Native Village of Emmonak, Alaska

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The tribe has established an Elders Group to take misdemeanor only cases from the Juvenile Probation Office in Bethel. The council has a cooperative agreement with the Division of Juvenile Justice, Department of Health and Social Service, Alaska State Troopers, Division of Public Safety the local Police Department and the city of Emmonak. Elders also take local referrals in cases involving adults and youths dealing with family problems, youngsters skipping school and other social events which are causing problems in the home and community. The elders range from 61 to 81, are all tribal members and have been volunteering their time since 1997 to help with social and economic problems. Herman Hootch, elder-youth specialist, said local parents who agree to have their child sit before the Elder Court are satisfied the elders are giving them wisdom and guidance and local organizations are supportive as well. "These services help the elders to make our youths feel that we, as member of Emmonak, care for our youth to be productive and stay away from criminal and misbehavior action and be accountable ... ." Hootch added the elders are looking for support from any organization, agency or tribe in the Lower 48 or Hawaii.