Three Alaska tribal groups will receive just under $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Justice for a variety of initiatives to protect and benefit crime victims.

The department’s Office for Victims of Crime announced the grants Thursday, as part of $8.3 million for a total of 13 groups across Alaska, California, Maine, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. The money was drawn from the Crime Victims Fund, which collects federal criminal fines, fees and special assessments with no impact on taxpayer money.

Here’s a summary from the office of the Alaska recipients and their awards:

The Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska was awarded $1,413,000 to implement a culturally appropriate response to address elder abuse and provide crime victim services for the Native older adult population within the Juneau urban area, and also serve victims in the villages.

The Tetlin Tribal Council was awarded $513,865 to conduct a community needs assessment and create a strategic plan that will guide the development, implementation, and expansion of victim services.

The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government was awarded $562,200 to expand existing services and develop additional services for victims of crime through strategic planning and enhanced training of program staff.

"American Indian and Alaska Native crime victims continue to face challenges in accessing vital services and resources needed to help survivors address their trauma and navigate a complex system," Darlene Hutchinson, the office’s director, said in a statement. "The Justice Department has made it a priority to partner with tribes to help victims and their families rebuild their lives in the aftermath of violence."

In November 2018, Sen. Lisa Murkowski criticized government reporting of missing and murdered Alaska Native and American Indian women across the nation. One of the victims Murkowski mentioned, Pitkas Point resident Sophie Sergie, had remained a cold case until February, when Alaska State Troopers arrested Steven H. Downs of Maine in her 1993 rape and murder at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Tribal matters have been taking on greater importance in Alaska politics, with the state House forming a Special Committee on Tribal Affairs. In February, Alaska tribal groups received nearly $1.8 million for a dozen transportation projects from the Federal Transit Administration. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium convened a conference in Anchorage last year to discuss health issues affecting tribal groups ranging from climate change to food security.

More than 30 tribal victim service programs nationwide have received awards from the Justice Department, totaling more than $17 million of nearly $100 million allotted to support them.

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