Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205
03/28/2017 03:30 PM Senate STATE AFFAIRS
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|Confirmation Hearing: Alaska Police Standards Council|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
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HB 78-INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY 3:41:34 PM CHAIR DUNLEAVY called the committee back to order and announced the consideration of HB 78. 3:41:53 PM REPRESENTATIVE DEAN WESTLAKE, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, sponsor of HB 78, specified that the bill establishes the second Monday of October each year as "Indigenous Peoples Day," the day that also recognizes "Columbus Day." He noted that the bill earlier addressed by the committee pointed out that there are over 220 tribes in Alaska and HB 78 recognizes those native cultures and their rich history of working with everyone. He mentioned that Governor Walker has proclaimed Indigenous Peoples Day the second Monday of October over the past two years and the intent of the bill is to continue its observance. 3:42:56 PM CHAIR DUNLEAVY opened public and invited testimony on HB 78. 3:43:23 PM ELIZABETH MEDICINE CROW, President/CEO, First Alaskans Institute, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in support of HB 78. She thanked Representative Westlake and Elizabeth Rexford for putting forward HB 78 in support of Indigenous Peoples Day. She disclosed that for the past few years there has been a grassroots effort around the state to recognize the amazing contributions of Alaska's diverse indigenous people. She disclosed that both the governor of Alaska and the mayor of Anchorage have recognized Indigenous Peoples Day over the past several years and noted that the proclamations occurred with great fanfare at the First Alaskans Institute Elders and Youth Conference. She set forth that HB 78 is incredibly important as a way for people to feel a connection between Alaska and Alaska's native people. 3:46:41 PM CONSTANCE MUNRO, Advocate, Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 2, Juneau, Alaska, testified in support of HB 78. She said HB 78 will recognize the thousands of years of native Alaskans' culture, history and contributions that they gave to all the people. 3:50:15 PM KATHERINE HOPE, Advocate, Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 2, Juneau, Alaska, testified in support of HB 78. She shared stories of her Tlingit heritage and noted their emphasis in treating people equally. 3:52:19 PM ANNE FULLER, Advocate, Alaska Native Sisterhood - Glacier Valley Camp 70, Juneau, Alaska, testified in support of HB 78. She said through history the original people of Alaska have welcomed newcomers and HB 78 offers the state and current residents an opportunity to honor native Alaskan people. 3:53:01 PM E.J. DAVID, representing self, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in support of HB 78. He asserted that Indigenous Peoples Day should have been done a long time ago out of respect to the indigenous peoples of Alaska. 3:55:41 PM SHAWN ARNOLD, Superintendent, Nome Public Schools, Nome, Alaska, testified in support of HB 78. He set forth that Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes and celebrates the heritage of indigenous peoples throughout the Americas as well as the history and contribution of Alaska natives. He asserted that recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day is a matter of respect. He remarked that recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day in October of 2015 made sense to the Nome Public Schools because over 80 percent of its students are of Alaska native heritage. He disclosed that the Nome Public Schools was the second school district to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day after Fairbanks. He opined that changing the second Monday in October from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day would better reflect the state's communities and a true, accurate account of the history of indigenous people beginning long before Christopher Columbus sailed, which is necessary to set the historical record straight and to respect the traditional cultures and languages of Alaska's indigenous people. 3:57:32 PM YATIBAEY EVANS, Alaska Native Education Director, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, Fairbanks, Alaska, testified in support of HB 78. She disclosed that an Indigenous Peoples Day resolution was first passed in 2015 by the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. She said the school district's resolution began its process through a group of concerned Alaskan-native parents that recognized a need for students and the community to have a positive attribute to look up to and to see all the contributions of the people that represent Alaska over thousands of years. She set forth that Alaska's indigenous people have contributed to the state's culture, structure, economy, and society. She asserted that by acknowledging the indigenous people, Alaska will create a positive precedence which will further enhance multi-cultural connections and help propel the state's communities forward. 3:59:18 PM CHAIR DUNLEAVY announced that invited testimony is concluded for the day. He asked Representative Westlake if HB 78 would replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE answered that Indigenous Peoples Day would be inclusive of Columbus Day. He asserted that Alaska's native people have never been exclusive, and their tradition will proudly continue. CHAIR DUNLEAVY thanked Representative Westlake and noted that his previous comment essentially says there is room enough on the specified day in October for indigenous people. REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE asserted that there is room, "For all of us." 4:00:14 PM CHAIR DUNLEAVY held HB 78 in committee for future consideration.