Barr comes to learn about violence in the village



U.S. Attorney General William Barr came to Alaska from Washington, D.C. to learn about violence against Natives.

He participated in a roundtable discussion with Sen. Dan Sullivan at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage. He travelled to Bethel and Galena. He listened. He observed Native dancers in a community center in Napaskiak.

He is the first U.S. Attorney General to ever visit rural Alaska, the first to visit a women’s shelter in Bethel or travel by boat to a remote village.

He and Sen. Lisa Murkowski listened to the locals talk about the need for more law enforcement in rural Alaska. The need for more resources, more money.

So many questions remain unanswered in the media coverage of the trip. Did the Alaska Native leaders come clean with the full nature of the problem? These are matters that many Alaskans will not speak of openly, for fear of being called racist.

Did they tell Attorney General Barr about this manhunt?

Right now, in an Alaska Native village that must go unnamed, troopers are looking for an extremely dangerous man. The man is Native and he is on the loose. The Troopers asked the village council to help them locate the man. The council refused to help. They are protecting him and hiding him from Troopers. The man is a known vicious sexual offender and Troopers have now stepped up the manhunt, first devoting three, and now five officers searching for this man, in a matter that could be and should be already handled. Across village Alaska, Native leaders often do not cooperate with law enforcement, and just as often are known to protect criminals.

Did they tell Attorney General Barr about this recent case?

In a village that must go unnamed, a Village Public Safety Officer arrested a tribal elder recently. It was a rightful arrest. But the village council didn’t agree with the arrest, so they wrote a letter to the hiring authority (tribal agency that must go unnamed) saying they don’t want that VPSO to serve their community, and the VPSO was removed from that position. The tribal entity hired a different person as a VPSO, sending a message that the new VPSO can only make arrests the community leaders agree with.

It’s not an isolated problem. VPSOs know that their jobs are very political, and that they can lose their position in a heartbeat if they arrest a powerful person.


Study after study show that Alaska Native women are assaulted in staggering numbers.

A Department of Justice study reveals that 84 percent of Alaskan Native women have experienced violence, 56 percent have experienced sexual violence. Roughly 50 percent of the women said they had experienced physical violence. Over 60 percent had experienced psychological aggression. 49 percent had been stalked.

It’s not just the women. 27 percent of Alaska Native men have experienced sexual violence, 43 percent have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner, and 73 percent have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner.

The 2016 study, by UAA’s Dr. Andre Rosay, says that 92.6 percent of the Native women and 74.3 percent of the Native men had talked to someone about what the perpetrators did to them. In other words, most victims are not remaining silent. And yet, the problem continues unabated and perpetrators are not held accountable.

Then there’s this: Fifty-four percent of Alaska’s sexual assault victims are Alaska Native, even though Alaska Native people comprise not quite 15 percent of the population.


Who are the perpetrators of this violence? That’s harder to define, but in rural Alaska villages, where Natives are predominant, it’s a stretch to say that perpetrators are a race other than the residents who live there.

Yet, we are told by the report that 96 percent of victims say perpetrators were from another race. Something doesn’t add up.

An important data point: A review of Alaska’s Sexual Offender Database shows that Alaska Native men dominate the sex offender and kidnapper registry.


Some say the solution rests with the tribes.

With 229 federally recognized tribes in Alaska — far more “tribes” than there are incorporated communities — beefing up law enforcement, allowing villages to enforce tribal laws and allot justice to non-tribal members — these are some of the solutions offered that have all kinds of problems attached to them. The largest Native community, after all, is in Anchorage, and it’s multi-tribal.

Did Attorney General Barr get the full picture while he was in Alaska? Did tribes and village leaders come clean about the problem of Native-on-Native violence, the protection of perpetrators by village leaders, or the fact that some communities are — to be blunt — not much more than rape camps?

Likely, Barr heard for the need for more money, better jails, more shelters for victims, and social services. He likely did not hear about the need for personal, family, and community responsibility for communities that want, more than anything, sovereignty. They want money to run affairs their way.

If rural Alaska wants to end the epidemic of violence, it will mean locking up or removing more of their men. This is complicated business, because these offenders can be sent to prison, can be removed from households and communities where they’ve harmed people, but at great cost, because communities without men are going to be very different communities. Boys growing up with fathers who are in prison have very different challenges.

Barr vowed to provide greater security to rural Alaska. What that means is locking up perpetrators. And what that means is arresting and prosecuting them. Are village leaders ready for that?

Do you know of a story from rural Alaska where village leaders did not allow law enforcement to arrest a perpetrator? Add it in the comment section below.


  1. he should admit Law Enforcement has no Obligation to Protect anyone, but waits till the Law is Broken, then persue the Law Breaker.. 2nd amendment is the 1st line of defence for you home and family. and national defence from all enemies of the USA and its Constitution both foreign and domestic.

  2. Craig Medred has a similarly themed article running

    Here’s what I said in his comment section:
    The problem is clear, in areas where government heavily subsidizes living by way of making people dependent upon government for the basics of life crime is a problem because government cannot provide a sense of achievement or pride or a sense of worth. Where there is opportunity and jobs crime is lower, government dependency is lower, and people thrive.

    I will add that if the native corporations want to be treated as sovereign nations, the they should stop asking for handout after handout and they should start protecting their people, not hiding known criminals from the law enforcement they claim to want help from.

    • no sovereignty for native corporations, period. ccthita has sovereignty and never should have been allowed

    • It is not Native”Corporations” that want sovereignty. The Corporations are business generating entities like any other corporation. It is the tribes who want more sovereignty. Corporations and tribes are two different entities.

      • We must keep repeating this. The public too often equates tribes and corporations.
        “Respect ANCSA. It matters.”

      • My apologies for confusing the two, since many times the two are so interlinked as to tell the difference between the two is almost impossible. Perhaps if there were a clearer delineation between the two they wouldn’t be so easily confused.

        • Have to disagree Steve. The two are very obviously different. Corps have Board of Directors. Corp names are noticeably different from tribes, who mostly go by village. As Suzanne pointed out, there are more tribes than villages. That is due to many folks from abandoned villages being able to form a tribe.
          It is somewhat difficult at times as Corps directors are often tribal chiefs or presidents. Feel free to thank Clinton and Ada Deer for the tribal stuff.

        • I have trouble occasionally in a news report or other publication when the author simply refers to “the village”. Then I don’t know if they mean the village corporation or the tribal group in the community…or it could even refer to a municipal entity, I suppose. Our news reporters and others should be advised to be more explicit.

  3. BYRON MALLOTT. So let’s have an honest discussion, about him, right here at MRAK. Mallott, the elected running-mate of Governor Bill Walker. Mallott, a Democrat, our Lt. Governor of Alaska. Mallott, an Alaska Native, from SE Alaska. Mallott, 74 years old and a Native elder. Mallott, a married man and grandfather, engaged in an extra-marital affair with a Native woman who he assisted in obtaining employment with the VPSO. Mallott, who decided he would like to start an inappropriate relationship with his girlfriend’s teenage daughter.
    Mallott, who tried to hide this last fact, caused a major stir-up in Governor Walker’s re-election campaign in 2018. Mallott resigned, or was removed, from his position as Lt. Governor of Alaska. In any other state, these events would have generated national news, but the Alaska major dailies never reported. WHY? We know the reason, but apparently it is considered beyond racial boundaries and touches the nerves within the Democrat Party to explore these events. BS. It’s time to recount these events and see what solutions can be derived so that it doesn’t happen again. The cover-up by the press is an insult to Alaskans. These events took out a seated governor and caused much turmoil behind the scenes. Only MRAK had the fortitude to allow a frank and honest discussion of the events surrounding BYRON MALLOTT. Let’s have a real discussion and quit being timid, as though the offenders are being unjustly offended. Those actions in the late fall of 2018 affected ALL Alaskans.

    • It would be nice if former Governor Bill Walker would man-up and discuss the Mallott issue. Mallott was Walker’s second in command. Walker is more than a failed governor. He is also a COWARD!

  4. This is a brave article. MRAK is at its best when revealing hard facts in a tough-minded manner.

  5. Very well stated article. It always seems to lead to the same plea; “we need more money from the government to fix the problem.”

    • Exactly right John. That is the first thing I noticed was their plea for more money. The issue and problems go WAY beyond money.

    • The government can offer no other solution than throwing around money that it confiscated from the productive. For the trio in DC the solution to this government caused problem is not more government, but less.

  6. Suzanne and MRAK are a spotlight on the events that the mainstream Alaska media is too afraid to expose. Corruption, graft, crooked politicians, theft, lies, deceipt, cover-ups, and extreme one-sided partisan politics. Without Suzanne and MRAK, Alaskans would be clueless about their state and local government. KUDOS!

  7. I bet he was up here about that HUGE account no one wants to talk about. The one that everyone dips into. Some got caught and had to resign. Funny thing, no one has notified the owner of that account. Better hurry up. That subject will make it’s way to Geneva this summer. Then all the visits and PR stunts in the world won’t work. America with other nations will plunge into financial ruins. Don’t steal. No one likes a thief.

  8. Villages that want their own tribal laws and shield sex offenders are among the first to call the Troopers for help when a drunk with a gun is terrorizing the village. Happened in my girlfriends village twice this year already.

  9. Outstanding reporting; slogans and platitudes don’t cut it any more. Authority to govern can only be possible with rule of law in a civil society.

  10. I have had discussions on this with others, folks who are not blinded by PC labels. This culture will not change from within, until such time as native women/young girls are valued. As it stands, it is one generation after another, of victim-hood, with no chance of escape for many. The men, who should be the protectors and providers, neither protect nor provide for these victims. All this wound up in many threads of native pride, their racism towards white people, at odds with their colorblindness towards money they can scavenge off state and federal government. Toss in alcohol and drug abuse, and it is a festering cesspool of misery in many villages. Workable solutions will only come from within, not from more dollars thrown at law enforcement, shelters, social workers, and so on.

  11. I love William Barr, but nothing is going to change, Come on.
    The Pecking order of intimidation is in inherent part of the Bush culture.
    Let s not forget the two troopers killed in Tanana. Ambushed and left to die. This article is just the tip of the ice berg of unspoken truths of Bush Alaska.
    What I do not get is the common denominator, Booze.
    Why is it allowed? In the lower 48 there are several Counties that are Dry.
    When things go bad in the Bush, thin ice, boat drownings, killings, Female/male Rape, Incest, Repeat Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, prejudice, all comes back to Booze.
    Byron Mallet deserves a pat on the back for upholding all the
    “traditional “ Values he grew up with. Instead of having the guts to Break the Chain of abuse.
    Thank you Ms Suzanne for having the courage to scratch the surface on the unspoken Alaska truths, Well Done.

    • Many villages and areas are dry, but prohibition cannot ever work, humans are too ingenious. In any event, the villages go dry because a significant portion of the village drinks. That portion has no incentive to actually help the problem, just subvert the bans.

      This is not a “crime” problem at root, crime is the system for psychological and spiritual despair. No amount of money can fix that, only hard decision making by the people in the villages.

  12. Suzanne’s journalism deserves an award for truth and honesty, as well as courage…. to step outside of the PC box and discuss this topic head-on. It’s not unlike the early reporting about the Catholic priest sex scandals. Thank you, Suzanne, for being a leader.

  13. Having lived in the villages in Southeast Alaska back in the 80s I can tell you that you are on point. The level of protection of people who have committed violent crimes by families is terrible and destructive, yet expected becasuue after all who do we love more and protect more than our own family members. This has been the unwanted, out of sight, and out of mind, the single most important issue in Alaska as there have been so many lives destroyed by this. It is mind boggling! I think your question of who are the perpetrators of this violence is best answered by those who hide it because they do perpetuate it and this is all part of a never-ending cycle which results and not just women being abused but men as well. Government is clearly not the answer. To ask the Government to help is perpetuating the entitlement which is destroying all of Alaska today. Those who ride this mantra with increased funding, more programs, and more social behavior control projects are pumping a dry well and history proves it. Just stop. This has to start within the community. Leadership must be brave and address it head on as it will continue without this. Further, this leadership must be generational. I remember my good friend, Erling Skaflestad, (He’s passed, bless him) used to tell me that life in the village was always social and meaningful before television (not to say there weren’t problems, but they were addressed). People would get together almost daily for meals, activities and sharing, then with the advent of television, the entire community secured themselves in each of their homes and stopped talking, sharing, and living. This is not an admonishment of technology. It is an warning of the need for leadership especially with the youth of our communities. Whether off the road system or on it, we all must take the time to help lead our children. Only then will we break this curse.

  14. The Byron Mallott example is well-placed. Here, an Alaska Native man, second in command in state government, breached the confidences of both a young Native girl, and all Alaskans, for his despicable acts. And a cover-up ensued, so that party politics and traditions toward Native elders would not be affected. Rather than a teaching moment, the mainstream press kept their distance so as not to upset the Native community or the politics of the day. There is plenty of shame to go around, starting at the top with Governor Bill Walker.
    There seems to be two Alaskas when it comes to assaults against women of Native origin. Apparently, the #MeToo movement is not interested in all encompassed talking points. The high numbers of assaults against Native women by Native men needs to be addressed uniformly
    and on an equal basis as it is addressed in a non-rural environment. THERE ARE NOT TWO ALASKAS. The criminal justice system must be the same system throughout our 49th state. Coddling a minority group will only exascerbate the problem. Women, both Native and non-Native, deserve the same respect across the board whether in a rural or non-rural setting, regardless of perpetration by racial identification.

    Our former Governor, Bill Walker, missed a huge opportunity to address this issue last year. Instead, he took the easy road and slipped away into oblivion, leaving others to deal with the mess. Byron Mallott is no leader and no gentleman. The Native community had a chance to learn from his mistakes, but Mr. Mallott took his self-pride and ego with him in a selfish direction. A teaching moment lost, and a stark reminder that in modern Alaska we must all live under the same rule of law.

    • Interesting! I don’t hear ANYONE sticking up for Byron Mallott, or coming to his rescue. Not even his 73-year old wife. Are the Native women in Alaska that downbeaten by the men? I sincerely hope not.

  15. The Story Only I Can Tell
    When you are a child you truly think everyone older will take care of you. You feel as though they will protect and guide you in the right direction. Especially those close to you. Far too many children learn the hard way. We learn that those who care for you and are trusted with you can be far scarier than any monster you’ll ever find under your bed. They teach you in school… IF SOMEONE TOUCHES YOU IN A BAD WAY YOU SHOULD TELL AN ADULT. What happens though when you tell and no one listens…? What do you do then? Unfortunately I know. In my case a monster abused me in such a sad way. My true regret though is that I know I wasn’t the only one… There’s no way I could’ve been. No one listened to the child crying for help … that child has been dead for a very, very, very long, long, time. As a woman I found my voice and I am no longer afraid. I no longer care who does or doesn’t believe me. I will tell THIS story. I want people to know THIS HAPPENED TO ME.

    My father did this to ME. I know what he did to me… I am only sorry that my mother never listened or cared because he should have been locked away from every child he ever came across. I am now that adult who listened to that child and it’s her turn to be protected. As with all my recollections this will be as raw as I lived it… You don’t need to make anything up when you’ve lived the unbelievable.

    I grew up in Nulato, AK a village where everyone lived in tight quarters. Everybody knew my father everybody and most people were very friendly with each other. This was in the days when you actually knew your neighbors… well, you thought you did. My family had lived there all their lives and were friendly with most of the people in the village. He was the village chief, a position that many looked up to him when he was sober. I must admit that there was a time I was proud of him too. I was very trusting and openly loving of everyone. A long haired, skinny little girl always willing to help or ready with a smile. A lot of adults I was around with, were so loving and welcoming to me and that was great growing up with, it really was a nice time. Then my father who would get stupid drunk for days came looking for me with a piece of candy. I remember him coming home with some candy which was a great treat in the village. I being the lighthearted child, was never thought adults did those things to kids. I mean I was told about being kidnapped and having ‘bad’ things done to me… but that was a stranger, not someone I lived with and looked up to. I remember my father was with us when he was sober. I also remember he would come home drunk after being gone for many days. Often my mother would be out looking for him. I remember him coming home drunk numerous times and raping me. He promised to get me things if I behaved and not mention this to anyone. This was a dreaded occurrence for many years.

    I remember being taken to Fairbanks to terminate the pregnancy that he was responsible for. I tried to tell my mother, she said I lied, then I told her whatever I thought she wanted to hear to stop yelling, hitting and being mean to me. I cried and cried it didn’t matter… she just kept going in on me. After a while she had enough and wanted me ‘out of her sight’ so I was sent away and lived with cousins. There were many nights I cried myself to sleep. Later I ran away and lived in foster and group homes in Fairbanks and Anchorage.

    Why was I was not protected?? No one cared about the sex and violence I was exposed to. No one cared about the welts I’d walk around with from my mother’s switch.

    He did this to me, and it’s been following me my whole life, writing this down wasn’t easy. There are things I tried to forget… but I can’t, I have tried. I know that none of these people will ever pay for the nightmares I’ve had to wake up from. I am lucky to have a loving and supportive husband who has taken care of me and our family and kept reminding me, don’t look back you’re not going that way.

    So there it goes… And here I am, wondering what the point in telling this? How a school could be named after such a monster. There are children growing up and I would hope are proud of the school they go to. With this information about “Andrew K. Demoski” I’m hoping that the Yukon-Koyukuk School District and the good people of Nulato will decide to strip away that name from that school building and leave it buried in the cemetery.

    Now that I’m at the sunset of my life, dying of cancer, I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to any child. I know that alcoholism, child abuse, sex abuse and incest is the little dirty secret in the native community and very common. It reaches all the way to the highest level of the native leadership, the best example is our former Lt. Governor.

    I do know that it feels good to let this out. No matter who listens? That little girl finally told, and now I can die in peace!

    • My heart hurts for your past, and the pain you’ve carried all these years. Sadly, you are just one of many thousands of victims, who lived it (or died as a result of the anguish) and continues to relive those memories. Kudos to you, for speaking out, and naming names.

      And kudos to Suzanne Downing and MRAK, for daring to go where others will not.

    • Thank you for your story. I am listening and I am hurting for you and praying for you. – sd

    • Your story brings tears to my eyes. Your courage in telling it sets an example I hope will be followed. Remember little Ashley in Kotzebue. She was sexually assaulted and murdered. The scoundrel was known to have abused others in the community for years. Those others may now feel guilty for not having accused the villain. This culture of silence must end.
      Remember little Ashley and this story only you could tell.
      “Choose respect” — for yourself and for others.

    • Your story is one that EVERY Alaskan should read. It touched me to tears. I believe that you have found peace with yourself and you have educated others about the silent, forbidden abuse that goes on within families. One note: there was an elementary school off of Badger Road in North Pole that was recently re-named when it came to light that it was first named for a known child sex abuser. Thank you, Suzanne, for allowing this lady to share her story. I hope Byron Mallott reads this story too. We will be waiting to hear from him, no matter what and how long it takes. Promise!!!

    • The above story is my wife’s Irene. For many years she would wake up in the middle of the night crying because of the bad memories. Now that she came out and told her story, she has been alienated by most of her family and many friends. She has been told that what happens in the village stays in the village. I hope and pray that this story gets out and people decide that behavior won’t be tolerated.

  16. The truth and the courage to print it–what more could we ask of a journalist?
    Keep up your great reporting!

    John N.

  17. Frankly, I would strongly prefer that General Barr be in Washington, DC identifying and prosecuting the criminal employees at the DOJ, FBI and other agencies that whitewashed the investigation of Ms. Clinton and perpetrated a nearly-successful coup-d-Etat to overturn the 2016 Presidential election. Alaska needs to face up and solve our own problems.

  18. Thank you Suzanne. While this issue is far more complicated than what you have written or of any of the commenters, a great start has been made. I am disturbed by the lack of understanding from those who know little of village culture, their too-often knee-jerk reactions, and the judgmentalism they display – totally from the perspective of the dominant culture. Drugs and alcohol, and even entitlements, are the enemies of every person, every family, and every community. We have consigned the villages to skid row, and fighting the social problems in all of Alaska must start with what you do to fight skid row problems. At its root, the issue is spiritual. Throwing money at them or withholding money from them are not the answers. I suggest job creation – free them through Sovereignty to develop ON THEIR TERMS. Teach family values and responsibility. Reduce regulation. Our peoples neither need nor want nanny-state. There will be an awful transition period while we all learn – and we are seeing some of that already. No one is advocating for covering up these crimes – certainly not me. But there is more blame to go around than just labeling a few perps, or systemic cultural covering for bad behavior. These crimes are WRONG. Drunks and stoners ARE accountable for their behavior even while intoxicated. Villages learn to keep peace by not publicly disagreeing with each other or stirring any pots. For example: in my village one early spring a younger man had been drinking with his 80+ year old auntie. What ever she did or said, I have not been credibly told, but she told me the man had said she had to quit drinking. When she persisted until the bottle was nearly gone, he hit her. “She fell down” I was told – yeah, before or after he hit her? – the fist shaped bruise on her face exposing the lie. Auntie was found by my wife and I, laying on the side of the road a few feet from the house where they had been drinking, her face on an ice berm pillow, unable to get to her feet and shivering without a coat at about 10 above. We helped her home. I asked for the man to be offered help drying out. I was wisely (by village standards) told the the man would not be helped until he came to the realization himself that he needed help, and not to call law enforcement, which would only drive him deeper into whatever his troubles were. The pot would not be stirred, and auntie would learn not to drink with her nephew. We are all made in God’s image – how I wish we would all treat each other that way! 29 years I have lived in this village. We have a cash economy, but the spirit of the village is still strong here. I could write a book, and it appears the short note I was to comment with seems to be a start… Without the agreement to keep the peace, there would be much more violent crime than we are seeing – and the hell you city folk are experiencing and lamely blame on the Bush will get exponentially worse. Visit one of your homeless camps and tell me that that population has a higher percentage of rural Natives than the overall Alaska population? Stop blaming and pray for us, please. Am I covering up by not giving names, dates, and places? Hardly – I live among and work with Auntie and her nephew frequently. The only way I can have any opportunity to “help” is by remaining on speaking friendly terms while being a role model to the best of my ability. You can’t convince a drunk – especially when they are drinking – that drunkenness is wrong. Why do we think substance abuse is fun? Sometimes I am asked to help. It is not up to the dominant culture to change the village culture, no matter how much we cry for the villages – it has to come from within. Pray for a mighty movement of the Holy Spirit throughout Alaska.

  19. I know you people here don’t care about facts you don’t agree with but you should watch this. The Church and religious institutions have been the biggest perps. Plus the sexual assault that happens with the most frequency happen in Anchorage, by men towards women.
    Btw, Byron Mallot had questionable morals way before he had an extra martial affair with a legal adult, much younger than him but still legal. So get off you high horses.

    • Ryan, yes, we here at MRAK always care about facts. So, how old was this adult girlfriend of Byron Mallott? And how old was his girlfriend’s teenage daughter (the girl Mallott was hitting up on)? Please enlighten us with your facts. And please tell us more about Mallott’s lack of morals and why Bill Walker chose this kind of person as his running mate. We are listening to you, Ryan.

  20. Alaskan tribes are federally recognized…all 225 plus. As such they are sovereign— as are ALL federally recognized tribes. That means they have sovereign immunity from suit for breach of contract and for personal injury when engaging in business. AND the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in the John v. baker case that they have quite some authority over their members.
    Perhaps this is the avenue for improving life in the villages. But the tribes must shoulder the responsibility they have been given. I fail to see how Indian country status will help; that “reservation-like” status brings other problems with it.
    I challenge the tribal elders to shoulder the responsibility they hold — and stop calling for the controversial Indian country status.

  21. This isn’t exactly what you were looking for, but I was struck by the attached article from the Nome Nugget earlier this year. Not only did the Bering Straits School District fail to respond to the complaints of the sex abuse victims — probably because the accused was local man from an important family — but the payout they had to make, $12.6 million, amounted to more than $6,000 per student in the district. At a time when people are complaining about education budgets (which is all the time), I wonder what else might have been done with an extra $6,000 per student.

  22. That’s lawyer thought – court awarded money is no Balm of Gilead, is not stirred water from the Pool of Siloam. Money cannot, is not even remotely possibly capable, of healing or undoing the psychological harm of sexual abuse of children. Perps should be publicly castrated, then sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole. The victims have already been sentenced by the perp to a life of victimhood without the possibility of forgetting. Help and forgiveness are found in the Lord Jesus Christ – but forget the victim cannot. Counseling of victims should be made available – in this case by the school district.

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