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Campaign takes different approach to racism



First Alaskans Institute officials discuss racism and reconciliation at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Thursday in Juneau. From the left are Angela Gonzales, Andrea Sanders and Liz Medicine Crow. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

A statewide Native organization wants Alaskans to recognize, discuss and repair the impacts of racism.

The Anchorage-based First Alaskans Institute brought its Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation campaign to Southeast on Thursday.

President and CEO Liz Medicine Crow spoke at a Juneau hall named for Tlingit civil rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich.

“What we’re trying to achieve is a process by which we transform the way that we as a society view one another and work with one another and value one another,” she said. “When you transform things, they can never go back to how they were.”

Medicine Crow said the effort seeks to tell the truth about racial relations without being punitive.

She also said the campaign can benefit all Alaskans.

“It is not just about Alaska Native people. It is about righting wrongs,” she said. “It is about utilizing justice as a tool to advance us as a society and not just to delineate somebody being in the wrong or in the right.”

The program was held in Juneau as part of the institute’s Alaska Native Civic Engagement Training, which will repeat April 6-7 in Fairbanks.

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