AFN announces Keynote Speakers for 2017 Convention

Toksook Bay dancers at AFN

The Alaska Federation of Natives is pleased to announce the selection of keynote speakers for its 2017 Convention, October 19-21, at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage, Alaska.

Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Don of the Alaska Army National Guard and Sergeant Jody Potts, Public Safety Director for Tanana Chiefs Conference, will co-deliver the keynote address to the approximately 4,000 delegates and other attendees at the convention, which is the largest representative gathering of Native peoples in the United States.

“We are honored that these two distinguished Alaskan leaders will speak at our convention,” said AFN President Julie Kitka. “Along with the theme, the keynote address really sets the tone for what the statewide Native community is striving to do on behalf our people.”

The 2017 Convention theme, “Strength In Unity: Leadership—Partnerships—Social Justice,” underlines the importance of a statewide unified approach to the many shared challenges and opportunities the Native community is facing this year. The three supporting concepts of leadership, partnerships and social justice reflect areas of emphasis for AFN both in the convention’s agenda and in the statewide Native organization’s priorities.

The AFN Convention is the largest meeting of its kind in Alaska and serves as AFN’s annual business meeting. Delegates are elected on a population formula of one representative per twenty-five Native residents in the area and delegate participation rates at the annual convention typically exceed 95 percent. Policy guidelines and advocacy statements are set by the dozens of resolutions passed by voting delegates at the Convention. Each year, the AFN Convention draws between 4,000–5,000 attendees. The proceedings are broadcast live statewide via television and radio and webcast to 70 countries worldwide.