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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An advocacy group is pursuing an effort to identify problems affecting Alaska Natives and to suggest solutions, leading to a list of recommendations to present to state officials.

The First Alaskans Institute announced the effort Thursday during a forum on Alaska Native issues hosted by the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, the Juneau Empire reported .

The hour-long discussion Thursday in Juneau was focused on addressing racism in the state.

“What we’re trying to achieve is a process by which we transform the way we as a society view each other,” said Liz Medicine Crow, the organization’s president and CEO.

Speaking to an audience of about 100 people, Medicine Crow said the state needs a truth and reconciliation process that will lead to transformation and racial healing. People in the state do not always agree that a problem exists despite the long history of suppressing the traditions and culture of Alaskan Natives, she said.

The adverse policies from decades ago have caused many of the current problems that affect Alaskan Native communities, she said.

The goal of the group’s effort is to start a movement that will result in permanent changes in how Alaska residents think about racial issues, said Andrea Sanders, the organization’s policy director.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire,