Alaska wakeup call

Posted: Monday, July 30, 2001

Jim Duncan provided statistics at the Governor's Tolerance Commission meeting in Juneau on July 26. The Alaska state minority hire statistics speak for themselves. Of 14,700 employees; only 7 percent are Alaska Native. The statistics are very low; it is time to give the state of Alaska a wake-up call.

In 1945, as Grand Camp president of the Alaska Native Sisterhood, Elizabeth provided the crucial testimony that cultivated passage of the Alaska Anti-Discrimination Bill. It was her response when questioned by the Senate: Will the equal rights bill eliminate discrimination in Alaska? No, discriminatory practices still exist, because Natives are experiencing discrimination in employment. Based on the low employment rate of Alaska Natives, the sign still exists, only in another form.

It is not exceptional to ask for a goal of one out of three jobs to be designated for Native hire. The initial goal for the Alaska state government should be 33 percent for starters. It is not too much to ask for 4,851 jobs.

It is not too much to ask the governor to direct an executive order to all state departments, commissions and boards to review their present Human Resource policies and practices regarding recruitment, appointment, promotion, demotion, transfer, retention, discipline, separation, training and compensation to improve minority and Alaska Native hire. The state needs to regularly review state and federal laws and regulations and seek to redress the under-utilization of Alaska Native hire, minorities, women, or individuals with disabilities, and qualified veterans within the state workforce.

Ray Austin


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