Equal protection for all

As we celebrate the Fourth of July we recognize and value the checks and balances of all governmental entities that our founders established. Our founders also created a constructive process for redress of grievances for individuals. Minorities are still playing catch up. The question must be asked: Where is the process of redress of grievances for Alaska Natives and American Indians? Where are the checks and balances within Tribal Self-Government entities?

The Alaska Constitution Article 1 § 3 Civil Rights provides that no person is to be denied the enjoyment of any civil or political right because of race, color, creed, sex or national origin.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that no State may deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Apparently our elected representatives do not believe that the Fourteenth Amendment applies to Tribal Self-Government entities.

As an Alaska Native I have a voice struggling to be heard but the convoluted process available to me smothers my voice and the voices of countless others. Is there a process for redress of grievance in Indian Country (Tribal Self-Government)? The United States Federal Government entities that protect other minorities have told me that there is no process available to me for redress of grievance within the U.S. Federal Government.

As citizens of the United States, Alaska Natives and American Indians lack equal protection under the law of their civil rights within Tribal Self-Government entities. Millions of federal dollars are funded to Tribal Self-Government entities. There must be a system in place with a clear road map that will ensure equal protection under the law for all citizens.

Betty Jo Moore

Juneau

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