Three Alaska Native women join Anchorage Public Safety Advisory Commission

Kendra Kloster, left, and Keneggnarkayaagaq Emily Edenshaw listen as Charlene Aqpik Apok speaks to the Anchorage Municipal Assembly on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. Apok’s son stood in support of his mom. The Assembly approved appointing the three Alaska Native women to the city’s Public Safety Advisory Commission. (Photo courtesy Yaari Toolie-Walker)

In what may be a first for the municipality of Anchorage, three Indigenous women will serve on the city’s Public Safety Advisory Commission.

The resolution passed unopposed at a meeting of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly on June 23.

The Public Safety Advisory Commission examines public safety issues and advises the mayor and city assembly. It also provides input from various emergency service organizations — to identify problems that may arise.

The three appointments include Keneggnarkayaagaq Emily Edenshaw, who is Yup’ik and Iñupiaq. She’s the  executive director of the Alaska Native Heritage Center:

“I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and doing good work for our people,” Edenshaw said during the meeting before acknowledging the unprecedented appointment of the three Alaska Native women to the commission. “It’s an honor to serve my community and work alongside these two incredible Native women.”

The other two appointments were:

  • Charlene Aqpik Apok, who is Iñupiaq and the director of gender justice at Native Movement. She’s also the executive director for Data for Indigenous Justice; and
  • Kendra Kloster, who is Tlingit and the executive director of Native Peoples Action and Native Peoples Action Community Fund.

Assembly member Christopher Constant says he is grateful all three women will serve on the panel.

“This conversation is a testament that this body and this community is ready for this conversation before and after what we face today,” Constant said during comments. “I think it’s more important today, now, that you are willing to stand up because of everything happening. And I’m just grateful you said yes. Let’s do some good.”

All three terms will expire in October 2022.