the                                                               
villages,  he remarked,  highlights the  needs that  exist.   Mr.                                                               
Razo acknowledged  that there are  less funds to meet  the needs,                                                               
and  therefore he  questioned why  one wouldn't  use partnerships                                                               
with existing  organizations that  are ready, willing,  able, and                                                               
begging to be  able to help with this crisis.   Furthermore, such                                                               
partnerships  would build  institutions  in Alaska  and create  a                                                               
better Alaska for everyone.   The aforementioned, he said, is why                                                               
AFN supports  [HCR 1 and  HJR 3]  and why he  personally supports                                                               
[the  resolutions] as  an Alaskan,  attorney, and  person who  is                                                               
committed to equal justice for all.                                                                                             
9:33:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES inquired as to  whether there would ever be                                                               
a conflict with a municipal government.                                                                                         
MR.  RAZO  acknowledged that  there's  always  the potential  for                                                               
jurisdictional  conflict  as  exists  now  between  Alaska  State                                                               
Troopers and city governments.   The aforementioned is worked out                                                               
through compromise  and compacting, he  said.  He  explained that                                                               
generally, tribal governments are  responsible for tribal members                                                               
within the boundaries of the tribes.   The process of setting the                                                               
boundaries   and  recognizing   the   geographical  location   of                                                               
boundaries  will have  to be  addressed, but  doesn't have  to be                                                               
addressed  in these  resolutions.   The resolutions  set out  the                                                               
notion  that  there  are  areas  where  tribes  are  entitled  to                                                               
exercise  jurisdiction  over  their   own  people,  which  is  an                                                               
important concept in Alaska.   The aforementioned, he emphasized,                                                               
occurs  everywhere else  in  the  U.S. and  it  should happen  in                                                               
Alaska as well.                                                                                                                 
9:35:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   HUGHES  related   her  understanding   that  the                                                               
reference  to  tribes  in  Article  1, Section  8,  of  the  U.S.                                                               
Constitution only refers to commerce.                                                                                           
MR.  RAZO explained  that the  case law  derived from  Article 1,                                                               
Section 8, of the U.S.  Constitution has been extended to protect                                                               
tribal rights in every form  and aspect, from equal protection to                                                               
due process.   The  extension occurred through  a long  series of                                                               
federal cases  to cover all  aspects of trust  responsibility for                                                               
Native Americans.  In further  response to Representative Hughes,                                                               
Mr. Razo stated that the  Commerce Clause is probably the largest                                                               
clause in  terms of extension  of rights and  responsibilities in                                                               
in the  U.S. Constitution.   Although  technically Representative                                                               
Hughes is  correct, he pointed  out that the  law of the  land as                                                               
determined by the  U.S. Supreme Court, which has  the same effect                                                               
and weight  as the constitution,  has significantly  expanded the                                                               
9:38:22 AM                                                                                                                    
VERONICA  SLAJER,  President,  North  Star  Group,  informed  the                                                               
committee that she  was the original staff director  of the Rural                                                               
Governance Commission, which  was formed in the  1990s to address                                                               
state-tribal relations.   The Rural Governance  Commission is one                                                               
of  the many  organizations  mentioned  by Representative  Edgmon                                                               
that  support  clarity  with regard  to  state-tribal  relations.                                                               
About a year ago, the  Rural Governance Commission reconvened and                                                               
upon reviewing the original report,  determined that many, if not                                                               
all,  of  the  recommendations  made  in  the  1990s  were  still                                                               
relevant  today.   Therefore, Ms.  Slajer said  she is  heartened                                                               
that the committee is considering  the resolutions.  These issues                                                               
are  real to  all  people,  Native and  non-Native,  in terms  of                                                               
providing   the    tools   to   address    everyday   situations.                                                               
Furthermore, there  is a symbolic  value to this  conversation as                                                               
well,  she  said.    Ms.  Slajer  offered  the  Rural  Governance                                                               
Commission web  site, www.ruralgov.org, and herself  as resources                                                               
to  the committee.   She  also offered  to provide  the committee                                                               
with names of others who have expertise in this area.                                                                           
9:40:42 AM                                                                                                                    
WILL MAYO, Tanana Chiefs Conference  (TCC), explained that he has                                                               
a long history of advocacy  in the Alaska Native community, which                                                               
began in the 1970s when he  was involved in the implementation of                                                               
the Alaska  Native Claims Settlement  Act (ANCSA)  and ultimately                                                               
became  the  CEO of  TCC.    He  opined  that the  issues  before                                                               
[Natives]  are immensely  complex, particularly  in Alaska  where                                                               
there is a mishmash of policy  that has collided with the various                                                               
ideologies  and disagreement.   He  recalled his  20s when,  as a                                                               
leader in  Tanana where there  is inadequate law  enforcement, he                                                               
had  to  respond to  public  safety  issues, although  he  wasn't                                                               
trained in law enforcement.   For instance, there was a situation                                                               
in  which he  had  a gun  pointed  at his  chest  when trying  to                                                               
separate an  individual from his  drinks and gather  the children                                                               
present and  take them  elsewhere.   Such situations  continue to                                                               
exist  today  as [rural  communities]  continue  to have  a  high                                                               
population of untreated  needs.  Mr. Mayo  clarified that [Alaska                                                               
Natives] don't assert jurisdiction or  sovereignty as an idea but                                                               
rather as a means to provide  needed services.  He then related a                                                               
recent situation in  which he helped a local  tribal council deal                                                               
with  an individual  who had  fired  shots; this  is a  community                                                               
without  a  city  government or  Village  Public  Safety  Officer                                                               
(VPSO).  The three local  tribal judges approached the individual                                                               
and encouraged  him to  work with them  for his  children's sake.                                                               
There had already been a  determination that the situation wasn't                                                               
a  threat.     Eventually,  this   individual  submitted   to  an                                                               
assessment  and   voluntarily  went  to  town   after  the  tribe                                                               
addressed  the situation.    In that  same  community last  week,                                                               
local tribal  leaders discussed the  need to control  loose dogs,                                                               
children running  around, domestic  violence and  sexual assault.                                                               
These leaders asked  him when the community would  receive a VPSO                                                               
and whether the VPSO would be  able help them with their tribally                                                               
established  ordinances.    The  leaders also  asked  whether  an                                                               
agreement could be reached with  the state such that Alaska State                                                               
Troopers   could   help   [enforce]  the   tribally   established                                                               
ordinances.  Mr.  Mayo clarified that the  tribal leaders weren't                                                               
saying that  the Alaska  State Troopers have  to submit  to their                                                               
sovereignty  and do  it their  way  rather they  were asking  for                                                               
help.   Mr. Mayo said  he had to  inform the tribal  leaders that                                                               
thus  far the  state hasn't  been a  willing partner,  though the                                                               
state has been approached many times.                                                                                           
MR. MAYO  then turned to the  land trust issue.   He related that                                                               
when [Alaska Native organizations]  have approached the Bureau of                                                               
Indian  Affairs  (BIA),  the Department  of  Justice,  and  other                                                               
agencies  that have  funds appropriated  by  Congress to  address                                                               
critical  needs  in  [villages]  for  public  safety  and  tribal                                                               
justice assistance,  he tells them  that courts already  exist in                                                               
the  villages.     Furthermore,  circle  sentencing   is  already                                                               
occurring such that  individuals in the village  come together to                                                               
tell the  individual what  he/she did  wrong.   The power  of the                                                               
aforementioned, he  remarked, is  so immense that  it's difficult                                                               
to articulate in this setting.   Mr. Mayo emphasized that [Alaska                                                               
Natives] are consistently told by  the federal government that it                                                               
isn't  permitted to  fund Alaska  Natives because  Alaska Natives                                                               
don't have Indian  Country or a base from which  to assert public                                                               
health  or  safety.    Therefore,  lots  of  resources  that  are                                                               
provided to tribes  in the Lower 48 aren't provided  to tribes in                                                               
Alaska.  In conclusion, Mr.  Mayo informed the committee that the                                                               
majority of states in the U.S.  have tribes and a long history of                                                               
tribal  state  relations  that  have  benefitted  their  members.                                                               
Furthermore,   there  are   volumes   of  agreements,   including                                                               
Memorandums   of   Understanding,  Memorandums   of   Agreements,                                                               
contracts,  and intergovernmental  protocols.   He stressed  that                                                               
there  is no  conceivable reason  such couldn't  work in  Alaska.                                                               
There  is such  a dire  need  for help  that doesn't  seem to  be                                                               
addressed because  people wrangle over important  questions.  Mr.                                                               
Mayo related  his support for HCR  1 and HJR 3  and urged working                                                               
toward greater  tribal and state relations  as there is a  lot to                                                               
gain.  The  aforementioned, he clarified, doesn't  mean the state                                                               
has to submit or  roll over.  In fact, he  opined that tribes are                                                               
making headway with  the state in different areas  in Alaska, but                                                               
there  is room  for more.   Again,  Mr. Mayo  urged taking  steps                                                               
toward addressing  the human  suffering.   He offered  to provide                                                               
background materials to help the committee in its deliberations.                                                                
9:53:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  asked whether there have  been any federal                                                               
efforts  to resolve  access  to  what the  Lower  48 tribes  have                                                               
without   the   physical   boundaries  of   an   Indian   Country                                                               
MR.  MAYO   answered  that  although  there   are  many  programs                                                               
available  to   tribes  in  Alaska  without   an  Indian  Country                                                               
designation, the  lack of an  Indian Country designation  is used                                                               
as the reason for Alaska tribes  not being given funds for public                                                               
safety issues.   He noted that Public Law 83-280  is also used as                                                               
a  barrier  as it  addresses  jurisdiction.   He  explained  that                                                               
although there have been many  discussions with the Congressional                                                               
delegation,  the  resolutions  are  before  the  committee  today                                                               
because  of the  inability  to craft  something  that would  free                                                               
large amounts of resources.   Mr. Mayo urged consideration of the                                                               
many situations  that exist  in the  nation where  Indian Country                                                               
tribes exist  with cross deputization  agreements with  their law                                                               
enforcement.   Further, the federal government  training facility                                                               
in  the  Lower  48  for tribal  police  exceeds  Alaska's  Police                                                               
Academy  requirements.   The funding  received  for the  training                                                               
facility for  the Lower 48  tribal police is received  because of                                                               
the  Indian  Country  designation.     He  further  informed  the                                                               
committee that there  is an entire body of case  law that defines                                                               
tribal jurisdictions that would be  of interest to the committee.                                                               
Mr. Mayo  reiterated that the  reason [the resolutions  have been                                                               
introduced] is  because of  the inability  to cross  the barriers                                                               
without an Indian Country designation.                                                                                          
9:57:58 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  noted her  appreciation of  the innovative                                                               
thinking and  work with the  congressional delegation.   She then                                                               
expressed  interest in  having an  informational session  on this                                                               
issue as well as how tribal ordinances relate to state statute.