Tlingit and Haida violence against women co-chair picked for federal post

She’s happy to be that voice.

Courtesy Photo/ Tlingit and Haida                                Catherine Edwards was appointed to the federal Task Force on Research on Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women.

Courtesy Photo/ Tlingit and Haida Catherine Edwards was appointed to the federal Task Force on Research on Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women.

Alaska will have a vocal advocate on a federal task force that helps shape research into violence against Alaska Native and Native American women.

Catherine Edwards, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s sixth vice president and co-chair of Tlingit and Haida’s Violence Against Women Task Force, was recently approved by U.S. Attorney General William Barr to serve on the Task Force on Research on Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women.

“I was more than happy to be this voice,” Edwards said from Tacoma in a video interview.

[March and rally ends the silence]

The task force, sometimes called the Section 904 Task Force, was authorized by the federal Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act and established in 2008. It advises the Department of Justice National Institute of Justice program’s research agenda, according to the Department of Justice.

Task force members are expected to attend one-to-two-day meetings, be prepared to discuss materials distributed in advance of each meeting and to draft written recommendations and reports, according to the Office of Violence Against Women’s call for nominations to the task force. Edwards said the first meeting she will participate in will be virtual.

Edwards said that without the work of Tlingit and Haida’s Violence Against Women Task Force she would not be in a position to serve on the federal task force.

“I’m the one who got appointed, but it’s their work that I bring with me,” Edwards said.

Edwards said Tlingit and Haida is often at the table with federal entities and is proactive whether the issue is violence against women, transboundary issues, salmon or marine mammals. She said Tlingit and Haida makes sure not only that tribal citizens have their voices heard but that agencies are mindful of the hundreds of other federally recognized tribes in Alaska.

During Edwards’ appointment she hopes to encourage consideration of Indigenous ideas for how to solve problems within Indigenous communities and to move toward using existing data to realize programs to mitigate cyclical violence in Alaskan communities.

“We need to get past the research and the studies and really put some things into actions so that we can really mitigate the problem,” Edwards said. “This is not about the data, this is about you taking care of this epidemic, this pandemic in our community. This is a real-life problem, not just some numbers.”

Edwards’ selection was warmly welcomed by Tlingit and Haida President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson.

“As co-chair for Tlingit and Haida’s Violence Against Women Task Force and with her extensive work in domestic violence, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and drug prevention programs, Catherine will be an invaluable asset to this federal advisory committee,” Peterson said in a news release. “It’s important that we do everything we can to address violence against Indigenous women to protect future generations. With Catherine’s broad range of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women knowledge, I have full faith that she will be instrumental in representing the views and interests of not only Tlingit and Haida, but all Indigenous women.”

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of May 22, 2022

Here’s what to expect this week.

Coast Guard aircrews medevaced two people from Dry Bay Airstrip, approximately 30 miles Southeast of Yakutat, Alaska, after their plane crashed, May 25, 2022. (Courtesy photo / Coast Guard District 17)
Three medevaced after plane crash near Yakutat

All four aboard were injured, three critically so.

The author’s appreciation for steelhead has turned into something like reverence considering what’s happening to populations in the Lower 48 and Canada. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: Silent steel

“You forget most of what ends up in the freezer, but those steelhead, they stick with you.”

Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, seen here in this June 16, 2021, file photo, announced Wednesday he will not seek relelection in the Alaska State Senate, where he has served since 2013. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Senate president says he won’t run again

“Honor and a privilege.”

Hoonah’s Alaska Youth Stewards helped make improvements to Moby and water the plants in summer 2021. (Courtesy Photo / Jillian Schuyler)
Resilient Peoples & Place: Moby the Mobile Greenhouse cultivates community

It presents opportunities to grow food knowledge and skills.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, May 26, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Alaska Supreme Court orders use of interim map for elections

The decision came just over a week before the June 1 filing deadline for the August primaries.

Most Read