Published July 2019
Ahtna, Inc. and the Ahtna people are mourning the loss of beloved Board Member Franklin John. Franklin passed away Friday, June 21, 2019 surrounded by family in Anchorage, AK.
He was the son of subsistence rights advocate Katie John and often spoke of the influence she had on him. She was the one who taught him the old ways of living off the land that he enjoyed sharing with others.
“Franklin was a friend and a colleague, and we are forever grateful for his leadership as a member of the Ahtna Board. He loved his people and one of his passions as a board member was shareholder hire. He also loved his culture and sharing his knowledge of fishing, hunting and fish wheel making with the youth,” said Ahtna, Inc. chair Ken Johns.
When Franklin was once asked about his advice for the youth of today he answered, “Education is a good thing, but I’d like to encourage them to look to the Lord; to open their eyes to understanding and let the Lord guide them in what they do. Don’t just follow the world and let the world guide you, follow the Lord and pray.”
About Franklin John
Franklin John was born February 18, 1953 to parents Katie and Traditional Chief Fred John of Mentasta Lake. He and his wife Nona John raised five children and have many grandchildren. He was a member of the ‘Alts’e’tnaey (Raven) clan. Franklin retired from Copper River Native Association (CRNA) after fifteen years in the maintenance department. He worked for Ahtna Construction for 22 years, as a Laborer for the Gulkana Village Council, served as Vice Chair of the Mentasta Successor Village Organization (SVO) and was a CRNA Counselor from 2009-11. He loved dancing and potlatches and took up Native drum making in recent years. Franklin held the Class H seat for Mentasta Lake on the Ahtna, Inc. Board for thirteen years.