Senator Lisa Murkowski today asked the Transportation Security Administration head whether the TSA was sufficiently considering cultural sensitivities in their screening process. Her questions were inspired by Alaska TSA treatment of the traditional Alaska Native garment, the kuspuk -- in NW Alaska Native communities called a qaspeq or Atikluk.
Senator Murkowski shared the following anecdote and observation with TSA Administrator John Pistole today:
"I was wearing a kuspuk and I was told you have to remove it, because it's a little bit bulky in front. It's not a little bulky, you can pull it back and the bulk is gone. Let's just say that I had a conversation with some of the people from TSA, asking them how they dealt with the fact this is Native traditional garb. Many of the women coming through the monitors wear this. How is this handled? The response I received was less than satisfactory.
"It's something I wanted to follow up on, because regardless of what part of the country you are in, there is a level of sensitivity and of discretion that is provided, given the region you are in. I'm not convinced that we're seeing that to the fullest extent."