by Greg Lincoln
The Association of Village Council Presidents 2021 Awards have been announced, congratulations to the award recipients. The awards were recently announced following the 2021 AVCP Annual Convention which took place virtually on Sept. 22nd, 2021. We wish you all the best!
Culture Bearer: Byron Nicholai, Nunakauyak Tribe
Byron Nicholai is Yup’ik from southwest Alaska who grew up in the village of Toksook Bay. From a young age, he was taught to drum and dance and has been practicing the traditions ever since. Byron went to Nelson Island High School where he graduated in 2016. Since then, he’s been an advocate of the Yup’ik culture by doing workshops and sharing stories in different schools and communities all around the world.
Healing Hands: Charlene LeAndra Nukusuk-Long, Native Village of Hooper Bay
Charlene’s parents are Albert & Martha Simon from Hooper Bay. She is married to Justin Max Long and together they have three sons. Charlene is always open to helping anybody at the best of her ability. Charlene puts God first in everything. Her favorite bible verse is Psalms 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. Her favorite sayings include the words from her grandpa Paul Nukusuk “Find something you love to do, and you will never work a day in your life.”
Elder of the Year: Jimmy P. Stevens Sr., Nunapitchuk Tribe
Jimmy P. Stevens Sr., Tumaralria, was born in Akiak to David Stevens of Akiachak and Julia Kasayulie of Akiak. Jimmy married Edith Andrew from Nunapitchuk and together they have 7 children. Jimmy is highly dedicated to the health and well being of our Region’s youth and families. He willingly shares his personal life experiences as a way to teach lessons and help others learn healthy coping skills. He loves to talk to others and share stories about hunting, fishing, and growing up on the Kuskokwim River. Jimmy says, “If we follow our elder advice, we will live easier.”
Parents of the Year: William “Bossa” Alstrom II and Hazel Alstrom Yupiit of Andreafski and Algaa’ciq Tribe
William “Bossa” Alstrom II is the last child of William and Hilda Alstrom. Hazel‘s parents are the late Charles Paukan Sr. and Maggie Paukan. Together they have three boys, Mitchell, Ethan, and William III. Bossa and Hazel coach elementary and middle school basketball where they are second parents to many students. Bossa and Hazel were encouraged to pass down subsistence knowledge and the Yup’ik way of life to their children by the late Charles Paukan. They have taught their boys to hunt, camp, trap, work on their catches, and share with the community. Their guidance is to keep moving forward no matter what situation you are in.
Public Service: Sharon Williams, Napaskiak Tribe
Sharon Williams was born in Anchorage, Alaska to the late Christine and Isaiah Egoak Jr. Sharon is married to Evan Williams and together they have seven children. Sharon graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2010 with a degree in early childhood. Sharon’s responsiveness and leadership to the AVCP’s VPSO program was the key to the initiation of the Napaskiak Public Safety Building Project. Her ability to work across organizations with the tribe, city, and AVCP showed great value and commitment to improve the quality of life for the people of Napaskiak and chip away at the region’s number one priority of public safety. Her favorite saying is, “We are in this together for the health, safety, and well-being of our people.”
Public Service: Sally Martin, Native Village of Goodnews Bay
Sally Martin was born to Gloria Golia in Dillingham and traditionally adopted to Christian & Susie Bavilla of Goodnews Bay. Sally married Samuel Martin and together they had five children. Sally is an active and strong Tribal Leader, serving as the Mayor of the City; a Community Representative for Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation; and on the Advisory School Board. She ensures that the Yup’ik language is incorporated in school by reading the Yup’ik Pledge of Allegiance to classrooms. Sally is a leader, drummer, and dancer for the Goodnews Bay Dance Group. Sally’s personal and professional opinions are valued and she is an asset to the school, community, and medical field.
Youth Leadership: Kaylee King, Native Village of Atmautluak
Kaylee King is the oldest of six sister’s and her parents are Derek King of Mekoryuk, and Victoria Pavilla of Atmautluak. Kaylee works as an intern at KYUK and has been advocating for this region by taking a stand against the use of single use plastics and is a strong advocate for home-grown teachers. Kaylee will be attending UAA to pursue journalism with the eventual goal of returning to KYUK. She has proven herself, not only a strong leader among her peers, but within her community. Ms. King also entered a National Public Radio podcast challenge which was created by herself, Ethan Lincoln, and Jamin Crow, in which they made it to the top 15 of over 2,000 entries.