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Testimony

Submitted to the
Alaska Natives Commission
Social/Cultural Task Force at

Ft. Yukon, Alaska
June 9, 1993

ALASKA NATIVES COMMISSION
JOINT FEDERAL-STATE COMMISSION
ON
POLICIES AND PROGRAMS AFFECTING ALASKA NATIVES
4000 Old Seward Highway, Suite 100
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Witness List | PDF Version

 

(On the record at 1:15 p.m.) (Tape 1, Side 1)

TESTIMONY OF JOHN STARR

MR. STARR: You know, there (indiscernible) ATV's.

MR. SCHAEFFER: Could we get your name and where you're from, please?

MR. STARR: John Starr, from Tanana. And we put a resolution in the (indiscernible) March about it. Because there's no -- it's like everybody's scared, even the villages, they -- they're not -- they don't have (indiscernible) what age and what limit, you know. There's got to be a limit out there. You see little kids (indiscernible) that big what, just kindergarten, running over too (indiscernible) somebody (indiscernible) two kids (indiscernible) killed. And that's how (indiscernible) running their snow (indiscernible) and their parents are letting them go, because there's no ordinance on there.

And for instance, out in Selawik, was it, a guy run into a bunch of kids there; did they do anything about that or is there....

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, he pled guilty. He's guilty of two counts of manslaughter, I think. He's -- and he's in jail.

MR. STARR: Yeah, but that's --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: He's a --

MR. STARR: -- yeah, but that is -- see, things like that, that's not the only (indiscernible). This happens all over Alaska, but they're reporting it but it isn't doing anything. They're putting -- it's snow-goes and. . . .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Three-wheelers.

MR. STARR: Three-wheelers are just like cars in the villages.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: It's for all the villages (indiscernible).

MR. STARR: I'm not talking only from Tanana, but from some of the villages. There's got to be an ordinance, there's got to be something done about it. Because like you said, I called up (indiscernible) see if something can be done about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Is it possible that the village itself make an ordinance that is appropriate to what really (indiscernible).

MR. STARR: That's -- -- the villages, they don' t (indiscernible). They don't care what the village ordinance they put up. They're going to have a law, some kind of law that would fine them or do something about it, you know. They do it in cars.

FATHER ELLIOTT: John, Don Lee did call me also about this, and are you thinking in -- perhaps that there should be a state law?

MR. STARR: (Indiscernible) got to be a state law.

FATHER ELLIOTT: State law, not village?

MR. STARR: No.

FATHER ELLIOTT: That's why you're coming to the council --

MR. STARR: That's (indiscernible).

FATHER ELLIOTT: -- the Commission.

MR. STARR: That way they can really enforce it.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. STARR: Because we got a Trooper down there in Tanana.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. STARR: He take their keys away, and next day they go back and return it to them.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Who says returned it to them, John?

MR. STARR: What?

FATHER ELLIOTT: Who says return it to the State Trooper?

MR. STARR: I don't know what the -- I asked them about it too. I (indiscernible) there's no ordinance written up about it.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. STARR: He say you don't even find it in a book.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. STARR: In the state law or what -- that book he's looking at. (Indiscernible) many times (indiscernible).

FATHER ELLIOTT: I'm not sure if there's a state law on who can -- how -- what the age limit is to drive an automobile.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: There (indiscernible).

MR. STARR: There is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You have to have a licensee (indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: There (indiscernible).

FATHER ELLIOTT: I know, but what's the age limit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Sixteen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Fourteen with a student permit and 16 (indiscernible).

FATHER ELLIOTT: Well, maybe the answer, John, will be simply to add to the one that's existing for automobiles and include four-wheelers, three-wheelers, snowmachines, et cetera.

MR. STARR: That would be good.

FATHER ELLIOTT: It would -- because the law's there; all you do is add to it.

MR. STARR: Yeah.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Would you also include outboard rotors, kickers?

MR. STARR: What we done a couple years ago, I think we brought that up, boat safety. And I think (indiscernible) I think (indiscernible) I think he signed a bill, the Governor did. So that's not a -- that's not (indiscernible), that's....

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: What do you think the penalty should be?

MR. STARR: Well, (indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You going put aside (indiscernible).

MR. STARR: (Indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You going put aside (indiscernible).

MR. STARR: (Indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: By who, (indiscernible) or the parent?

MR. STARR: The parents or anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Anybody. Who's anybody?

MR. STARR: Oh, what other people (indiscernible) the snow-go. Because (indiscernible) just like cars, (indiscernible) go and put numbers on there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: (Indiscernible).

MR. STARR: (Indiscernible)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: What kind of fine should be imposed?

MR. STARR: Well, I don't know. That's something that -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: How much could you pay if your grandson rode your snow-go?

MR. STARR: Well, I would make him work for me for 10 years, I don't care (indiscernible). UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: How much -- and this is a very important question, John. It's the kind of thing that we're willing to impose upon ourselves. How much? Is it a hundred dollars, is it five hundred dollars?

MR. STARR: (Indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Is it the price of the snowmachine?

MR. STARR: Well, (indiscernible) how many -- just like first offense, second offense, and third offense; what will you do? Let this -- they do that in (indiscernible). First offense, second offense, and third offense. Drunk driving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I'm not familiar with the law, but I think the law is opposed against the driver, not the parent. And I think that's a real critical point in your testimony. A seven-year-old child is much more difficult to impose a civil penalty against than a 16-year old adolescent.

MR. STARR: Well, just fine the parents. But letting them go, they got to have -- they -- that's why I say you got to have age limit, though.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: What is a fair penalty in your village?

MR. STARR: We never have no -- because there's no ordinance, you can' t (indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Let's say there is an ordinance; what is a fair penalty?

MR. STARR: Oh, I'd say start with $50. And go from a hundred, and hundred and fifty and up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: If a child's life is not enough to encourage a parent to restrict the child from riding the machine, is a $50 fine going to make that much difference?

MR. STARR: (Indiscernible). I'd like to see stiffer fines (indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Along that same line, I wonder if just a fine of any amount is going to, let's say encourage some responsibility on the part of parents in that way. Wouldn't it be a more effective thing for the village to publicly tell the parents that there is -- that this is an irresponsible action on their part and that the village would ask them to act in a more responsible way? In other words, have it handled within the village by the village itself, either by a judicial council or by a -- the city council or some public entity.

My -- the reason I asked that first question before about local ordinance; in some of these things, you know, your response was that, well, they don't pay any attention to ordinances, they can't be enforced. But isn't it possible that the local police that are under the direction of the city council enforce the local ordinances?

MR. STARR: Well, now, this guy down there is a Trooper (indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: No, he wouldn't. But your local -- do you have a VSO?

MR. STARR: No. (Indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: (indiscernible).

MR. STARR: (Indiscernible) so (indiscernible) we can't have a VPSO. We got a State Trooper there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I see. Is that -- I'm not aware of the fact that (indiscernible) restriction. Your village probably could have a local police officer if the village council so wanted it.

MR. STARR: Yeah, when I ask them, but -- I asked them, but I (indiscernible) lot of times for it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. STARR: See if he can -- he could make an ordinance, but he said they -- it's not in -- it's not written in the books, so he seemed like he can't do nothing (indiscernible). He can't make the law himself, he said, I don't see where it's written down. I don't know what (indiscernible) maybe look (indiscernible). Because I know it's getting pretty bad. (Indiscernible) they even hot wire these, you know, (indiscernible) stuff. They just steal one right out of your yard.

FATHER ELLIOTT: John, what happened to the youngster who did actually operate that machine and run over that infant?

MR. STARR: They never did nothing about it.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Nothing.

MR. STARR: There's a couple of broken legs they have there too, couple people got hit with snow-goes and. . . .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Are there people in town that are upset about it?

MR. STARR: Sure, everybody 's (indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Do they --

MR. STARR: (Indiscernible) village (indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Do they bring it up to the city council?

MR. STARR: (Indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: And what does the city council do about it?

MR. STARR: They don't seem to do anything, because they can't enforce, I don't see where they can enforce it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: But I mean, they haven't even considered what they -- what their options are, what possibilities they have for changing the local situation? You know, by introducing possibly an ordinance and considering the fact of local enforcement?

MR. STARR: Well, maybe you -- maybe your group here can write to the village council, make them enforce the ordinance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Do you see that it would be a desirable thing for the city council to consider these things seriously and take some local enforcement action?

MR. STARR: Well, if they got the backing, I think they will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Mm-hm (affirmative). But I mean, do you think that would be a desirable way of going?

MR. STARR: (Indiscernible) anything to enforce it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Can I ask a few questions along this line, and Iím very interested in how villages govern themselves. And to me, this is a village governance issue. Do you know the last law, the last regulation that was made in Tanana? Do you know what it was? Have you ever seen any governing laws posted anywhere?

MR. STARR: No, I've never seen (indiscernible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: If you wanted to find out about a law in Tanana, where would you go?

MR. STARR: Well, they have (indiscernible) there, they -- there's a magistrate that stops there. He's stationed in Nenana right now. He comes down there once in a while.

FATHER ELLIOTT: John, do you have any Tanana laws just for Tanana?

MR. STARR: Well, if they got laws down there, they sure are pretty darn weak.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Mm-hm ( affirmative).

MR. STARR: I don't see no enforcements.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Is there, for example, a law about liquor in your village or town?

MR. STARR: Well. it's -- if they catch them with -- follow them downtown to the (indiscernible) they would find them, yeah.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Mm-hm (affirmative). So there is a law that you can't drink in town?

MR. STARR: (Indiscernible). Yeah, they got those. I don't know where they get the law from, but that's what I asked this State Trooper if he'll stop them. That's when I asked him about the snow-go.

FATHER ELLIOTT: Mm-hm (affirmative).

MR. STARR: There was anything on there. He say he can't find (indiscernible) books or....

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: So your main concern is for local public safety and to make sure that --

MR. STARR: There's --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: -- safe --

MR. STARR: Yeah, there's an age limit on (indiscernible), yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Safe operation -- and youíre talking specifically about three-wheelers and snowmachines; but it would probably extend to other things; that there be a way of enforcing ordinances that will help the safety of the village....

MR. STARR: Yeah. I'd love to see (indiscernible) all the villages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, I think you're right.

MR. SCHAEFFER: Any of you have any other questions of John on this subject?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Do you have anything more, John?

MR. STARR: Huh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: You want to -- anything more you want to bring before us?

MR. STARR: No, not right now, can't think of anything.

MR. SCHAEFFER: Okay. Well, thank you very much.

MR. STARR: Yeah, (indiscernible) bring them on over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: There you go. Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Okay. (Indiscernible) record, yeah. Thank you (indiscernible).

MR. STARR: Thank you.

(Side conversation)

This document was ocr scanned. We have made every attempt to keep the online document the same as the original, including the recorder's original misspellings or typos.

 
 

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