March 24, 2021

Vice Chairman Murkowski: Indian Affairs Committee Holds Hearing on Water Infrastructure

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, provided the following remarks during today’s oversight hearing on “Building Back Better: Water Infrastructure Needs for Native Communities.”


“The pandemic has clearly underscored the need for these communities to have better water infrastructure. Simply washing your hands multiple times throughout the day to protect against the spread of COVID should not be a difficult task, but that’s unfortunately the reality that some Alaskan communities face,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “Today’s hearing highlights a field oversight hearing that I chaired in August 2018 at Hogarth Kingeekuk Sr. Memorial School in the Native Village of Savoonga where we heard about the very real, dire needs for water and sanitation infrastructure on the island. In fact, one of our witnesses today represents the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, which was able to install a new water plant for Savoonga so that the village has access to safe drinking water. The health impacts of the lack of sanitation and clean water infrastructure in combination with overcrowded housing in so many Native communities remains an ongoing public health crisis. I look forward to working with Indian country to address these infrastructure needs.”


Vice Chairman Murkowski invited The Honorable Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson, Interim President of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), to be a witness and testify before the Committee. A Yup’ik, Ms. Davidson is an enrolled tribal citizen of the Orutsararmiut Traditional Native Council, located in Bethel. She previously served as Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, and ANTHC’s Senior Director of Legal and Intergovernmental Affairs. In her position as Interim President, Ms. Davidson oversees the administration of ANTHC’s statewide health and social services that are offered to the Alaska Native and American Indians living in Alaska.