Birch bark texture.

Ahtna Kanas Summer 2018

Meet the Board – John Craig


Photo of John Craig

Describe your family:
I would describe our family as very close. We come together for most if not all holidays; always in touch and we support each other. Carol and I have two children, John and Vedra, and are blessed with a slew of grandchildren and great grandchildren – it would take a whole page lo list them. We love the phone calls, some daily, but never more than three days apart.

What clan are you a member of?
I’m a member of the Udzisyu, Caribou Clan.

How long have you served on the Ahtna Board?
Over the years I have served over 20 years.

What is the Board’s vision for Ahtna, Inc.?
Success for our people and protection of our lands, fishing and hunting rights.

What made you want to join the Board?
My father instilled it in me.

What excites you about the Board’s work?
Seeing the growth within Ahtna in the past 17 years I am very proud of being part of this.

What are some key things you wanted to change or implement when you joined the Board?
Ahtna was in a failing mode when I came back on in the early 2000s and I wanted turn that around, which we have but it was a struggle. I wanted an education fund and a permanent fund set up, it took a while but I never gave up and now both are established.

What do you want shareholders to know about the Board?
We are hard working and dedicated to the Ahtna people.

What message would you like to share with the youth of today?
Shoot for the moon and live your dreams; life is what you make it. Always give back to the people and help others.

What is your work history?
I worked in many different jobs including managing grocery stores, labor work, but mostly as a mechanic operator. I was supervisor at pump 12 on the pipeline for 17 years. I am the current president of the village of Kluti-Kaah, and was president of the dog musher’s club in the valley.

Are there some defining or influential moments in your life?
My military service which gave me lessons in life that lasted throughout my life and taught me discipline and dedication to our country. The national anthem and taps always brings a lump in my throat.

Is there anyone in particular in your life that has inspired you?
I would have to say my father Oscar Craig. He was a hard worker and dedicated lo the Ahtna people which rubbed off on me. I still get up at 4:30 or 5:00 every morning because I would get up with him each morning. I loved it because we had our time together and he taught me to always be early to work and not miss work. I believe l have never missed a day and was late once because of a snow slide in over 39 years of work. A record I am proud of.

Photo of the back of John Craig showing hand made leather vest

What are you most passionate about in your life?
Family. Which I consider the Ahtna people as a large part of it. Giving of what I have to help others.

What hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
I love working with wood and building things. Fishing is still big to me. Hunting each year with a dear friend who loves being out, game or no game.

Anything else you would like to share?
There is never a stupid question so always ask it. Give your all to what you do and lets all prosper together.