Governor Walker has ordered state flags lowered in memory of former state Attorney General Avrum Gross, who died in Southeast Alaska at the age of 82.
It was during Gross's time as Attorney General that the state agreed to build schools in 105 Native villages to settle a lawsuit filed in 1972 by Molly Hootch of Emmonak. Hooch had been sent away to Anchorage for school and felt she had a right to gain an education among her own people. In 1976 Gross decided that the state should settle, rather then fight the case all the way through the courts. Hootch was joined in the suit by 26 others, including Anna Tobeluk of Nunapitchuk, who argued that sending Native children off to boarding schools contributed to a high dropout rate. The case is referred to as Tobeluk vs. Lindh.
Avrum Gross became Attorney General under Governor Jay Hammond in 1974 when the lawsuit was close to two years old. Gross served in that capacity until 1980 and also supervised the state's negotiations over building the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
Governor Walker has ordered that flags throughout the state lower to half-mast until sunset on Thursday.