Response to Regional Tribal Government opposition

This formation will not diminish any of the Tribes’ Powers

I am going to try and knock down two issues with one stone. First, I would like to thank Gloria Simeon for writing regarding YKHC Board of Directors recent passing of a resolution # 2021.01.01 which is appalling to me. There are a handful of villages that had dissolved their City Statuses back in the late 70’s very early 80’s, and from my understanding Akiachak, Alaska where I grew up was the first village in the State of Alaska to dissolve its City in favor of a Tribal Government. My early leaders looked into the future and most likely foresaw what was to come.

I was 8 or 9 years old when those very same leaders, many of whom, if not all, have passed on when they had a vision of when our region would be united as one. Misleading information along with those opposing have had our Sleeping Giant of the YK delta from the formation of a Regional tribe.

This formation will not diminish any of the tribes’ Powers. In fact, I think this will strengthen the region. Just as in any government, unless you live in a dictatorship, you have three forms of government: Legislative Branch, Judicial Branch and the Executive Branch. All three keep each other balanced with its checks and balances of powers.

Legislative Branch- Which I imagine would be 1 representative from each tribe (56 or 58 villages) would be responsible for creating Law.

Executive Branch- Would consist of our regional elected Administration, let’s say every 2 to 4 years with some reelection terms and conditions.

Judicial Branch- most likely would have some sort of working agreements, contract with the State of Alaska’s current court system for extremely serious cases.

I would like to also stress out that the current regional organizations that are currently in place would not lose their Status as such. I would imagine YKHC would still be our health department, AVCP housing would be our Housing department, and AVCP, INC would be our social department and so on and so forth.

Secondly, as for Mr. Henry Simons, I thank him for bringing the much needed recognition of Francis Reich. Fran was also instrumental in starting Yuut Yaqungviat, LLC. I give him credit for the operation starting in Bethel, Alaska. After the 24 who were sent into Anchorage, Alaska which I know he was most proud of some Pilots being created.

I came along after those who were sent to Anchorage and had the opportunity and obtained my Private Pilot License in Bethel, Alaska. And as with any other startup we had our ground schooling here and there until the Location of the flight school was secured.

Our YK delta tribes need to move forward and request to reopen the Flight School. Our tribes still have Planes sitting at the apron of the very flight school owned by them. There are grants out there as much as half a million dollars waiting to be secured. The flight school can be reopened and succeed.

Lastly, for the past 40 years or so of our tribes creating organizations such as YKHC, AVCP Inc, AVCP Housing and any other for that matter have not lost their inherent sovereign powers. YKHC’s Board of Directors need to be recalled and if need be removed by the Full Board of directors immediately. As each of you 58 tribes have the inherent powers as the governing board and as tribes.

Steven M. Alexie

Napaskiak, Alaska

Elizabeth Peratrovich Day Celebration, February 16, 2021

Tiffany Jackson spoke at the virtual Elizabeth Peratrovich Day Celebration, February 16, 2021. Below are her remarks.

Hello, and thank you so much for inviting me here this evening. My name is Tiffany Jackson, I’m Tlingit and Unangax from Sand Point Alaska, my Tlingit name is ka steech and I’m Raven/dog salmon and Qagan Tayagungin. My parents are Dick and Edith Jacobsen, my grandparents are John and Ivy Jacobsen of Sand Point Alaska, and Alfred and Carmel Widmark from Klawock and Juneau, Alaska. My grandpa Alfred, my grandma Carmel, and my auntie Emma Widmark, were all very involved with the Alaskan Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood, so I feel deeply honored to be invited to be with you all this evening as we honor Elizabeth Peratrovich, and this year’s theme “Inspiring Today’s Leaders”.

When I was a young girl, my mother shared Elizabeth Peratrovich’s story with me, of how she fought against discrimination, and for the recognition of the rights of all Alaska Natives. Her story resonated with me so much, when I had an opportunity as a teen to represent a hero from my home state on a national level, I chose to share Elizabeth Peratrovich’s story as an Alaskan hero.

The theme tonight is Inspiring Today’s Leaders. It’s because of the strength, preparation, and persistence of Ms. Peratrovich, individuals like myself, and upcoming leaders are able to do the work we do. I was the Executive Director of my Tribe for 9 years where I helped lead initiatives in tribal justice, cultural education, higher education, and child literacy.

Thank you Betsy for sharing the quotes from Elizabeth, sharing her support for education, and recognizing the importance of education to make us strong and prepared for the future.

Like Elizabeth, I advocated for public education, and the academic success of Alaska Native students, and all students, as a school board member for 12 years. I served twice as president of the Association of Alaska School Boards, and was on the board when the association set the goal to empower Alaska’s school boards to transform the educational system to increase the academic success of Alaska Native students and increase graduation rates of Alaska Native students who are grounded in their cultural identity, with the ability to successfully pursue their goals.

I also became the first indigenous person to serve on the National School Boards Association Board of Directors since its inception in 1940. The first at that time, in its 75-year history. Something I was incredibly proud of, and still incredibly sad was possible in this day and age. Through my work and advocacy there, and with support of others, the NSBA board then proceeded to formally recognized the council of Alaska Native, and American Indian school board members, opening the door for more indigenous representation at a national level.

My ability to step into positions of leadership started with my parents, who are both incredible leaders, and because my mother shared Elizabeth Peratrovich’s story with me, I was largely inspired by the work of Ms. Peratrovich.

I’m not sure if you can see the PopSocket on my phone. It’s a beaded Elizabeth Peratrovich coin from Yukon River Designs. When I first saw these last spring, I bought one for myself, and my mother, and my sister. Daily, I touch it, and remember the strength and persistence Ms. Peratrovich exhibited in her work, which in turn inspires me in my work, and will continue to inspire our upcoming leaders for years to come as we continue to keep her story alive.

Frequently over the past few years, I’ve shared, we need to be unapologetic in the work we do for our people. Unapologetic in demanding tribal rights. Unapologetic in the pursuit of justice for Alaska Native people. Unapologetic in insisting Alaska Native students receive the best education, where our culture is recognized and respected and included in their education. 

Elizabeth Peratrovich articulated “Asking you to give me rights implies that they are yours to give”. Because of her strength, and her advocacy, leaders like myself, and upcoming leaders, CAN be unapologetic in doing the good work we do to serve our people.

Thank you for having me here to share in the celebration of Elizabeth Peratrovich, Inspiring Todays Leaders. She has certainly inspired me to be the strong Tlingit and Aleut woman I am. Qagasakung Gunalchéesh.

Tiffany Jackson, AASB Director of Membership Services

Juneau, AK

Example: 9075434113