Sitnews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Summary of Testimony - 2nd Tolerance Commission Hearing
Juneau, Alaska - July 26, 2001

Web posted:
July 28, 2001 - 11:00 am

"Please note that these are not the official minutes of the meeting. They are just quickly typed-in notes provided by staff. Audio tapes will be available for purchase by the public at IMIG Audio/Video, 2611 Fairbanks St. Suite 100, Anchorage, AK 99503. Please contact Zena at (907) 274-2161. The price is $6 per 120 minute tape."


Summary of Testimony from Groups

Summary of Testimony from the Public

Date of Public Hearing - Thursday, July 26, 2001
Juneau ANB Hall 320 W. Willoughby Ave.
11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. group testimony
4 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. public testimony



A more tolerant Alaska that celebrates our diversity of people and cultures.


Action Alert! Paint Ball Incident Sentencing:

Tolerance Commission member Denise Morris reminded people to send in their suggestions on the sentencing of Paint Ball Incident defendant Charles Wisemen to Anchorage District Court Judge Peter Ashland before August 15th. Wiseman faces a maximum of three consecutive years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

The judge can also impose community service. Judge Ashland asked for public comments and suggestions (according to a July 24 Anchorage Daily News article). Letters can be addressed to John Novak, Chief Assistant District Attorney, 310 K St. Suite 520, Anchorage, AK 99501


Committee members in attendance:

Rev. Chuck Eddy of Anchorage, Chair
Shari Kochman of Juneau
Judge Tom Stewart of Juneau
Denise Morris of Anchorage
Mara Kimmel of Anchorage
(Committee note: Commissioners are volunteers and not every member can make every meeting)

Members of the Tolerance Commission


Summary of testimony from groups

Alberta Aspen, Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp #2 - Alaska Civil Rights Leader Elizabeth Peratrovich presentation
Visit the website: A Recollection of Civil Rights Leader Elizabeth Peratrovich

Alberta is Tlingit, Raven from the dog salmon clan. Honored to speak to you about Elizabeth Peratrovich. Outstanding Alaska Native as well as one of our best Alaska citizens. Shows what can be done if you are willing to speak out against bigotry and prejudice. The fight for equal rights. The story of her life is highlighted by the Tlingit Haida Central Council. She led the passage of Alaska's equal rights law. This presentation covers the highlights of Alaska's history. From the beginning, Alaska Natives were treated as "uncivilized. Alaska Natives suffered from the moment the Russians arrived in the 1700s. Unofficial criteria for citizenship was English language. Uncivilized acts included going to fish camp.

  • 1905 Aleut went to court to be able to attend school.
  • 1912 Alaska Natives formed Alaska Native Brotherhood. Ultimate Goal: U.S. Citizenship. Finally granted to Alaska Natives in 1924.
  • 1929 ANB/ANS boycotted the movie theatre in Juneau which posted signs NO NATIVES ALLOWED. Successful.
  • Ernest Gruening visited Alaska in 1936. In 1939 he became territorial governor.
  • 1940 Roy Peratrovich and Elizabeth as ANB ANS Grand Camp Presidents. Alaska Natives paid school taxes but were unable to have their children in schools. Fought discrimination all the way to President of the U.S.
  • 1944 two Alaska Native men were elected to Alaska Legislature.
  • 1945 Anti-Discrimination bill passed the House. Historic Senate discussion talked about "mixed breeds and savages" Roy Peratrovich was invited to express his views on the bill. Democratic Party adopted a plank in support of the Natives and to pass the anti discrimination bill. Elizabeth gave the most compelling presentation. Although I'm barely out of savagery, I would like to remind you of our nation's bill of rights. Equal protection for all. No law will eliminate crimes, but if we must recognize the evil of discrimination.
  • 1945, 11 to 5 vote passed the bill.
  • In 1988, the Alaska Legislature established February 16 as "The Annual Elizabeth Peratrovich Day," the anniversary of the signing of the Anti-Discrimination Act. This annual honor of Elizabeth reminds us that Equality is a cause that must bepursued constantly. I hope this commission can have some success.


Jim Duncan, Dept. of Administration: State policy on hiring minorities. Current employment statistics.

We are never satisfied that we are doing the best we can to hire minorities. I will give you the figures but know that we are always working to improve our hiring practices to reflect Alaska's diversity. Currently there are 14,700 permanent executive employees. Of those 2,536 are from minority background. That's about 18 percent. 497 African Americans, 325 Hispinac, 723 Alaska Natives, 7 percent. .

New hires: 22.4 percent of new hires are an ethnic minority so it shows we are improving. Low point 1991 was 14.4 percent. Now at 18.02 percent. Urban and rural center breakout. Anchorage Fairbanks and Juneau and the other communities. Rural workforce 18.2 percent. Hire native workforce in rural Alaska. We can provide you with more details if needed. We have a minority hiring policy. Underutilization is determined by Governor's Equal Employment Opportunity office. Hiring managers get a list of "underutilized applicants. Electronic recruitment system. Division of Personnel is open to suggestions of what else might be done. We've started to visit more job fairs to get the word out of available jobs. Workplace Alaska website lists job vacancies. We notify Native Organizations of vacancies. We conduct training sessions in partnership with job service centers statewide. We have training in harrassment and discrimination. If this committee or member of public has suggestions for change I'd be happy to hear them.

Questions of committee members:

Mara (Mara Kimmel of Anchorage - A member of the tolerance committee): Can we get a copy of your diversity training?

The diversity training package is under development. We do not have one in place at this time.

Are there written policies and guidelines of whether state agencies can call?

Sharon Barton, Director of Personnel: We are just beginning to analyze why people are leaving state government. So we don't know whether minorities are leaving sooner. The statistics don't show that minorities are leaving.

How are promotions handled?

For the classified system process promotions are made on a competitive basis. It should give everyone the basis to compete on an equal basis. We'd be interested on input as you go through the hearing process to get ideas.

Administrative Order 75: Goal for Minority Hire. Which job classifications are presently listed as preferential to minorities? We would like a list.

What will audience be for diversity training?

We see the need for a package of diverstiy training. Definitely for our supervisors and managers. A how to on how to conduct recruitments, because a person may not interview well but has other skills to help them get the job. And specific workgroup training to be more successful in a team to work together. We do not have any required training in state government. That's one of our goals. Human Rights Commission is the agency in charge of hearing complaints, but we encourage investigation of complaints at all levels of government. Insurance benefits. Would Department support benefits for same-sex couples? That's a policy-level decision.

Applicant training session satisfaction survey?

We haven't developed the diversity training yet. We plan to do a lot of discussion with groups around the state to make sure we meet their needs.


Follow-up evaluations for folks...

Commission questions for follow-up:

Complaints about employer goes first to EEO not to the Human Rights Commission. Part time positions and full-time positions. What is breakout on that? They are very different. Break out the permanent part time and permanent full-time to see the minority breakout.


Deputy Commissioner Russ Webb, Dept. Health and Social Services - Representing Karen Perdue.

Glad to have the opportunity to speak to you about our department. Thank you and the governor to shed the light on a topic that we too often ignore. We all just want intolerance to go away. Need to keep the promise of equal rights alive. I have several folks here from our departments here today to give you specific department information. Booklet overview of our department. We have a presence in more communities than any other state governement agency. We serve Alaska's most vulnerable populations. Many of those we serve face discrimination every day in many ways, whether economic or race or disability. Challenges for kids in foster care and for kids in psychiatric care and we are very aware of the difficulties our clients face.

We try have Our workforce reflect the clients we serve. Department employees better percentages than state government in general but we still have some work to do.

Came on with the state in 1980. Nome and Bethel facilities we did onsite recruitment. Radio, newspaper. Workforce delelopment plan. Contract out to have someone come in and look at our workforce and counsel us on how to
improve. We have 25 working groups addressing issues such as subtle barriers, training, promotion. Difficult in health field for recruitment. Native Organizations are also hiring for their healthcare. Salary increases needed for nurses, social workers. Working with University to get training for more social workers. We have bargaining unit contracts to deal with. We met with unions to implement the recruitment. Division of Juvenile Justice has student internship program has been successful (Fairbanks). Get graduates to work there and transition into full-time employment. Looking to establish a wellness program in our department. We have a lot of stress in our department. We will contract to have someone work with our employees. Developed an employee recognition program. In the process of developing a training program-including developing statistics on promotions, satisfaction. Karen Perdue made it mandatory that all supervisors have sexual harrassment training. We trained 440 supervisors including the commissioner and her staff. Nonviolence training.


Angela Salerno, Program Coordinator, Division of Public Assistance:

We administer federal and state welfare programs. 16,144 families. Adult public assistance 14,300; Medicaid 30,000 people. More statistics. More than half of our caseloads are white. (statistics handout) Welfare Reform changed immigration programs. Immigrant barred from services for five years. Those folks in the country illegally are not eligible for our services. To apply for our services they must say whether they are U.S. citizens. Under what circumstances do we ask for proof of citizenship? All applicants receive a form and sign, swearing that the information is true. Workers routinely ask for INS
documents. A national system of calling a phone number 303 children applicants. We used to have a policy of turning in folks who came to apply for services and we discovered they were illegal aliens. Federal government rule was enforced in Alaska and across the country. This resulted in splitting of families. Sept. 2000 Reinterpreation of this rule. They clarified that States should NOT report to INS individuals unless there is proof that a person is illegally in the U.S. The case worker will not inform the INS when a person is applying for food stamps. Specific documentation must be available, there is
seldom a case that it could be proven. Welfare Reform changes our direction to help people get off welfare. Nonenglish speakers We have a statewide telephone translator service, participants on a language committee with hospitals and Catholic social services, are in discussion of certification of large population of Russion Refugees in the Delta region. We have translated our documents to Russian and other languages: "work does pay" - Work support services to immigrants resume writing, etc. English as second language in Delta, Anchorage and Mat-Su. Has the English-only initiative affected your work? No. We don't speak in other languages, but we do have materials in
other languages.

INS arrest is not sufficent evidence to deny services.


Ernie Turner, Director, Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse:

Born in Alaska more than 70 years ago just like Judge Stewart. I've seen a lot of changes in my life. I was also homeless and was a chronic alcoholic. Now I'm a treatment provider in various states. Last year and a half working for the state. Raised in Episcopal village in Anvik. Sent by steamboat to Nenana. Temporary partition on the steamboat separated native students from white students. Signs everywhere no Natives or dogs allowed. No people experience
more discrimination than the chronic alcoholic, mentally ill people who live on the streets. So much discrimination because folks feel they have chosen that kind of life. They want you out of the neighborhood. There are also people in
government agencies (not in this state) that use the term "throwaways", I don't see how any person suffering from alcohol and drug abuse are throwaways. They deserve treatment. Treatment gets the "Not in My Back Yard"
syndrome. "We don't want your kind in our neighborhood," is what I hear when I go to community councils. By "our kind," I'm assuming they meant Alaska Native alcholics, because that was who I was representing. Complete and total
discrimination. Treatment center I was working at could not take felons at our treatment center. That again is discrimination against those most in need. Our prisons are full of alcoholics and those suffering from mental illness. These people need treatment.

As director of this division, we are the smallest division with the biggest problem in the state. We are a grant program for 38 treatment agencies around the state. Doesn't include our suicide prevention or fetal alcohol programs. Last year we served 7,000 - About 47 percent Alaska Native, 44 percent white, 3 percent American Indians. Alaska Native and American Indians probably have the biggest problem around the state. Our service providers have required training in history of Alaska Natives and are trying to utilize Native elders. We have a huge waiting list for people needing treatment. Our budget wasn't funded this year in the Legislature. We have a priority list for services. Pregnant women, IV drug users are first on the list. One person I had
to tell that I couldn't see because of priority services, I called him again three weeks later because a bed was avalable, but his wife told me it was too late. He had died in prison in the 48 hour hold.

15 member advisory board on alcohol and drug abuse. Appointed by governor. Three vacancies. Five Alaska Natives, 3 African American, the rest Caucasion.

38 employees -Six Alaska Natives and four African Americans. Easier to work for a Native corporation because salaries are better. State employees not paid as much. Discrimination is not as overt as it used to be. Native women at Cook Inlet Pre-trial have to empty their purse before visiting someone at prison, whereas white woman did not. (specific incident). Communication is difficult in rural areas. Don't have sign language people and there are many Alaska Natives with severe hearing problems.

Community Councils require treatment centers to not have felons in their community-based treatment centers. It's not a federal or state requirement but it's something that happens all the time. We just can't get approval of
facilities without that clause.

How do we reach the prison population for treatment services?

We need to convince the municipalities to change their codes.

How did you get off the streets?

A judge. 140 days in jail or 140 days in treatment. I chose the easy way, the treatment. I have no easy answers for why it works for some and not for others, but it worked for me.

Alcoholism is an illness. Most people in this state don't believe that.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Special treatment is needed for working with this population. Attention span. What is being done for treatment for kids that may or may not be done with fetal alcohol syndrome. Rep. Dyson, Rep. Joule, Karen Perdue had a fetal alcholol summit. Succeeded in getting a $30 million grant from federal government. More innovative than has been done anywhere. Early diagnosis is key. Training to provider agencies across a variety of disciplines to educate about fetal alcohol syndrome. It is an issue that transends all our Departments training services.

$2 million request by the Governor to eliminate the wait list for services.


Theresa Tanoury, Director, Division of Family and Youth Services:

Discuss issues that were raised at a previous meeting. Indian Child Welfare Act. There has been a troubling message delivered to you at previous meetings that I take quite seriously. Our division's work is always emotional. We are intervening in families and with children in families and what you've heard is quite real. The complaints from folks are seriously considered. We see patterns and develop training and we are always changing.


Child Rape: We have to go knock on doors and ask if children are okay. Alaska Native families have highest population. Rate of percentages per 1,000 children, percentage of children in custody and placement outside of homes: Alaska Natives highest groups 25 percent of Alaska's Children are Alaska Native


Francine Eddy Jones, Director Social Services, Tlingit Haida:

Tlingit name Kosteen Eagle wolf clan from around the Juneau area. Manager of tribal family and youth service program. Highlighted Indian Child Welfare Act. Passed November 1978. Intent was to protect integrity of native families, try to place children who are removed from their home because of abuse in the home of a Native family. Set standards for adoption. Implementation of Act is through court system, service providers, etc. Tribal/State Collaboration Group. On a federal level states must work with tribes to address compliance to Act and improve how children are protected in the state. We meet three times a
year. Regional tribes participate. Disproportionate number of Alaska Natives in system. We need more staff. Tribes need more infrastructure in communities. More staff. Drug and alcohol and mental illness issues need more funding.


Training curriculum introduced and implemented. Hired statewide ICWA coordinator. Developed a tribal help desk. Tribal children were getting lost in Anchorage and tribes can call to identify relatives of kids. Trainers are selected by tribal caucus. Two day extensive course of ICWA and diversity training. Special case workers do review every three months for every Alaska native child. Follow the services. Every 30 days there is an evaluttion to attempt to
place children in native homes. In Dillingham, for instance, we have two workers. We are hoping for some federal pass-through funds. We are hoping to recognize federally approved tribal foster homes. Collaborative project Undoing Racism with a Seattle-based foundation, Casey Foundation. Comprehensive training program for our workers starting in January. People's Institute of Survival and Beyond is the group doing the training.

Disproportionate number of kids in Native families have come into our custody. Ongoing challenge to meet the goals of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The partnership with tribes is the key. Also treatment for families is critical.

Does DFYS have interpretor services?

On an as-needed basis we use community resources.

What percentage of Native children are with non-native families?

The department will provide that breakout.

Complainants say that when there is a family with one native parent and a non-native parent that the child goes with the non native. We'd like statistics on that. Another statement that came forward from individuals. Depending on where you live economically there is a higher level of complaints. Is there any statistical data to reflect that? Are some folks more likely to report incidents of abuse? Do some schools have a higher rate? Schoolwise, for example. There is no data for income.

We do not investigate reports of abuse based on any economic factor. The problem transcends all income levels and our caseload reflects that, but no, we don't have hard data.

Complaints of if you can afford your own attorney in an out-of-home placement then you don't have a problem. But if you have a court-appointed attorney then you can forget it.

The Public Defender agency caseload is overwhelming. We need more funding to make sure all individuals get legal representation.

ICWA; Majority of tribes do not have tribal attorneys. So the public defenders do get a majority.

Vacancies at DFYS?

Low because we've been watching it. It's at 6 or 7 percent.

When treatment isn't available, the kids stay with the foster family longer. It's something troubling we deal with all the time. Anytime we intervene to take a child, that action goes to court and the action is reviewed by a judge and the decision is made by a judge. There are strong emotions and they are very real. Individual actions of employees are monitored. It's often difficult to sort
through what the "real issue is. There are so many emotions.

Are there records of complaints to your division?

Yes, there are several. Legislative audits have been done. The ombudsman's office has investigated us. We look for patterns on an informal internal basis all the time.


Janet Rider, DOT Human Resources Manager:

DOT has two EEO programs. One monitors activities on construction programs. The other monitors activities for DOT employees. We are in the process of developing a training program. Trying to get 20 interns who will go to work for
the contractors. Entered into an agreement with Local 71 and Kaweruk pilot program for two interns. Hoping for 30 more in rural communities. It will be dependent on Legislative funding.

Handout: summary of complaints. 26 cases.

Human Rights Commission was actively involved in cases a few years back. Doesn't move through them as quickly now. Don't know why. Must be staffing-
Sometimes we settle the cases because it is less expensive to settle it than to hire the attorneys to fight the complaints. We do have policy guidelines for how we conduct our investigations. I'm fairly aggressive about pursuing the complaints. I'd say 30 day turnaround. Often there is overlap for the complaints I investigate that go to the Human Rights Commission and EEOC.
We do not have department wide mandatory training right now. We do have diversity training for the management. We use Father Oleksa's tapes and they were quite good. Within DOT, perhaps one-third of promotions are filled on
seniority basis because of our contracts. That is different than workplace Alaska.


Mildred Boesser, PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays):

Thank you for what you are doing. I have testified at hearings where I felt no one was listening. I truly believe you are listening. Husband and I have raised four children here. I am representing PFLAG. Parents, Families and Friends of
Lesbians and Gays. Now incorporates bisexuals and transgender persons. We are support, education and advocacy. Juneau chapter formed 1994. Holds monthly meetings. Like alcoholic anonymous, we are anonymous. Many young people call us for a listening ear. New comers call us for safe places in the community to go. We have had many meetings with school personnel and university professors. We write letters to the editor. One offensive editorial writer, when we contacted him, said he didn't realize that comments like
that didn't go here. We told him those comments don't go anywhere.

We testify on legislation that threaten the lives of gay and lesbians. We work to secure equal protection. There is no protection for our group as a protected class under the law. The statement that homosexuals want special rights is not
true. We want equal protection. Juneau Assembly. Husband and I retired from Mat-su area. We had a meeting and learned of the fear the gay and lesbian community feels everyday. There is an undercurrent of hostility. Was not
prepared for the hate that was generated by a book in the library. Feeling that gays and lesbians are pedophiles is rampant. Gays, lesbian and transgender population are everywhere in our community doctors, students, teachers, federal military workers, etc. They are among us but many don't know and they won't say they are because of fear.

What can we do?

Get to know someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender in the community. As a Christian it pains me that most of the hatred toward this population is from the Christian community. Christians should speak up in their church. U.S.Senate is looking at laws to limit rights for gay and lesbian community. Support adding sexual orientation to state's list of protected human rights groups. Taking action against discrimination and violence helps our community. Take a stand against legislation that is hateful to gays and lesbians. When bills come up that specifically pick on one group we must always take a stand against them. Individual efforts are needed. Materials provided.

Are you aware of trainings that include gay and lesbian issues?

There is a training of overcoming homophobia at the University of Alaska Southeast this year.The speaker is from LISTEN of New York City.

Shari Kochman of Juneau (a member of the Tolerance Committee): Thank you particularly for highlighting what individuals can do to fight discrimination. We have to work together. How do we rate as a state in terms of protection?

I'd say we are regressive. As for parts of the state, I'd say the most open community is Juneau. The Mat-Su was dangerous. The secret is education and getting to know someone when it comes to discrimination. The minute you get
to know a person changes your outlook. It's a matter of changing hearts. The way you change hearts is getting to know someone.


Byron Mallott, President of First Alaskans Foundation:

Want to chat with you briefly about my position as co-chair of Governor's Rural Task Force on Governance. If you haven't read it, I ask you to take a look at the forward. Our task force came in the wake of the Venetie decision that said
there was. We had to deal with the reality of that decision and still work to deal with tribal communication. Our task force was larger and dealt more with government relations. We traveled the entire state. It became very clear to us
that Alaska has a problem. A huge rural-urban divide. A lack of understanding and very different views of one another. That is not good for us as Alaskans. We definitely believe Alaska is moving toward a mean and bad place if we don't address these issues. A year and a half later, we are starting to see that.
I'm concerned with the funding level and the ability for each commission member to attend every meeting is not appropriate. You need more funding. You need more help. Our Task Force had to fight and scrimp for every dollar. We accessed other funds. We were finally assigned a cabinet-level department head and the department human resources were made available to us. The Governor's office also directed that every department that had resources be
made available to the Task Force particularly the Dept. of Law. As co-chair of the commission we were frustrated by this.

Alaska Humanities Forum is critical to helping us bridge the divide. Alaska is really a third-world nation in many, many ways. We don't spend enough time thinking about this. Some of our population can do anything and everything. A
significant portion of our population has difficulty accessing what is needed. Issues of tolerance and racism and hate come from the lack of power. The First Alaska Foundation is working with the AHF 20/20 Program to develop a scientific survey to put on the table before all of us -- who we are what are our biases, what are our fears, what are our hopes. I know it can be done because it is done routinely across the nation. I'm a bit apprehensive because I'm afraid of what we'll see. But I know we need to see it. We will use market research tools to develop a series of dialogues around the state to address what we see in that survey. Where are we now so we can move to who we ought to be. Excited by the project, which follows an Oregon plan. We want to address not government, but individual actions. Alaskans expect too much of our government. Rely on it too much.

We also support the Bridge Builders efforts. Had an opportunity to view an album of photos from the recent 500-member event at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. The issues they are addressing and that you are addressing seem to arrive at a particular time in our history that we must grasp. We can't take tolerance and understanding and dialogue as coming together as people for granted. We have to keep working at it. I have been talking about the
creation of an institution, the Aurora Conference. I think we need a non-governmental organization. It has to come from the people. Faith groups, civic groups, ethnic groups, civil rights institutions, in addition, economic instituttions. Must have economic institutions involved. Bring the BPs,
ARCOs, NANA's, small businesses, etc. Must engage the economic aspect. Mission statement would allow Alaskans to prosper. There seems to be so much bubbling up from local areas that are trying to address the issues that you are addressing. I'm hopeful.

Shari Kochman of Juneau (a member of the Tolerance Committee): I love the idea of the Aurora Conference. Where is it
going? We're starting with 20/20 and First Alaskans Foundation is investing in that. I should hope that we will find through the survey that there are just a few bad apples in a good mix.

Byron disagrees. The Alaska Native population should be special. People have lambasted me when I have said that. But it's true.I have difficulty articulating it. We are the only group in the state that can ask for change of the Alaska State seal, for example. There is nothing there that represents us. We want who we are to be celebrated. We are different. The role of Alaska Natives should be part of the value structure of the University, our education system,
etc. We shouldn't be just another widget. We are Alaska's canary in the cage. If we can't create a place in this state in our own land that we feel welcome at the same level as the newcomers. Why must we be faceless. We should be
recognized for our history and then we put that in the mix of having all Alaskans recognized. We need more. If no one comes with us in recognizing our value then I don't know what.


Chava Lee, Juneau Jewish Community: President of the Board.

Thank you for the invitation. I moved to Juneau 30 years ago. Atmosphere in Jewish community welcomed me. My children have educated me about the problems that are occuring today. Hurtful actions and statements. As a community we have chosen to not make waves. Anti-semitism is a hideous problem. So many stereotypes. Son came home asking if I knew that Jews owned all the banks and the media. He was hoping to come into some money pretty soon. Current derogatory term in schools is "what a jew." It means
that you are cheap. Juneau Empire has refused to meet with Jewish community. Around 1995 my attitude of how we should discuss discrimination against Jews changed. Someone I knew filed a Human Rights Commission complaints. Defendents said he wished that Hitler would have finished his job, and if he had, he wouldn't have to deal with the worker's complaint. The investigator determined no human rights violation because the words he used were in jest. Education is the key. We are survivors. We need to speak out. Not speaking out allows another group to overwhelm us. We have come out of our quiet times. We are bringing up speakers. We cannot allow the perpetuation of the crimes committed against us to continue. We will fight back. Thank you Governor Knowles for establishing the commission and we're particularly pleased to see that a Jewish person was put on the committee. Thank you.


Summary of testimony from the public

Isabella Brady, Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp #1, ANS Camp#4, Sitka

Spoke in native tongue. I'm sorry we have to have a commission like this to deal with the problems we have in this state. She is Tlingit from Sitka. She is Tlingit, Tsimshian,and Chinese. 77 years old. I've been in education for more than 50 years. Sitka was like the deep south with respect to racism. I was spit upon, rocks thrown at me, etc. This just happened to my grandson two months ago. Just two months ago. My daughter reported it to the police and they did nothing. There was a young man in Sitka who was urinated on. I just don't understand why people don't like me because my skin is brown. Why? I was told you can wash and wash and wash and you can't take off the brown. I went away to college and was worried but I was actually celebrated because they thought of me as their little Eskimo from Alaska.

I don't think Alaskans are really concerned about diversity. I took some children to the Eskimo World Olympics. He jumped up and touched the ceiling. What has the state done for these Olympics? Nothing. Why shouldn't this be celebrated? This should be a huge part of Alaska. This allows our culture to be learned.

Dei Awe Committee means "that's enough." We've had enough of the discrimination. Formed June 9 2001. This is new commission of parents and educators. Alternative School is deplorable. Inequity in education. Worked at Mt. Edgecumbe for 14 years. It was terrible. Can you imagine sending your
kids so far away? We are documenting racists acts in the school system. Sitka High has problems. Systemic acts of discrimination become so normalized that leaders are unable to protect their students. Alaska is becoming a playground
for white supremecists. We are tired of being a P.S. on Alaska curriculum. Why are we celebrating Columbus day? Ignorance. We are producing the Racial Justice Report Card. The Sitka School District has been given a grade of D, based on the dropout rate, special education, etc.

Tolerance Commission. What have you seen today. What's diversity? Is it the answer to everything?

Those who practice racism often deny it. It is time for us walk forward with our heads up. We have been dealing with prejudice since whites arrived in Alaska. Schools that graduated successful native leaders have been closed. BIA
schools and Sheldon Jackson. Sheldon Jackson has problems. There's a case going on at the University of Alaska. We need to get the truth. Legislation on paint ball incident was watered down. Sixty five percernt of Natives are dropouts. We need native role models. Strong cultural identity empowers people. We have lost our identity and lost our power. I don't feel welcome. We need to change the thinking that precedes the hateful action. My daughter went to Mt. Edgecumb High School to avoid the Sitka School system. Not
all humans are created equal. This nation was built on the blood of its earliest citizens. In Alaska the same thing. I don't think we've come very far in terms of racism.

I recommend Diane as a presentor of Elizabeth Peratrovich. I guess she gave a fabulous presentation in Sitka. I've heard a lot about it. Problems with Sitka police department. Alaska Native Brotherhood has been working with them a great deal.


Sara Boesser

I am so glad you have taken this job of seeking a more tolerant Alaska. Since I was 16 I have known that I was a lesbian. I did not choose to be a lesbian. Five recommendations.

  1. Recommend every commission has a member of the gay and
    lesbian community as a part of it.
  2. Recognize there's proof of intolerance against us everywhere. My experience is that Alaska is saturated with it. Especially religion. As I am a spokesperson I have been attacked. Strong current of condemnation at public forums is overwhelming. Recently a Baptist pastor outside of Fairbanks said that homosexuals should be stoned to death. Recently in
    Juneau I had a newsletter recommending action to a local ordinance. A Juneau minister marked it up "this is what the enemy is doing" and passed it on to his church.
  3. No more studies are needed. Intolerance against us is self-evident.
  4. Add sexual orientation to Human Rights Laws. Renters are kicked out of apartments because they are gay. Business owners don't serve gays and lesbians. This is legal under our law.
  5. Speak out as a commission, as individuals, and Alaskans to treat people equally.


Al McKinley, Sr.

Executive Committee, grand camp. Born in Hoonah, AK was in Armed forces. Got a degree in accounting. Worked for federal government. Retired in 1994. Many Native organizations complain about discrimination in Alaska. The paint ball incident is meant to cripple our people. I know about discrimination. Before statehood it was bad. Do Natives have equal sentencing by our judges? Does Alaska Legislature give us justice? No. Limited entry permit for fishermen. In Hoonah we had 35 to 40 permits. Now we have three. These permits were not to our advantage. We do have discrimination in all forms of government. So many of our people are out of a job. Look at the percentages of Native Hire in contracting. Even building the ANB Hall. We wanted Native hire and the unions took us to court. Subsistence. We are granted rural priority and what does the media do? They paint it as special privelege for Natives. Only the Natives. It's for all rural residents. Our Native people are quiet. We are scared to put in an
appeal in federal government because we feel like we will get fired. We need a survey.


Joe Crowley

Alaska resident 19 years. Worked for DOT. Was fired. I wanted to talk to the Commissioner and was shut out. I would like a way to have a quicker solution than the two years it takes with the Human Rights Commission. I contacted Janet Rider, the Human Resources Manager and she didn't want to talk to me. I hope the commission can set up a separate entity to address these issues instead of having the commissioners talk to each other and take the same line. Unemployed for about eight months. No one will hire me now because I was fired by the state. I went to my union and they told me that they don't protect human rights laws they only protect their contract. I'm caught in a trap. I first started working for Alaska Marine Hwy. I was written up for being away from my desk one time when I was sick. I was in the bathroom for 15 minutes. Yet smokers can go smoke two cigarettes no problem. My problem has been going for about two years.

Would diversity training help co-workers?

Yes, I do believe it would help. The training wasn't substantial that I received from the Dept. of Administration.


Selina Everson

Before I begin my remarks, I would like to say "gunalcheesh" to Gov. Knowles, Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer and Commission members for the opportunity to speak. Discrimination, prejudice and racism permeate every corner of our state, past and present. There has been a lack of action on discrimination. For years, the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and the Alaska Federation of Natives have sent resolutions to state agencies addressing these issues. Alaska history should be in the school curriculum. For instance, the accomplishments of the Alaska Native Brotherhood have never been noted. An example of just a few of them are: gained recognition of Alaska Native rights as citizens; won the right of Natives to vote; integrated public schools; brought hospitals for Natives in Alaska; helped champion the first Natives to be elected to the Alaska Territorial Legislature.There is rarely mention of Elizabeth Peratrovich a true leader. I thought I was here to be heard, not to be hurried. My personal concern is the Dept of Family and Youth Services. Natives are placed in non-native homes. Once a native child is placed in a non-native home, is there follow up? Judicial system: Sentencing for natives is worse. My brother was killed by a non-native in a car accident and he served only three days in jail because they said he wasn't in a cross walk. High Native numbers in prisons due to longer sentences for natives- Public defenders are understaffed and underfunded. How is it that one of the richest states in the nation can claim lack of funding on these key issues? Please send a message to the State Legislature.


Rosalee Walker

I have sat here throughout the whole day while the state agencies did their dog and pony show. I say that because if they are doing so well, how come there is still discrimination in state government. Why didn't anyone ask whether the minorities stayed in their jobs? Why didn't anyone ask if there was an exit exam for why minorities don't get hired. Politicians ignore the issues. Oh Yeah, I'll look into that. That's the last you'll ever hear. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. But what kind of grease do they give you. They just push you aside, or give you something to do to keep you from talking. I had my 72nd birthday Saturday, so I've been exposed, experienced, seen some of the most atrocious things. I know discrimination and racism when I see it. It's so institutionalized people just tell you you are making trouble if you speak up.
They call me a barracuda. I'll eat them alive.

  1. Hiring is good. But are they staying? If they leave, why
    did they leave? Is it discrimination?
  2. Encourage communication. Ask if their elected officials
    have done anything?
  3. Education and training for people in charge. Diversity
    training is everywhere. Why are state agencies just now
    developing training?
  4. Use local experts. Just because they have a Dr. behind
    their names, they still might be an educated fool. Don't use
    Outsiders. Best information is in the bar. You don't have to
    drink you can get a coke.
  5. Tell people in power to leave their ivory tower. They
    never come out and mingle with folks in need.
  6. Expose your culprits. They may be your friends, but so
    what. Expose them. Turn the light on these folks.
  7. Emotional comments shouldn't mean that you can't get to
    the root of the problem. Yes you can. You can wait it out
    and go back and investigate.
  8. Exit interviews to find out why people are leaving their
    jobs. Is there discrimination?


Frank White, Sr.

I've left off a lot of things because there's not enough time. Tribal leader of the wolf clan. The wolf clan of Juneau. Thank you for taking on this topic. I appreciate it. Even though we were granted rights. The right to vote was guaranteed by Frank and Elizebeth Peratrovich. They got us our rights but the discrimination just went under ground. It's hidden. Some of our men joined World War I and World War II. We went to defend our country. We've been fortunate for that. Before the Peratrovich's came along, we were living in Alaska long before other people. No rights. Now people from other countries only have to be here for a few years to get rights we didn't have for hundreds of years. I
was in law enforcement. Went to police academy in 1975. Graduated as a municipal police officer. Hoonah, Kake officer. It's harder to carry a badge in a small town because there are a lot of relatives in a small town. Jobs. There are hardly any natives on the construction crews in Alaska. Very noticeable. When they do get a job they are replaced by out of state workers. Prisons. It's wrong to send Alaska Natives to Arizona prisons. Schools. Native students are falling through the cracks. My daughter had to move back to Hoonah. She worked for Georgianna Lincoln but she had to leave to go back to Hoonah because her children weren't getting help in Juneau schools. Thank you for your time. I left out a lot of things because we ran out of time.


Al Judson

Copies of books. Quotations from Kennedy. I have a message for the Governor. Hand Clapping. I have a message for the State. You're late, you're late, for a very important date. Clapping throughout. The Nickname for this state is the Last Frontier. The reason for the nickname is that we have the
last chance to do things right. So far we've done everything wrong. Attitude of state is that it's a federal problem. I object to the word tolerance. I disagree with tolerance. It should be the Committee on Racism. There should be a policy of zero tolerance on racism. Hate crimes should not exist in our state. The kid's driver's license should be revoked because of the paintball incident. I have submitted the DMV laws. Why weren't, the juveniles in this incident charged as adults. Didn't the parents know about these incidents? Should they be considered as accomplices in the crime? Should there be an investigation of the Anchorage police force? As it applies to native people we should reevaluate
our justice system? I was born in Hoonah. My family moved to Skagway. My mom fought for us. I had to fight my way to school, had to fight my way through recess had to fight my way home. Still have scars on my soul for it. Who is going to pay for it? No one. Went to Mt. Edgecumbe. I went to a school in Kansas. We were treated as prisoners of war. 1985 they shut down the Indian School. They said it was the worst school they'd ever seen. If it wasn't for the elders in my community I would be in the penitentiary right now. Probably for killing someone. They helped me. They talked to me about God. They talked to me about living a good life. We used to have signs that said No Native People Allowed here. Europeans. Whole state is permeated with hate and discrimination. It takes good people to fight against it. Fight for equality. We have had to survive a language and culture assault. We were oppressed but we're not depressed. We're still hopeful that we can be equal. Our tribal
governments should be political institutions. State citizenship test. Could we have a contest on what it means to be an Alaskan. Statewide contest not just for students. Adults, too. UAF Native studies and reports should be used statewide. Teachers in villages are ignorant. They should know more about our culture before they arrive. What is the power of this commission? Will it be just like shooting a squirtgun at a fire? If so, you should all go home.


Ric Iannolino

I was a civil rights trainer. I worked for EEO. It was upsetting to hear the comments of state agencies earlier today. These government agencies should be talking to each other. They gave statistics for full time employees at 18
percent minorities. That gets lower if you factor in the part time and temporary employees.


  1. State agencies need diversity training requirements. Only one state agency does that. The rest are blowing smoke.
  2. School system. We've been trying to get national level quality training. We were working on the committee for civil rights in our school system. We need "Undoing Racism (through the Casey foundation) No one ever believes they are a racist. It's a disease that is invisible to many people.
    We need to have a progressive training throughout the school system. The largest minority in any area is always the one the most discriminated against. Alaska Natives are the most discriminated against. No one knows the history of Alaska natives. Why? We don't get enough information about all the pain that has occurred here. So much pain. We need national-level training. When you have your meeting on
    education, don't let them tell you they have done it. Don't let them get away with it. We need a quality training. Do they have a good track record? Know the history of the training.

How do we pay for the training?

Racism is a social epidemic. If you want to fix it you will find the funding. It will
take a lot of effort over a long period of time and the funding should be there. Make it happen.


Loretta Martin

Thank you for hearing us out. First, a lot of things I've wanted to say were already said by Selina Everson and Rosalee Walker and of course Ric. I was born in Petersburg, which is predominantly Norwegian. My mother is Tlingit. My
name is "Hands That Make Things Come True." My father is Filipino. I have 11 children. 10 boys, one girl. I came to Juneau with 9 children. I received training in a program and I got myself off welfare. The way I handled discrimination
early on was with my fists. Comments to children are very hurtful. Ruin self esteem. Racial incidents with cab drivers in Anchorage.


Cross cultural training for teachers. Respect.


Nancy Rongstad (summary of submitted written testimony volunteered not to
testify because the hearing were already past 7 p.m.)

Registered nurse, Mechanical Engineer, wife and mother. Received biggest awakening to the world of discrimination during my time working for the State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Males in the
department don't like "having to work with a woman." The usual assumption was that I had gotten the job by preferential means (gender preference) and by God, they were going to fight this unfairness all the way. Six weeks after
writing an opinion piece in Juneau Empire about the discrimination at DOT she was fired. Tried to work through the government complaint process and union arbitration and it is set up so you will lose. The politics and hierarchy that invades the state workforce shows little respect to anyone, especially the worker that doesn't fit the mold. Intolerance is unacceptable for an employer who has absolute control over the entire economy of the state of Alaska.


Tom Lesener:

Comments are philosophical. I was trained to believe that all people were created equal. My wife and I plan to adopt a girl from China. We have been foster parents for black children, native children, even some whites and two of our own. Old tolerance: Everyone has a right to believe what they want. That provided a principal for religious beliefs. New principle of tolerance: what everyone believes is right. If that's the case there is no truth. If people believe that racism is okay, that's wrong. Who you are equals what you believe. For anyone to challenge someone's belief and lifestyle then becomes prejudiced. That's my concern. Comment. Hate is not the opposite of love, indifference is.
Definition of Tolerance: To recognize other's beliefs without sharing them. I think that that is the old tolerance.


Debra Lee Gaffey

Lived in Juneau since 1967. Left for eight years. Had three children and came back here. I worked for the state about six years. Employed by HSS for last 12 years. I submitted a grievance which went on for a year through my union. I was assaulted in the workplace at HSS. He continued to stalk me in the department. It's been over a year and a half. I have now filed a lawsuit. The state did investigate the predator and he was investigated by a friend. They both work together on investigations. That doesn't work. I know of other women who have been physically assaulted by this person. I am a union representative and I hear about harrasment a lot. We need a neutral party to look into issues of discrimination and harassment. CSED has had a record of my husband not paying his child support yet I was told if I went on welfare they'd go after him, otherwise, the bills mount and the state doesn't bother going after him.


Joe Sonneman

I've learned from the Tlingits so I'll tell you about my family. My father was German. Discrimination in Alaska. Old-timer vs. new comer. We've seen that with the PFD. Highest per capita number of veterans but only state with no Veterans Home. Seniors should be in the center of community but they are on the outskirts in Juneau. Bus Services only run during the day and seniors need night service much more. That is discrimination. Conscious or unconscious. Been here since 1971. We don't have melting pot analogy. We don't have the
mixed salad analogy. We have oil and water. We don't mingle. That could be because we don't choose to mingle. Many Alaskans prefer to remain separate. How do we be separate and not be strange. Most societies attack the stranger. I think we should use the superstation to fund a campaign about some particular subculture Natives, bikers, lesbians, etc so that we know each other. 2 minutes. A day. The State should fund a public awareness campaign. It works.


Ray Austin

I'd like to share my concerns as a citizen, Tlingit and Alaskan. I have family members that are asian, black, native and white so I share their concerns. I am an unemployed Indian and computer professional. Diversity is good. When
it's used with the word employment it is even better. State should embrace diversity with employment equity. Statistics are 69 percent white and 31 percent minorities. We need to improve the state's employment record to develop a
representative work force. August 2000, only three of 35 court clerks were minorities in U.S. Supreme Court. Alaska demographic reports need to be incorporated into your report. I know the state can improve its record. (written
comments submitted)


Randy Wanamaker

Thank you for your time. And thanks to the audience for coming here to share your experiences. State employment and human resources issues. Sexual harassment. Retaliation for filing a complaint. Discrimination. There is very little support for changing things. No support. No reward to working to improve things between managers and staff. No enforcement. Lack of support for EEO issues from the Legislature, the Governor and State Agencies. There is a
feeling by state agencies to not let the individuals win when they file a complaint. Managers are rewarded for keeping the status quo. People are forced to quit and find another place to work. No support in employee unions because they don't want to make trouble with another union. Until those things change, things won't improve.

How would you rate government and private employment?

I rate private the best because they worry more about their reputation. Federal government is next, then State government. Legislature doesn't want to admit it exists. Governors come and go. Shuffle EEO off to another department. No reward for admitting you have problems.


Donn Liston

Lived in Alaska since 1962. Masters of Education at the University of Alaska. I've been working for ASEA, NEA From what I've seen in state employment, Alaska Natives are unwelcome as employees. Workplace Alaska does not address minority hire. State systems allow bullies to prevail. This is a theme that we must explore. (submitted written detailed comments)


Marge Gambell:

I don't know anyone here except Tom Stewart. Native Land Claims are important. Judge Stewart knows that. I'm not here representing any organization. I got two calls this morning asking if I was going to present. I have no definition of discrimination. I just know it. We all know it. I can say what I want to say better in Tlingit, but can't. We need to pull the rug out from under the BIA. We want to be able to say we know how to spend our money. We don't want the BIA to tell us. I was the first woman to be elected to the Central Council. We have been studied to death. With the prayers of the preachers behind us. We learned what our true feelings are. My children need this commission to do good things. The paintball splashed all over my children. We need to wash it off.


Catherine Stevens

Hello. I don't know any of you except Judge Stewart. Tlingit Raven born in Douglas, raised in Juneau. My family is Taku tribe by way of Atlin. Went to Catholic school and Juneau High. Graduated in 1947. I'm a little bit older than Rosalee Walker. We had to fight our way to the Catholic school. I have grandchildren and great grandchildren in our school system. I didn't see much discrimination in the Catholic school. My issue is state social services. Trying to take care of my great grandchildren. Education system problems. Most of my children didn't graduate. State government workers talk at you. Not with you. I appreciated the comments of Selina and Ray and Rosalee.


Christopher Mills, Sr.

Hoonah. Single parent. Raised my children myself. Discrimination still exists. Lot of dogs run around in Hoonah. This dog doesn't even belong to me. I get thrown in jail. When they do that it takes food out of my kids' mouth. Whites have dogs and nothing happens. It's the same old saying as the early 1900s. No dogs or indians allowed. I've never did nothing wrong and the dog don't even belong to me. That animal control officer don,t even have to look at him.
That's one form of discriminating. Dogs are important to have in Hoonah. My brother was attacked by a brown bear. Dog helped him. Kids at school will tell you who the third and fourth class citizens are. They'll tell you at school. The
word isn't prejudice anymore. It,s particular. They are still practicing it. Expelled kids are at home. Thank you.


Sue Miller

What is the definition of discrimination? What are we operating under? First amendment rights. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech or right of people to assemble. People have a right to a belief whether other people agree
with it or not. Freedom to assemble, whether other people agree with it or not. I don't mean to sound hostile. There are certain groups that speak about people of faith and are very intolerant of people of faith, even though we have a right to freedom. So what is discrimination. There are many groups left out of discrimination. Who are we talking about here? Smokers? Obesity? Etc. They should be included. I would like some answers. I am a fundamental christian. One of my best friends is a lesbian. But I have been called a bigot. (Written statement to be delivered.)


Melvin Ward

I've speaking for myself and other minorities. This is very important. I'm going to read it as fast as I can. I recently retired with the Teamsters. Statement of police activity. June 19, 1998. A group of officers talking outside of the Panhandle Bar. Someone stared at me from head to foot. I asked why he was giving me the evil eye. The police officer said he was looking at his tattoo. (reading from prepared statement) Skipped to police activity at the RV park. I have made a number of calls to arrange a meeting with Officer Bill Davis. No avail. Police officer harrassment based on his appearance. Wants police to take a sensitivity course to deal with cross-cultures. More minority police officers.


Jayne Andreen - Chair, City and Borough of Juneau Human Rights Commission.

Was established in 1993. One of only two municipal governments dealing with discrimination in the state. We attempt to resolve individual complaints. Nine members appointed to two terms by the Assembly. We just got a budget
for the first time ever. We have received $500 each month for the last two months. We don't have staff or statutory authority to investigate individual complaints. We focus on advocacy and linking individuals up with organizations. Embarrassing that we don't have statistics and facts for you. Just don't have the resources. Need the concerted effort throughout the state to enforce laws and end discrimination.

More resources put to complaints of discrimination.
Start with the kids. Education.
Public awareness campaign to change attitudes. Marketing efforts work. Need the concerted effort.

(Voice from audience)

No voice from Southeast Alaska natives. No southeast Alaska native on the commission. Why not? We would like a Southeast Alaska native on the commission.


David Ennison:

Native. Born in Petersburg. Predominantly white community. I am quarter Norwegian. I was raised in Juneau. Want to tell you a story about Petersburg. I understand the dialogue between my white and native friends. The Indian Education Act. I have become a teacher. What little knowledge I do have was through this. Not enough education. My job was to teach songs and dances. We want to impress upon children (2nd and 3rd grade), all children. I can't express to you enough bringing awareness of our culture. Highlighting the differences eventually become similarities. These children love it. It makes me feel good that I was a part of this. Even as adults this can be beneficial. Open hearts and open minds. Need more of these programs in our school systems. People will be more empathetic toward our Native community through understanding our culture.


Joe Geldoff (No summary of testimony in commission's notes)


Benjamin Danny Kornell

Sergeant, Juneau Police Dept. Tlingit. I work at the Juneau police department. I've been there for almost 22 years. If you sit silent and see injustice and don't act upon it then you are condoning it. Why are we here? Why is the panel here? Did it start with the paintball incident? If that's the case then I really
don't want to be here. If I can help this committee I'd love to do whatever I can. I'd like to offer my services. It took me months to get along with the other officers when I first started. One time I was walking down the hall and an officer grabbed my neck. He said I had no business being there. I saw three other officers watching. He was trying to get a rise out of me. The only way you can affect change is getting involved. I got involved. I don't really blame the
police officers because they drove around and saw the same alcoholic natives on the street every day and they became used to that. They weren't used to seeing Native professionals. It's gotten better. We have four Alaska Natives, One Black, one Puerto Rican, one Hispanic, three Indians. I think diversity is great. We should hold onto it tight. At first I was concerned with your panel because it doesn't look very diverse. But I understand that you have more people on the commission who were unable to make it. I can understand that. Different schedules. I've been here 22 years but I don't feel that my work is done. I want as many minorities and women in the department as I can before I leave. I could retire but I feel like my work isn't done. More education on a personal level. Let people be proud of their heritage and culture. Some people think I'm doing too much at the police department for my culture. I'm proud to
be a Juneau Police Department Employee, though and they've come a long way. It's good to be proud of your heritage and culture.


Jeremy Neldon, President of Southeast Alaska Gay and Lesbian Alliance

(played a cassette) Has lived in Juneau Alaska for 7 years. Moved here from New Jersey. My experience has been good but with discrimination. I am a gay man and a school teacher in Juneau. Here's the problem Plays this cassette.. "Hi Jeremy, you're a fag. Get a fucking life you mother fucker." This was one of my middle schools students. While this is disturbing for me, what's worse is how students are treated who think they are gay and are confused. They are in school with boys like you just heard. So much harrassment. There is no protection for these students. This state should lead the way and pass a law to protect sexual orientation. There are six lawsuits against the state right now over domestic partner benefits. There is no protection for us. I was discriminated in housing. I am discriminated in the fact that my partner and I can't be treated the same. If one of us gets hurt we have no legal recourse. Please do the right thing and stand up for us.


Elizabeth Williams

Director of the Boys and Girls Club in Juneau. I heard about this hearing and wondered what the commission is all about. I just want to let you know that our program does foster tolerance and diversity no matter of their race or sexual
orientation or economic status. The Boys and Girls Club program Smart Moves program is a good one. Please highlight the good work of programs that are working on ending discrimination.

Note: Get a copy of the smart moves educational training program.


Lance Hathaway:

My understanding is that this commission was formed after the paint ball incident. Hate Crimes laws that add an extra felony charge just because you did something against someone because they were a certain race. That's wrong. Laws based on a racial bias is a strong issue in this state. I saw discrimination on the North Slope for years. Day after day. I see you have no one north of the Brooks Range on your commission. That seems fitting because up north they are discriminating against anyone who is nonnative. Reverse discrimination should not be a word. There should be no discrimination. Period. There shouldn't be classes of laws against classes of people. I was told that I was being discriminated against but that they weren't going to do anything about it.


Carolyn Noe

I was born and raised in Hoonah, Eagle wolf clan. I have traveled all over the US of A. I was gone for 24 years. When I moved back to Juneau in 1990 I learned that discrimination in the schools was worse than ever. My children have been discriminated against because she is part Native. Her dad is from Kentucky. So she would have to say that she was from Kentucky, instead. I felt I was treated a lot better overseas than I am in Alaska. People were so excited to meet an Alaskan. I have done a lot of volunteer work in community organizations. I wanted my daughter to know that our culture teaches respect. I'm very proud of that. Our native children and people we have a right to proud. Others don't treat us that way. How long do we have to turn our cheek against the discrimination. I hope and pray for a change.


Dixie Hood

I really just came to listen this evening but I felt I had to say something after listening today. I don't know how many people from PFLAG have been here tonight but I wanted to share a story. I was at a teacher training. Students all
the way down to 2nd grade knew that fag was a derogatory term and teachers didn't know how to handle it so they largely ignored it. So we worked with the school district to address this issue. I think the Juneau School district is going to do something about it. The Juneau District has protection for sexual orientation in its policy. One of the few districts in the state that has this. One teacher even stopped wearing a lavender shirt to class because so many students would ask him if he was gay. One student admitted she was gay and was harassed and lost her friends. She reported it at the school. She was still harassed and so she gave the names of the students and they were suspended. That eliminated the problem at that time. Last year this young women went to a dance with her girlfriend and she was grabbed before she entered the building and was beaten. She was so outraged. She decided to go home and clean up and then she went back to the dance. She had no idea who they were their faces were covered. IT took tremendous courage for her. I am impressed with PFLAG doing work to educate. It does make a difference.


Judy George, representing herself - also is President of Tlingit and Haida Indians of Juneau. (4700 members)

I do have written materials. The Tolerance Commission is a new concept. Most of us are not used to solutions. We have just experienced the discrimination. Maybe we don't have the money or the right kind of clothes or the job. So they are already down, and then just a little more fuels the fire. President of local Tlingit and Haida Council. I worked for the Central Council for 18 years. Worked for territoral and state government. Dept of Education. Lived in Angoon for 8 years, Juneau for 20 years. I'm here with my husband. He used to be on the State Human Rights Commission for many years. I hope you will be able to sift through the stories you hear here and find some commonalities. The state should be more responsible for its role in hiring. We have a responsibility to talk about these issues and get to the core of the issue. Look at subsistence. I have a feeling that we will be talking about this every year. It's almost as bad as the state capitol issue. It's expensive and time consuming to continue to debate it. I grew up in a very disfunctional family. We want to do more to make sure our kids and grandkids had a better life. I'm pleased that the Tolerance Commission was established. We should encourage peacemakers among us. Negativity hasn't gotten us anywhere. Keep encouraging what we think is right. We should consider events and actions that result and cross-cultural awareness. I hope your commission is successful. Please keep a good attitude.



How can I contact the Tolerance Commission?


For additional information, interpreter services or other
accommodations, please call Diana Rhoades at (907) 269-8122
or email

Written comments may be mailed to:

Commission on Tolerance
Office of the Governor
550 W. 7th, Suite 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501.

Written comments may be faxed to Commission on Tolerance at
(907) 269-7461.


Source of Testimony Summary: Tolerance Commission - Staff Meeting Notes, July 26, 2001 - Public information.



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