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Dunleavy’s Address to Alaska Federation of Natives 2020 Convention

October 15, 2020 (Anchorage, AK) – Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy today addressed the Alaska Federation of Natives 2020 Convention virtually, speaking on the topics of public health in the face of a global pandemic, strides made in public safety, a cooperative partnership ensuring educational success, and his commitment to the Alaska Native community.

 Key excerpts from Governor Dunleavy’s video address to AFN. The video and full transcript can be found here.

A collaborative approach to protect rural communities from COVID-19

From the very beginning, we worked with individuals representing AFN, tribal health, and our rural communities, on a collaborative and consistent basis. Frequent meetings occurred, and still occur, between my administration, representatives of rural Alaska, and our Native communities, in an effort to protect our people.”

The success of local control in safeguarding from an outbreak

We chose to emphasize local control, allowing communities unprecedented latitude to protect themselves. We collected over 2,600 community protection plans. These ensured our mining, oil, and commercial fishing operations didn’t threaten vulnerable populations. As a result, our communities have been kept safe relative to past pandemics, and critical industries were able to operate. At the airports, over a quarter-million travelers were screened for infection. About 400 COVID-19 cases were caught before any Alaskans were put in danger. None of this would’ve been possible without the close collaboration of our leaders, both in rural Alaska, and our Native leaders statewide.”

Rebuilding Alaska’s economy

“My team, along with countless Alaskans, is working each and every day to get Alaska back on its feet. Whether that means supporting new industries like mariculture, advocating for renewable energy projects, or building roads to resources – every option is on the table to provide Alaskans with opportunity, including those in rural Alaska.”

Increased presence of Troopers in rural Alaska

Last year, we hired a historic number of new troopers, many of them to be placed in rural Alaskan villages. This year, the training academy is processing the highest number of public safety recruits in recent history. My goal is to continue to beef up the number of troopers in rural Alaska to combat longstanding public safety issues.”

Breakthroughs in combatting sexual assault and domestic violence

“We cleared the state troopers’ sexual assault kit backlog, reopening 21 cases and producing charges in four of those cases. We funded 26 emergency shelters and victim services programs at record levels. We are in the process of standing up a Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team. Initiatives like Operation Lady Justice, Savanna’s Act, and the Not Invisible Act are focusing more resources than ever before on the tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women, and this is just the beginning.”

Ensuring educational success

“Equally important to me is the educational success of our Alaska Native children. To that end, we’ve signed agreements with the Knik Tribe educational agency and the Tanana Chiefs Conference to advance tribal charter schools, tribal compacting, improve data sharing, and make certain every child has the opportunity to learn. The Department of Education also worked to procure needed personal protective equipment for staff and children, as well as learning devices, including 500 iPads, for many of our rural schools to better deal with this pandemic.”

A commitment to rural Alaska

“Some of the best years of my life were spent in rural Alaska, and I want to do everything in my power to improve the lives of those that call rural Alaska home. This has been, and will continue to be, my commitment to all of you.”

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Media Contact: Jeff Turner, jeff.turner@alaska.gov  (907) 310-4961