Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $300,000)
The Village of Chefornak has a population of 483 and is located in western Alaska six miles from the Bering Sea. Travel in and out of Chefornak is limited to small planes, boats in the ice-free part of summer, and snowmobiles in winter. Chefornak has an issue with alcohol that has plagued this community for four generations and it is getting worse. Alcohol is involved in almost all crime. We have a local option law prohibiting the possession, sale and importation of alcohol but it is constantly imported. Alcohol arrives on planes and by snowmobile and by boat in the summer. The selling price of a bottle of cheap liquor that cost $7 in Anchorage is $150 in rural Alaska so there is motivation to import. The Council receives letters and calls from tribal members who write about people selling alcohol but the Council does not do anything, we do not know what to do. We do not confront the drug dealers and the alcohol importers. We tried in the past and the Police Officers would quit because of the threats made in our small village. The community is afraid to confront people who import alcohol and sell it. We just are not empowered to do that. People are afraid of retaliation and yet the consequences of letting this continue are horrific. Working with the other villages will help Chefornak build the capacity to confront and enforce. We are proposing a way to control the availability of alcohol within our tribal jurisdiction by having dedicated Tribal Alcohol Law Enforcement that can stop the flow of alcohol when the planes land and when boats and snowmobiles arrive in the village. Our current Tribal Police Officers are understaffed and overworked responding to all the alcohol-related violence. The tribe will also implement a culturally relevant and appropriate evidence-based substance abuse prevention program. The tribe researched evidence-based substance abuse prevention programs and the Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center and, if funded, we will incorporate evidence-based practices into the program; that will be the responsibility of the Prevention Coordinator. The Prevention Program is intended to provide healthy alternatives to alcohol and substance abuse, especially for adults. We feel it is important to provide something positive. The Alcohol Task Force will meet with the Council to determine the types and nature of activities. The activities are also a perfect venue for disseminating information on alcohol laws, consequences, and the impact of alcohol.