U.S. Attorney General William Barr is coming to Bethel and Napaskiak on Friday to talk with leaders about rural justice issues, including the public safety crisis and the high rates of domestic violence and sexual assault in Western Alaska.
Barr met with Alaska Native leaders in Anchorage on Wednesday, May 29 to discuss the challenges these communities face. Association of Village Council Presidents CEO Vivian Korthuis attended the gathering.
Korthuis said that she hoped the Attorney General would be able to see the challenges Alaska Native tribes endure due to a lack of law enforcement when he visits the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta on Friday.
"When I came into the room this morning, I noticed that the media was here, and I also noticed there were six cameras. Six media outlets, if you count the cameras behind me. We have six VPSOs [village public safety officers] in our region that serves 56 tribes," Korthuis said. "And I really think that is an example of what our communities are really concerned about is that there is a failure in our justice system, and a failure in our expectations from both the state and federal government to provide those essential services that all of us expect as citizens of the state of Alaska and citizens of the United States and tribal citizens."
Barr says that he hopes to hold more meetings about these issues in Alaska or in Washington D.C.