Sitnews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Civil Rights Commission Backs Call For
Subsistence Vote, Tolerance Legislation
Federal Report Mirrors Recommendations of Knowles' Tolerance Commission


May 08, 2002
Wednesday - 8:20 pm

Saying it echoes many recommendations of the Governor's Commission on Tolerance, Gov. Tony Knowles and Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer called a federal report on Alaska a welcome step toward better understanding of civil rights issues in our state. The report, "Racism's Frontier: The Untold Story of Discrimination and Division in Alaska," was issued by the Alaska State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights at a news conference in Anchorage this morning.

"Many of the report's recommendations echo my administration's initiatives, including adequate funding of education, public safety, and job training services to all Alaskans regardless of where they live," Knowles said. "I am also pleased to see that the report calls for the Legislature to let the people of Alaska vote on the passage of a Constitutional amendment on subsistence, so we can finally resolve this longstanding, divisive issue."

"As a member of the Governor's Commission on Tolerance, I was privileged to hear testimony by many Alaskans about civil rights, tolerance, and racism issues in our state," Ulmer said. "I am glad to see that this report contains many of the same recommendations as those issued by the Tolerance Commission. By acting on these recommendations, we can make our state a place where every citizen has the opportunity to attend a decent school, apply for a good job, and live in a safe community."

The report begins with an overview of "Alaska's Problems and Promises," a look at the history and population of the state and an analysis of the current situation, and then discusses education, economic opportunity and employment, and the administration of justice. In its final chapter, the report offers recommendations to a variety of public entities, including the State of Alaska, to improve civil rights throughout Alaska.

Among the report's recommendations:

  • Increased funding of education facilities and programs for rural Alaska school districts;
  • Increased funding for the Public Defender Agency, Alaska Legal Services, and the Office of Public Advocacy;
  • The state school board should revisit the high school exit examination issue to assess whether its implementation achieves the desired outcomes.

The report echoes many recommendations of the Governor's Commission on Tolerance, which completed its work in December. In its 35-page report, the 14-member Tolerance Commission made nearly 100 recommendations in four general categories: education, institutional intolerance, economic intolerance, and justice.

The Governor has since issued Administrative Order 195, implementing some recommendations of the Commission related to the recruitment, retention and advancement of employees in state service.



   Administrative Order 195
 pdf  Tolerance Commission's Final Report
 pdf   Ten Ways to a More Tolerant Alaska


Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
Web Site


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