Articles written by Riley Rogerson


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  • Rep. Peltola's husband dies in plane crash in Southwest Alaska

    Zaz Hollander and Riley Rogerson and Iris Samuels, Anchorage Daily News|Sep 20, 2023

    Alaska U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola’s husband, Eugene “Buzzy” Peltola Jr., died after a plane he was flying crashed Sept. 12 in Southwest Alaska. Peltola, 57, was the former regional director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs for Alaska, serving from 2018 to 2022. He previously spent 34 years working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska. Among other roles, he served as vice mayor and council member for the city of Bethel between 2010 and 2012 and sat on various Alaska Native village corporation boards. After retiring in 2022 from his work...

  • Ketchikan business owner sentenced to 2 years for selling fake Native art

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Sep 6, 2023

    A Washington state resident was sentenced last week to two years in federal prison for selling fake Alaska Native artwork in Ketchikan. Cristobal “Cris” Magno Rodrigo, 59, pleaded guilty in April to one federal count of conspiracy and another count of misrepresentation of Indian-produced goods and products. Alaska U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess sentenced Rodrigo on Aug. 28 to serve two years in federal prison, the longest a defendant has received for any Indian Arts and Crafts Act violation in the U.S., according to the Indian Art...

  • Alaska's congressional delegation tries again with 'landless' legislation

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Aug 30, 2023

    WASHINGTON — More than 50 years after the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act passed Congress, proposed legislation again seeks to resolve claims with so-called “landless” Alaska Natives from five Southeast Alaska communities that were left out of the landmark law, including Wrangell. Supporters of the effort say concerns about the environmental damages of logging and public access restricted by private ownership of the lands have stalled progress on the land-transfer legislation in past years. But they are hopeful the political atmos...

  • Navy will name ship after late Metlakatla veteran Sol Atkinson

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Aug 23, 2023

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is naming a ship after decorated Alaska Native veteran Solomon “Sol” Atkinson, of Metlakatla. Atkinson, who died in 2019, was one of the first Navy SEALs. He was deployed to Korea and completed three tours in Vietnam, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Among his many acts of service, Atkinson also trained astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in underwater weightless simulations. The Navy announced plans Aug. 7 to name a future Navajo-class oceangoing tug and rescue ship — which are traditi...

  • Murkowski says of Trump indictment: Former president 'played a key role' in riot

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Aug 9, 2023

    After Donald Trump was indicted on four criminal charges, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the former president “played a key role in instigating” the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Murkowski is an outspoken Trump critic and was one of seven Republican senators who voted in 2021 to convict the impeached former president for inciting an insurrection. The senator said in an Aug. 2 statement that her 2021 vote was “based on clear evidence that he attempted to overturn the 2020 election after losing it.” ”Additional evidence presented...

  • U.S. Senate committee advances bill to investigate history of Indian boarding schools

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Jun 21, 2023

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has advanced a bill to establish a federal “truth and healing” commission to examine Indian boarding school policies. The bill is part of an effort to reckon with the United States’ history of government-run boarding schools that forcibly removed Native children from their homes. The schools subjected Indigenous youths to physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and last year a federal study identified hundreds of deaths of Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians associated with th...

  • Alaska senators among those urging museums to return Indigenous remains

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|May 17, 2023

    WASHINGTON — Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan were among a bipartisan group of 13 senators who jointly signed letters to five U.S. museums and universities, urging them to repatriate Indigenous remains in their collections. The letters call on the University of California Berkeley, Harvard University, Illinois State Museum, Indiana University and the Ohio History Connection to comply with the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act. The 1990 federal law mandates that museums receiving federal money must return human remains, f...

  • Tlingit totem pole dedicated in Murkowski's D.C. office

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Mar 8, 2023

    WASHINGTON - Tlingit leaders dedicated a storied totem pole in Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office on Feb. 28. The 10-foot tall, 900-pound totem pole, which is on loan from the Sealaska Heritage Institute, has a long history on Capitol Hill. The totem pole once stood in the late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' office. When Stevens left Congress, the totem pole journeyed to Alaska Rep. Don Young's office. When Young died last year, the totem pole traversed Capitol grounds back to Stevens' old office, no...

  • Murkowski testifies in support of Equal Rights Amendment for women

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Mar 8, 2023

    WASHINGTON — Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski testified in support of the Equal Rights Amendment at a Senate hearing this week, opposite a fellow Republican senator who opposes it. The Equal Rights Amendment, which was proposed in Congress in 1972, would codify equal rights for women in the U.S. Constitution and ban discrimination based on sex. Along with Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, Murkowski sponsored legislation in the Senate in January that would remove the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and recognizes that t...

  • Peltola says Congress wastes time bickering rather than solving problems

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Feb 8, 2023

    WASHINGTON — Alaska Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola has lamented “partisan bickering” on Capitol Hill during the first weeks of the new Congress. “One of the things that has not necessarily surprised me but disappointed me is how little actual work we’re doing even now this far into the session,” Peltola told reporters last Thursday. Peltola pointed to two measures she had just voted on. The first was on a Republican-led effort to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, from the Foreign Affairs Committee for her past comments regarding I...

  • Federal spending bill includes multiple provisions for Alaska

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Jan 4, 2023

    WASHINGTON — The $1.7 trillion federal spending package includes hundreds of millions of dollars in appropriations for projects specific to Alaska and enacts legislation that will directly affect the state. “There is literally no part of our state that this legislation doesn’t benefit,” said Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee that helped negotiate the legislation. Congress passed the bill on its last day of work Dec. 23, funding the government through September 2023. President Joe Biden signed the...

  • Villages will receive $50 million in federal aid toward relocation

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Dec 21, 2022

    WASHINGTON — Two Alaska Native villages will receive $25 million each from the federal government to help fund their ongoing efforts to relocate to safer ground. The funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law will go to Newtok and Napakiak in Western Alaska, where, as permafrost thaws and erodes, encroaching rivers threaten the communities. The communities will use the money to move essential facilities to safer ground. Eight other tribes will receive $5 million to fund planning for potential relocation, including four in Alaska: Point L...

  • Alaska among top recipients of federal infrastructure spending

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Nov 30, 2022

    WASHINGTON — A year after Congress passed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, Alaska has been allotted over $2.6 billion, making the state one of the top recipients per capita in the country. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will ultimately provide $550 billion for infrastructure improvements across the country, distributing funding over five years to improve roads, internet connectivity, and provide clean water, among other initiatives. Democrats and several Republicans supported the bill, including Alaska Republican S...

  • Alaska Native veterans attend dedication of new memorial in Washington

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Nov 16, 2022

    WASHINGTON — William Smith, of Valdez, an Alaska Native veteran who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, joined hundreds of veterans from around the country in Washington, D.C., last Friday to attend the dedication ceremony for the National Native American Veterans Memorial. Speaking on Thursday night at a gathering at the U.S. Capitol, Smith said, “To me, I’m here with veterans. I got my Alaska veterans here. But when you see us tomorrow, you’ll see how strong the veterans are and how much they appreciate this.” “It’s all part of t...

  • Interior Department removes derogatory name from 26 places in Alaska

    Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Sep 14, 2022

    Twenty-six places in Alaska received a new name Sept. 8 as part of the Interior Department’s initiative to remove a derogatory word for Indigenous women — a change that affects more than 650 sites and geographic features across the country. Of those, 26 sites are in Alaska. The official name change process has been almost a year in the making. In November 2021, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland unveiled an order to remove the word squaw, a slur for Native women, from federal lands. Many Indigenous organizations, including the Alaska Fed...

  • Murkowski part of bipartisan group in support of abortion access

    Iris Samuels and Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News|Aug 10, 2022

    WASHINGTON — Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Aug. 1 joined a bipartisan coalition to introduce a bill that would protect abortion and contraception access. The measure faces an uncertain future in a Senate that failed to pass a broader measure enshrining abortion rights in May. It also comes as Murkowski faces reelection this fall, with abortion emerging as a key issue in that campaign. Despite the bill’s bipartisan co-sponsors — Democrats Tim Kaine, of Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema, of Arizona, and Republicans Susan Collins, of Maine, and Murko...

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