ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Gov. Tony Knowles is setting up a cabinet-level review of a paintball attack of Alaska Natives in downtown Anchorage on Jan. 14.
In a speech in Anchorage, Knowles called the incident deplorable and a ''sickening'' glimpse of intercultural relations in Alaska. He said four cabinet members will review the episode and suggest actions the state might take.
The group includes Public Safety Commissioner Glenn Godfrey, Health and Social Services Commissioner Karen Perdue, Attorney General Bruce Botelho and Knowles' senior adviser for rural and Native Affairs, Will Mayo.
The group is supposed to come back in a month ''with recommendations which could range from new hate crime laws to better education about cultural diversity in our public schools,'' the governor said.
''In my mind, there are two pictures of Alaska,'' Knowles told the gathering. ''One is a collage, a summer day on the Tanana River in Nenana, listening to strains of the National Anthem sung in Athabaskan'' during the dedication of the Alaska Native Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Other elements of that harmonious image include students from Anchorage exchanging lifestyles for a few weeks with students from rural schools and business people from Anchorage spending time with their counterparts in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
''The other picture,'' Knowles said, ''is the sickening moment we all witnessed on the news when hate-filled teen-agers videotaped themselves going to 'hunt for Eskimos.'''
''We know which Alaska is the right one. We will not rest until that Alaska prevails,'' Knowles said.
Anchorage police, who seized the 24-minute videotape as evidence, said they have identified a dozen people who were struck by the paintballs.
They said they also know the suspects: three white teen-agers who left their homes in Eagle River that night explicitly to target those they considered inebriated Eskimos.
Police investigators are working closely with the district attorney's office, and there is a ''very strong possibility'' charges against the trio will be filed this week, police spokesman Ron McGee said Tuesday.
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