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Alaska Native justice panel still hasn't begun work

A tribal-federal-state commission created to examine justice, jurisdiction and sovereignty issues in rural Alaska still hasn't begun its work.

The Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission was the product of Sen. Ten Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He created the panel, through an appropriations rider, after seeing opposition to his proposal to strip Alaska's tribes of federal funding for tribal courts and law enforcement.

But the Department of Justice has yet to name the members of the panel, whose work was to be completed last May. The deadline was extended but observers in Alaska expect another extension.

Stevens has said that each of Alaska's 200-plus tribes can't expect to receive federal funding. He has urged consolidation of services but some tribal leaders believe he is open to alternatives.

Get the Story:
Tribes look for answer on funding (The Anchorage Daily News 8/29)

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