Tanana man sues Village of Tanana over banishment after troopers shot, killed

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A man accused of promoting violence toward law enforcement and exiled after two Alaska State Troopers were shot and killed wants to return to the village of Tanana.

William "Bill" Walsh, 61, has filed a federal lawsuit attempting to stop the Tanana tribal village government from enforcing its ban. He also calls the tribe's rationale for exile as "libelous statements," the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://is.gd/KHfKQS ).

Walsh and Arvin Kangas were exiled after Kangas' son, Nathanial, was charged in the May 1 shooting deaths of two Alaska State Troopers. Sgt. Scott Johnson and trooper Gabe Rich were shot and killed when they went to Tanana to arrest Arvin Kangas on a misdemeanor assault charge for allegedly threatening a village public safety officer.

The tribal council exiled Walsh and the elder Kangas days later for "promoting violence toward law enforcement and other representatives of the state of Alaska."

Walsh maintains in the civil lawsuit that the tribe's reasoning for the banishment amounts to criminal charges, and he has a constitutional right to defend himself against them.

Walsh and Kangas are members of the Athabascan Nation, a small group of people who do not recognize the authorities of the state or the elected Native Village of Tanana tribal council.

The lawsuit was filed against the native village, the tribal council members and the council chairman, Curtis Sommer. Calls to the tribal council seeking comment went unanswered Tuesday.

Walsh left the village of 250 people, about 130 miles west of Fairbanks, in May. He told the News-Miner that he has been homeless since, and hasn't been able to find work.

Arvin Kangas hasn't made bail and remains in a Fairbanks jail since the shootings. He's charged with several counts of evidence tampering and hindering prosecution; authorities claim he moved weapons under the bodies of the two slain troopers.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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