Mike Williams, Sr. announces his bid for President of the YK Regional Tribal Government

Akiak, Alaska – August 1, 2022 – Today Mike Williams, Sr., announced his candidacy for President of the Yukon Kuskokwim Regional Tribal Government (YKRTG). Elections for the new YKRTG will be held on November 8, 2022, and all enrolled tribal members 18+ years of age in the YK region are eligible to vote. Williams, currently the Tribal Chief of the Akiak Native Community, made this announcement after a concerted effort by friends and colleagues asking him to run.

“I feel as if I have been preparing for this historic position as RTG President for the last four decades of work as a tribal leader and leading advocate for indigenous rights in Alaska,” said Chief Mike Williams. “It has been a long-standing goal of our Elders, who have gone on to the other side, for our people to come together, organize ourselves, work together and fight to provide a better future for our children. A future where our people move forward as strong sovereign tribes living in healthy, safe, family communities. Communities that are centered in our traditional culture and values while opening new economic and educational opportunities. I will continue their legacy of hard work and Assircaarturluni Yuuyaraq (trying to live a better life) as President of the YKRTG.”

First established on an interim basis in February of 2021, the YKRTG is a new constitutional Tribal government open to the 56 federally recognized sovereign Tribal Governments in the YK region. The RTG will centralize collective tribal government activities across an area larger than Washington State.

The YKRTG divides 56 Tribes into 11 Districts with an elected representative for each District on the RTG Council. The Interim RTG Council selected November 8, 2022, for YK region-wide elections to establish a permanent YKRTG. All enrolled members of the 56 YK Tribes who are over the age of 18 are eligible to vote in the November 8, 2022, election.

Chief Williams, LLD was recently honored by the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a Doctor of Laws, PhD for his lifetime achievements and advocacy of indigenous peoples’ rights, tribal sovereignty, and self-determination.

“The Yukon Kuskokwim region needs a leader who understands what our people face—someone who will work as hard as I will to make things better,” said Williams. “I will work to increase public safety in each community, I will call on tribal non-profits and consortiums, like the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, Association of Village Council Presidents, and Kuskokwim River Intertribal Fish Commission to work with us to address critical housing needs, to address lack of adequate health care professionals and programs, to improve education for our children with investments in safe and secure spaces, create good paying jobs and preserving a healthy and clean environment for future generations of Yupiaq peoples.”

Chief Williams’ decades of strong nationally recognized leadership in Akiak, the YK region, Alaska, and the country make him an ideal candidate for YKRTG President ready to make an immediate impact on day one. His past and current leadership positions in virtually every aspect of YK regional life from School Board to Fish Commission and Tribal Chief to NCAI VP for Alaska means he knows what’s needed and how to get things done.

He is leading the way in the YK region to promote economic development for tribal communities establishing the first Small Business Administration (SBA) certified tribal owned 8(a) company in western AK which will bring new jobs and revenue into the community from federal contracting dollars.

“I support sustainable economic development including creation of tribal-owned small business that can lead to SBA 8(a) certifications to reap the benefits of federal contracting opportunities,” said Chief Williams. “The Akiak Native Community was the first to create a tribal-owned business in western Alaska that went on to become SBA 8(a) certified. More of our YKD tribes should do the same to inspire entrepreneurship, encourage business ownership and generate new revenues that support citizen-centric services by their tribal governments.”

Chief Williams plans to expand the creation of revenue-generating tribal small businesses throughout the YKD to strengthen tribal autonomy, provide new sustainable revenue streams for Tribes, and diversify the economies of tribal communities.

Chief Williams will be a President who leads the way forward for YKD people by bringing affordable broadband, telecommunications, and digital education to all communities.

“All YKD tribal communities lack access to high-speed internet. Many more can’t afford it or don’t know how to use it. The divide between those who have internet access and those who don’t is stark. To create an equitable economy, we all need access to reliable and affordable highspeed internet. I will work with our Alaska Native Corporations, tribal organizations, village governments, commercial partners, and the Alaska government to help bring affordable broadband infrastructure, services, and the education needed to safely access all the benefits of broadband internet,” said Williams.

Williams concluded, “Overcoming poverty, while honoring our Yup’ik traditions and strengthening culture, is achievable but securing tribal economic security and prosperity will require a sustained commitment. I put ideas and ideals into action. I share your values. I have the expertise the YK Region needs to get things done.”

Mike Williams, Sr. Mike is an enrolled Tribal member of the Alaska Native Community, and Alaska’s Regional Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians. Mike has been serving the Tribal people of Akiak and the YK region for nearly four decades a tribal leader and advocate for substance abuse prevention, improving education and champion for indigenous rights. He resides on Tribal Boards as the Chairman of the YKD Tribal Broadband Consortium and Chairman of The Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. www.mikewilliamssr.com

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