Shareholders Inspire Culture and Strength.
Calista (cha-LIS-tah) Corporation is pleased to announce the 2022 recipients of the annual Calista Shareholder Awards. Drawn from nominations submitted by fellow Shareholders, these awards recognize exceptional efforts by Shareholders and Descendants to uphold the cultural values of the Yukon Kuskokwim Region and its communities.
“In this age of business, we must remember our cultures and traditions,” said Calista Corporation President/CEO Andrew Guy. “Cacetuukut [juhts-DOO-goot] means ‘We are unwavering, strong and brave’ in Yup’ik. We are inspired by our Shareholders, and we are committed to work on their behalf.”
•Calista Culture Bearer: Golga Oscar (Kasigluk)
Golga Oscar is preserving culture through traditional arts and crafts and imparting that knowledge to others. He creates and teaches others how to sew traditional Yup’ik attire, traditional dance fans, headdresses, uluaq (Yup’ik knife) making, and even the proper use of the traditional skin scraper tool.
Golga attained his BFA from the Institute of American Indian and Alaskan Native Arts, and currently teaches Yugtun/Yuuyaraq for the Lower Kuskokwim School District in Kasigluk. He encourages his junior high and high school students to explore their indigenous identity despite western influences.
•Axel C. Johnson Distinguished Shareholder: Ralph Sara (Bethel)
Ralph Sara was born and raised in Bethel. He shares his own story of recovery from addiction as the host of the Anonymous Eskimo Recovery Podcast. Ralph’s focus on the indigenous perspective, and his honest and sincere approach to talking about addiction and sobriety allows others know they are not alone in their struggles.
“In order to help our people struggling with alcohol or drug addictions, we must recover out loud,” Ralph says. “Indigenous peoples need to know that they are not alone in their struggles. We can overcome and live a better life.”
•Calista Elder of the Year: Marie Napoka (Tuluksak)
Marie Napoka has been a teacher at the Tuluksak School for about 40 years. Her daughter-in-law Kathy Napoka says, “She is a loving Elder who has love for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She’s kind to everyone she approaches.” Marie periodically volunteers at the school to talk about the Yup’ik way of life and what to expect when living among the elements. She especially loves berry-picking.
• Calista Youth/Educator of the Year: Ledwina Ayaprun Jones (Scammon Bay)
Ledwina Ayaprun Jones is Calista’s Educator of the Year. She has lived and taught in Bethel for 50 years. She helped establish the Yup’ik immersion school in Bethel—her namesake, Ayaprun Elitnaurvik. “Love your students and the rest will fall into place,” Ayaprun says.
• Raymond C. Christiansen Business of the Year: Michael Fredericks, SALT LLC
Michael Fredericks is the majority owner and President of SALT, a Native-owned, woman-owned small business. SALT aims to create environments for generations to thrive through strategic engagement and interior design. Her company worked on the Indigenous Place Names Project in Anchorage, a movement to bring Dena’ina culture to the modern built environment and place name signage.
Michael is currently working on the Aruqutet initiative, a program administered through Bethel Community Services Foundation to increase food security in the YK Region. Her team provides project management for the program, overseeing purchasing, logistics, and distribution of food.
Award recipients will receive an award plaque and financial reward. Recipients will also be honored on June 3 at the 48th Annual Meeting of Shareholders for their contributions in upholding our cultural values.