May 20, 2022

Murkowski Co-Hosts Roundtable Discussion on Public Safety and Justice in Native Communities

Washington, DC—This week, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) co-hosted a roundtable titled, “Public Safety in Native Communities,” to hear from the Departments of the Interior and Justice and representatives from Tribes and Native organizations about how they are working together to strengthen public safety and justice in vulnerable Native communities and the aid needed to fully implement recent bipartisan legislation sponsored by Murkowski, including VAWA 2022, the Not Invisible Act and Savanah’s Act, all aimed at providing the tools and resources to empower Native communities to keep people safe and provide justice for victims and their families.


Vice Chairman Murkowski provided remarks to kick off the roundtable discussion before welcoming and thanking Alaska Native and Senior Legal and Policy Director, Alex Cleghorn, from the Alaska Native Justice Center for his work to help combat this public safety crisis.


Pictured: Senator Murkowski at the SCIA roundtable on May 18, 2022


“Tribal leaders, advocates, and Native victims and survivors and their families have called for addressing the public safety and justice crisis in Alaska Native communities and across Indian country for decades. American Indian and Alaska Native people make up a disproportionate of missing and murdered individuals. This is a problem I have worked hard to solve and I am incredibly proud of the progress we have achieved so far, together,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “It is time we step up to address this public safety crisis in a meaningful way. That will require greater resources, the empowerment of tribes, and increased governmental collaboration. Thanks to our recent bipartisan wins—the passage of VAWA 2022 and the MMIW bills—Not Invisible Act and Savana’s Act, and increased federal appropriations, I think we’re on the right track for all three. I want to welcome all of our panelists today for participating, but in particular Alex Cleghorn, Senior Legal and Policy Director from the Alaska Native Justice Center. ANJC has done great work in partnership with Alaska Tribes to strengthen self-determination and sovereignty to serve tribal citizens.”


Click here to watch Vice Chairman Murkowski’s opening remarks and questions to panelists.


The SCIA roundtable panel included:


  • Tracy Canard Goodluck, Senior Advisor, Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
  • Jason O’Neal, Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs – Office of Justice Services, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
  • Robert E. Chapman, Acting Director, Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
  • The Honorable Eugena Charles-Newton, Chairwoman, Law and Order Committee, Navajo Nation Council, Shiprock, NM
  • Mark Kawika Patterson, Chair, Hawai‘i State Correctional Systems Oversight Commission and Administrator, Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility, Honolulu, HI
  • Michael Ford, Chief of Police, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Reno, NV
  • Lucy Rain Simpson, Executive Director, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Lame Deer, MT
  • Nikki Borchardt Campbell, Executive Director, National American Indian Court Judges Association, Boulder, CO
  • Alex Cleghorn, Sr. Legal and Policy Director, Alaska Native Justice Center, Anchorage, AK


For more information on the SCIA roundtable, click here.