Bill Walker’s Attorney General Alaska announced last week that the State of Alaska would maintain a hands off position relating to the use of banishment as a punishment in Bush Alaska. Even though there are constitutional and civil rights (not to mention property rights) concerns, the Walker AG is going to stand idly by and allow this very questionable practice to continue. https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/rural-alaska/2017/10/07/state-wont-interfere-with-tribal-banishments-despite-civil-rights-issues-ag-says/
Nice to see constitutional rights for Alaskans now subject to the race of the Alaskan involved. So much for the rule of law in Bush Alaska.
Banishment was used earlier this year when a non-native longtime resident of Togiak was detained, jailed, and eventually placed on an airplane out of town twice. He was accused of bringing alcohol into a dry village. Those involved in the incidents include but are not limited to the Togiak Village Council, City of Togiak, the local VPSO, State Troopers, and the AG’s office. None of the Walker employees took action though all knew something was going down.
When the 73-year old returned to Togiak at the suggestion of his lawyer, he was surrounded, detained, and put into a holding cell for six days. He is diabetic and had trouble getting meds. At the end of the detention, he was bound with duct tape, put on an airplane and flown back to Dillingham.
He contacted the troopers and was told they would not get involved, that he could contact the tribe, the FBI, or make a civil rights complaint. Nice respect for the rule of law, that. http://mustreadalaska.com/banishment-thing-alaska-gone-far/
So what are we to make of all this? It appears that the race-baiting Walker administration (that means you, Byron) is busily constructing a race-based justice system in Bush Alaska, giving up all state jurisdiction. Perhaps it is budgetary. Perhaps not.
Myself, I think it is simple pandering to native separatists.
What is to be done? The very first thing is to admit we have a problem and that this administration is doing nothing to solve it. If we are going to turn over law enforcement to mob rule, and that is what tribal / village justice really is, all we have to do is show up with a larger mob? Sure you social engineering rocket scientists want to go there?
Think what banishment does. It illegally arrests someone. It does not afford them the ability to meet the accuser in a court of law. It removes all property from the banished, as they can neither take it with them nor return to use it. It shuts down businesses. When the person is removed from the community, they are essentially kidnapped. And it does all of this with the Tribal Council, who has no judicial standing, acting as police, investigator, judge, jury and executioner. Sure we want this sort of mob justice in Alaska?
Keep this up long enough, and the Bush is going to become lawless. It will not be long before someone shows up with a well-armed larger mob to even the score. Sure we want to go there? Walker and his employees are doing their level best to go in that direction. I think it is a mistake. You should also.
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He is a small business owner and Information Technology professional.