JUNEAU – Following Rep. Sarah Vance’s offensive comments in House Tribal Affairs, the House Coalition calls on Rep. Vance to apologize.
“As the only Alaska Native women in the legislature, knowing my native sisters are disproportionately affected by these high rates of violence within Alaska and other states cuts me to my core,” said Rep. Maxine Dibert (D-Downtown Fairbanks). “These women are on the forefront and are who we should be devoted to protecting. These are Alaskans, not just statistics.”
Rep. Vance’s comments came during the House Tribal Affairs Committee, whose chairman Rep. CJ McCormick has led efforts to develop and pass legislation reducing violence against Alaska Native women. Numerous Alaskans traveled from across the state to visit legislators and advocate for MMIWG2S legislation and were in the room during Rep. Vance’s insensitive and harmful comments which neglected the immediate crisis facing Alaskan Natives.
“I can’t say how much it hurt my heart to hear of the violence and disparities of violence for indigenous Alaskans, and while the suffering is the same for victims, the causes of that violence are not the same, and the response to that violence is not the same, and the justice for the victims is not the same,” said Rep. Ashley Carrick(D-West Fairbanks). “Until it is, we have a lot of work left to do. Comments such as those made by Rep. Vance fly in the face of the brave indigenous women who testified before the Tribal Affairs Committee and she should apologize for her words.”