by Greg Lincoln
The Association of Village Council Presidents hosted their 58th annual convention this past fall and awarded several tribal members with the annual President’s Awards. Their names and bios are below, courtesy of AVCP. The awardees were announced at the local convention and were also included as nominees at the 2022 Alaska Federation of Natives. Congratulations to the award winners and also to Michael Fredericks and Golga Oscar who were chosen as AFN Presidents Awards recipients at the 2022 AFN Convention. Quyana!
2022 AVCP President’s Award Recipients
Health: Catherine Beebe, Kwinhagak Tribe
Catherine Beebe is originally from Eek, Alaska and lives in Quinhagak. Her mom is Theresa Beebe llutsik from Eek. Grandparents are the late Fritz Beebe Sr. and Edith Beebe. Catherine is married to Timothy Beebe Jr. and they have three children Roselyn, Conner and Jackson.
Catherine Beebe is a Community Health Practitioner in Quinhagak, Alaska. Ms. Beebe graduated with her Associates in Community Health in 2021. She enjoys community outreach with presentations at the school and announcements supporting reproductive health and immunizations. Although she is young, she’s the main “go to” person within the Quinhagak clinic. She’s a motivator, supporter, encourager and never fails to help those in need. She never fails to show her smile even under stress. She educates the community in what available to them without hesitation.
She’s a mom of three and is raising them to live a healthy and subsistence lifestyle while also teaching them the traditional values that she grew up with. As a Yup’ik, Catherine believes we should live humbly, and that kindness is never wasted.
Education: Monica Charles, Orutsararmiut Native Council
Monica Charles, Naucetaaq Nayak’aq, is a Yup’ik born and raised in Bethel, AK. Her parents are Frank and Louise Charles. Monica is the mother three children Helen, Nanugaq Jordan and Hannah. Ms. Charles has a B.Ed. in Elementary Education from University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
Monica has been a GAL (Guardian ad Litem) with AVCP since 2015.
Monica served as the chairperson for the Alaska Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder Partnership for 10 years. Monica has lectured on FASD and conducted education-focused trainings across Alaska and at major FASD conferences in Washington State and Arkansas, and is frequently requested to present on FASD for professionals in the child welfare field. In 2019, Monica was part of a 5-member Alaskan Vocational Training Team for an FASD Clinic in Perth, Australia. Monica continues to work to bring awareness and resources for families caring for and raising children with FASD in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta, statewide, and nationally.
Ms. Charles has volunteered on several boards including Tundra Women’s Coalition, Alaska FASD Partnership, Ayaprun Elitnaurvik Academic Policy Committee, Parent Navigator for Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation FAS Dx Team. Monica received Recognition Legislative Citation: YK Delta Women in Philanthropy, April 2018; inducted into the Tom and Linda Daschle FASD Hall of Fame in June 2015.
Distinctive quotes on helping children with FASD succeed: “If they have one stable person in their life in the school setting, be it the janitor, their teacher, a stable friend, the secretary or be it the teacher’s aide, they can have a higher chance for success in the school setting. It also doesn’t mean that they can’t succeed, it just means they need more support in the school setting.”
Hunter/Fisher: Agnes Gregory, Kwethluk Tribe
Agnes “Aggie” Gregory was born in Bethel 60 yrs. ago. Her parents were Martha Gregory Toguyak & Wassillie Paul (both deceased). She was raised by foster parents Joseph & Freda Lomack. Aggie’s children are Staci, David, and Ana.
Hunting and fishing is important but it is just as important to take care of what a person catches. Agnes values her subsistence lifestyle and loves processing all fish, game and traditional foods. Agnes will share all of her traditional foods with anyone in need, especially friends and family.
In December 2021 there was some unforgiving weather on the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta that halted air travel in the region. This left many individuals and families stranded in Bethel without food and resources. Numerous people were stranded at the airport for days. Aggie began cooking and delivering food up to the airport to ensure that people who were stranded had home cooked meals. The weather was bad for days and was not lifting, as many individuals and families kept on waiting for their flights. Aggie began posting on social media for others to help feed residents who were stranded over a week due to bad weather. Before we knew it, much of Bethel began to offer to support and cook meals to help stranded families in need. Aggie coordinated the food efforts and helped many people from the surrounding villages while on their way home. She led by example in sharing what she had with those that needed it the most.
Aggie’s strong Yup’ik upbringing shows the great value of respect, sharing, hard work, and love for family and children is very apparent in all that she does.
Small Business: Michael Fredericks, Georgetown Tribe
Born and raised in Anchorage, Michael Fredericks is an Alaska Native of Yup’ik descent and is a member of the Georgetown Tribe. Her late father, Glenn Fredericks, was born in the Kuskokwim region and her late mother Jan Fredericks came to Alaska in the early ‘60s, after being raised all over the world in a military family. Michael received her Bachelor of Architectural Studies from the University of Washington and her Masters of Architecture from the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Michael is the President and majority owner of SALT. Michael has leveraged her architectural training into a specialization in complex stakeholder engagement around design projects. Over her 16 years of experience, Michael’s facilitation services have evolved to include business planning, community engagement, project planning, complex problem solving, organizational planning, action planning, and focused conversations around challenging issues. Ms. Fredericks is trained as an architect, but her passion and expertise lies in strategic planning, visioning, facilitation and grant writing.
Ms. Fredericks strongly believes that the most successful initiatives harness collaborative thought and align the solution with the stakeholder – not the other way around. Providing a strong process for stakeholder engagement not only empowers the user but has proven to result in bottom-line savings as well. Michael is adept at helping groups define their unique version of success and provide them with a roadmap to achieve their goals.
Youth Leadership: Golga Oscar, Kasigluk Tribe
Golga Oscar’s parents are Molly and David Oscar of Tununak.
Golga Oscar, Yup’ik, is an artist from Southwest, Alaska who pursues and uses modern textile that reflects his cultural identity. He seeks the aspects of revitalizing his ancestral work with a mix of contemporary materials and design. Mr. Oscar has been exploring different mediums that range from leather/skin sewing, grass weaving, and walrus ivory/wood carving. A strong cultural identity is evident in his work. Through his knowledge of traditional art forms and sewing skills, he creates cultural attire that becomes a strong visual element in his photographic imagery.
Golga has taught art classes focusing on creating Yup’ik attire that range from headwear to footwear including headdress, dance fans, and boots. Golga was awarded the 2022 Calista Cultural Bearer Award. This knowledge that he has is what he shares with his surroundings, especially to the younger generation. Golga Oscar says, “Yup’ik culture and traditions have saved my life from falling apart.” – Meaning Yup’ik culture can save anyone’s life by practicing it every day, keeping the mind busy from negative thoughts or keeping away from negative environments. Always follow the admonishments you were given from your parents and grandparents, because they save you from their experience.”