by Thom Leonard
Alaska Native Cultural Values Embodied in Shareholders.
Calista Corporation is excited to announce the honorees of the 2018 Calista Corporation Shareholder Awards. Shareholders and Descendants are the heart and voice of the Corporation. Shareholders embody Calista’s Values of respect, teamwork and dedication to the people of our community.
Nominated by fellow Shareholders and Descendants, the Shareholder Award recipients bring cultural values to life and we are proud to feature them as leaders in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
• Axel C. Johnson Distinguished Shareholder: John Active (Bethel). John Aqumgaciq Active was a beacon for Yup’ik storytelling, culture and language preservation. John passed away on June 4, 2018 at 69. He was a master of the Yup’ik language and was one of the first people to translate the KYUK newscast from English to Yup’ik. He would always make his listeners, and the people around him, laugh as he imparted onto them traditional Yup’ik stories and values. John was strongly involved in theater, music, dance, writing and storytelling. His love of storytelling and the Yup’ik language he attributes to his grandmother, Maggie Lind.
• Calista Culture Bearer: Liza Phillips (Lower Kalskag). Liza Phillips is an active member of her community in Lower Kalskag. Although she may be experiencing some health issues of her own, she continues to support families experiencing loss. Liza prepares food and tables for gatherings, and values being there in a family’s time of need. Liza is thanked by her community for the years of commitment in keeping our culture alive through helping others.
“When loved ones pass away it makes them feel good to have someone who cares, and I’m glad to support them any way I can,” Liza says. “Becoming an example helps the younger generation get involved with the elders and the culture.”
• Calista Youth/Educator of the Year: Mike Ulroan (Chevak). Mike Ulroan calls himself the first engineer graduate from Chevak. As the ANSEP Regional Director, he has led efforts to increase STEM opportunities for rural Alaska students. The national Algebra 1 completion rate for 8th grade students is 26%, the completion rate for ANSEP STEM students is 77%. He wants to show other Calista Region youth that seeking higher education is possible.
“I am fortunate to work for a program [like ANSEP] that provides higher education opportunities to our next generation of leaders,” Mike says. “As a former Calista scholarship recipient, quyana cakneq to Calista Corporation for the recognition and most of all to my family and loving wife for the support throughout my professional and academic endeavors.”
• Calista Elder of the Year: Jennie Zaukar (Sleetmute). Jennie Zaukar served over 30 years as a Community Health Aide. Jennie was married to the late Peter Zaukar Sr. She encourages those around her to practice and teach their children and grandchildren of our heritage and traditional values, so they will not be lost. She leads by example to respect elders and each other, respect the earth, live a sober life from alcohol and drugs, and to gather the fruits of the earth during each phase of the seasons.
“I would like to thank Calista for the wonderful award and for my beautiful daughter for nominating me,” Jennie says. “Thank you for thinking of me. I really appreciate it so much. Love and prayers.”
• Raymond C. Christiansen Business of the Year: Delta Discovery (Bethel). The Delta Discovery is Alaska Native owned and operated by Shareholders Greg and Kelly Lincoln. They report on Search & Rescue efforts around the Calista Region and provide obituaries at no charge. Their coverage has earned the Delta Discovery dozens of Alaska Press awards over the years. Information is a crucial need. This was true for our ancestors and is still important today.
“Thank you, we are very honored to receive this award. We would not have been able to do our work without the help of countless others and our thanks and gratitude goes out to them as well. Quyana for your support and for the nomination, we are inspired and humbled by this recognition,” said the Lincolns.
“Shareholders embody Calista’s values of respect, teamwork and dedication to the people of our community,” said Calista Corporation President/CEO Andrew Guy. “These exceptional Shareholders inspire us to live our values and lead others to success. Leaders like this are vital to the survival of Alaska Native cultures.”
Each honoree or designated individual will receive a plaque and financial award.
The second largest of the original 13 Alaska Native Corporations, Calista Corporation was established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 and represents approximately 25,600 Shareholders. The Calista Region encompasses more than 6.5 million acres and includes 56 villages, which are incorporated into 46 individual village corporations. Since 1994, Calista has provided more than $4 million in scholarships to its Shareholders and Descendants. Since inception, Calista has declared more than $55.6 million in dividends and $5.7 million in Elders’ Benefit Program distributions to Shareholders.
Calista Corporation is the parent company of more than 30 subsidiaries in the following industries: military defense contracting, construction, real estate, environmental and natural resource development, marine transportation, oil field services and heavy equipment sales, service and rentals.