ANCHORAGE — Amid the celebratory mood, some speakers at Alaska’s largest yearly gathering of indigenous people are lamenting the disproportionately high rate of suicides among Alaska Natives, including the recent suicides of four young adults in the western Alaska village of Hooper Bay.
Gov. Bill Walker said at the opening Thursday of the annual conference of the Federation of Alaska Natives that nothing causes him greater concern than suicides among young people.
Walker said his administration plans to announce an action plan Friday dealing with suicides.
The convention continues through Saturday. As always, the event was preceded earlier this week by the three-day Elders and Youth Conference that was hosted by the First Alaskans Institute.
The theme of this year’s AFN conference is “Heroes in Our Homeland.”