Program launched to help Alaska Natives find missing

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Three rural Alaska communities have launched a pilot program intended to create more culturally sensitive protocols on how government and law enforcement should respond to cases with missing or slain Alaska Natives.

The Curyung Native Council in Dillingham, the Native Village of Unalakleet and the Koyukuk Native Village have launched the program, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska said in a statement.

The three will work with state agencies to create a Tribal Community Response Plan that will determine law enforcement protocol, victim services, community outreach and public communications, according to the statement.

Alaska has one of the highest rates in the U.S. for unsolved cases that involve missing or slain Indigenous women, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

“Participating in this pilot project not only demonstrates to our families that we care deeply about the traumas they’re experiencing, but also asserts our sovereignty in addressing this issue for our people by developing an action plan relevant to Curyung’s culture and community,” Curyung Tribal Council Tribal Administrator Courtenay Carty said in the statement.

In August, the Indian Affairs Cold Case Office opened to focus on cases that have gone unsolved for a long period of time.

The Associated Press