Watching Over Mountain Village

February 27, 2020

Mountain Village is an Alaska Native town in the middle of nowhere. One woman is the town’s only police officer and she alone is responsible for the safety of everyone there. Her track record is perfect until one day when she responds to a call that changes everything.

This story discusses suicide, violence, and contains strong language. Sensitive listeners, please be advised.

We can’t thank Anna Bill and Jim and Eunice Bryan enough for sharing their stories with us. We also want to thank Cathy Moses and the Mountain Village Tribal Council for their time and patience. Additional thanks to Francine Chiklak, Johanna Eurich, Steve Hiemel, Shane Iverson, Anna Rose MacArthur, Lori Townsend, and Anna Walters.

In addition to Anna Bill’s work, Mountain Village is tackling its suicide and public safety crises with grassroots community programs, as well as a tribal court system that focuses on restorative justice. You can learn more about them here and here. A version of this story was first reported for NPR affiliate KYUK in Bethel, Alaska in 2018. If you’re interested in learning more about rural Alaska and its public safety crisis, we recommend following KYUK and KNBA’s coverage, as well as ProPublica’s Lawless series.

Produced by Teresa Cotsirilos, original score by Renzo Gorrio

If you or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Artwork:
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