Napaskiak Tribal Council requests Governor to Declare Disaster of Emergency

Council seeks closure of Bethel Liquor Store due to numerous alcohol-related deaths

The Napaskiak Tribal Council is requesting Governor Bill Walker to declare a disaster of emergency and to close the liquor store in Bethel due to numerous alcohol-related deaths in and around the surrounding villages near Bethel.

The Napaskiak Tribal Council passed the resolution on the 5th of March at their regular meeting, said Tribal Administrator Sharon Williams.

The resolution was passed on the 5th of March.

Below are the whereases of Resolution 3-5-18-A.

•The Native Village of Napaskiak is a federally recognized tribe authorized by its Constitution and Bylaws to have Napaskiak Tribal Council represent and act in all matters that concern the general welfare and safety of the enrolled members of the Tribe; and

•Since the opening of the liquor store in Bethel, Alaska the surrounding villages including the Native Village of Napaskiak have experienced numerous, preventable deaths among their members related to alcohol; and

•Napaskiak Tribal Council has seen increased caseloads in our Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) program; and

•Search and Rescue volunteers are overwhelmed with increased calls to search for loved ones; and

•Attendance at schools are dropping because the kids aren’t getting enough sleep due to alcohol disturbances; and

•Minors are consuming alcohol, and

•Our people are becoming homeless people in Bethel, Alaska even they have homes in the village; and

•Our local police are burnt out from too many alcohol disturbance calls; and

•The State Trooper post in Bethel, Alaska is experiencing an increased caseload; and

•There is a shortage of staff at the State Trooper Post in Bethel to respond to criminal and other cases due to the State fiscal crisis; and

•Alcohol related deaths are not being reported to the Alcohol Control Board; and

•Our hospital in Bethel is overwhelmed with alcohol related injuries, accidents, and responses; and

•The alcohol epidemic is as bad as or worse than the opioid epidemic that has been subject of disaster declaration.

“Napaskiak Tribal Council is requesting the Honorable Governor of Alaska, Bill Walker, to declare a disaster of emergency to close the liquor store in Bethel, Alaska due to high rate of alcohol related deaths, accidents and injuries in the surrounding villages of Bethel, Alaska,” states Resolution 3-5-18-A. “Be it further resolved that the tribal members of the villages surrounding Bethel, Alaska deserve to have their safety and general welfare addressed by the State that enabled the current disaster.”

And it concludes with, “BE IT FUTHERMORE RESOLVED, Napaskiak Tribal Council is requesting State of Alaska, Department of Public Safety to hand over Law Enforcement to the Unites States Department of Justice to help decrease high criminal rates due to alcohol related accidents, injuries and death.”

The resolution passed by a unanimous vote 5-0 and was certified by Napaskiak Tribal Chief Stephen Maxie and Napaskiak Tribal Council Secretary Alice Maxie.

The Native Village of Marshall also passed a resolution requesting Governor Bill Walker to declare a state of emergency for villages totally without law enforcement, which includes their village of Marshall. Theirs was passed on March 8th, 2018.