Tuesday, February 1, 2011

THE NATIVE AMERICAN RIGHTS FUND NAMED ONE OF “40 HEROES” AT THE ACLU’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY LIBERTY AWARDS GALA

Anchorage, Alaska -- On January 22, the Alaska Office of the Native American Rights Fund was named one of the 40 Heroes of Constitutional Rights by the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska. In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Alaska office of the ACLU honored the 40 people and organizations that it considered to be heroes of constitutional rights. NARF was honored for its long history of commitment to upholding the rights of Alaska Native people as described in the following excerpt from the event program:

“The Alaska Office is responsible for many of the major subsistence decisions in Alaska in the past 25 years, such as the milestone Katie John case. . . The Alaska Office has also prioritized the protection of tribal sovereignty and has successfully litigated numerous cases affirming the governmental status of Alaska Tribes as possessing inherent authority over their members.”
The ACLU also noted that it has partnered with the NARF Alaska Office in two critical cases upholding the rights of indigenous people to use their Native languages:

“The first case successfully challenged the ‘English Only’ law that required individuals to speak only English when engaged in government business, such as at the DMV or in court. In the second case, NARF and the ACLU of Alaska sued the State of Alaska for violation of the Voting Rights Act by failing to provide language assistance to thousands of Alaska’s Yup’ik-speaking voters. Following a preliminary injunction, a comprehensive agreement was reached which includes translation and interpretation assistance for all Yup’ik speaking voters throughout the registration and voting process.”

NARF is honored to be named one of the ACLU’s 40 Heroes. For more information on the Alaska Office or its recent court victories please go to www.narf.org.