Ahtna, Inc. has filed an amicus curiae, otherwise known as “friend of the court”, brief to the U.S. Supreme Court urging them to protect the Katie John decision and preserve Ahtna’s right to manage our lands when deciding the Sturgeon v. Frost case. In the landmark case of Katie John v. United States, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that navigable waters adjacent to parks and other Conservation System Units (CSUs) created by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) were “public land” for purposes of a rural subsistence priority that protected Alaska Natives’ right to fish. Alaska resident John Sturgeon, who sued the National Park Service (NPS) in 2011 over being forced off the Nation River for using a hovercraft to hunt moose, will be headed to the Supreme Court this fall for a second time. At issue in the Sturgeon v. Frost appeal is whether the state or federal government has management authority over state and Native property located within the outer boundaries of ANILCA CSUs. Ahtna is one of the largest private land owners within the CSU’s in Alaska and has asked the court to “strike a careful balance” that protects the Katie John line of cases and Alaska Native subsistence rights and Ahtna’s ability to develop our lands and resources for the benefit of our shareholders as promised in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and ANILCA.
Ahtna has implemented a new shareholder management system which will help streamline records management for our shareholder records team. The Granite system was created by Cook Inlet Region, Inc. and came highly recommended by other Alaska Native Corporations. The system is specifically tailored to meet requirements of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and will allow records staff to efficiently accomplish tasks related to ANCSA corporation business processes and shareholder engagement. In the coming months, we will be rolling out some of the new features the system offers for shareholders to utilize such as easily updating your own contact information online and requesting letters of verification and past 1099s. Shareholder records also hopes to eventually issue Ahtna ID cards and certificates from the system. Our summer internship program wrapped up with participants giving capstone presentations to management on what they learned over the course of their time with Ahtna. This program is very important to me. I want an internship program that gives aspiring shareholders a comprehensive education on Ahtna, our people, our villages and lands, our businesses, and our Board. I hope these young people go out and get an amazing education and come back and work for our people. It is such an incredible feeling to be a shareholder, working for our company and seeing positive impacts and returns from the work that we do for our shareholders. We have very talented young professionals who are making a difference in the work they do for us.
It was an honor to help celebrate Traditional First Chief Fred Ewan’s 102nd birthday hosted by the Gulkana Village Council. He became Traditional First Chief in 2014 and this year we celebrated his birthday on August 18th. He was born in small cabin at Crosswind Lake about 30 miles from Gulkana on August 15, 1916. On his 100th birthday he said he even remembers his exact time of birth – 3 o’clock in the afternoon – although it’s not officially recorded. When asked how he knew this, he replied that even as a baby he could see the sunlight. It’s this cheery attitude and infectious humor that has kept him young at heart. In addition to the photos in this issue, we’ve posted an image gallery of the event on our Facebook page. Thank you to everyone who made this a memorable celebration and to all those that came to honor Chief Ewan.
November 6 is the Alaska General Election. It is critical that we elect representation that represents us and our priorities. Please educate yourself on the ballot measures, candidates and incumbents so that you can make an informed choice at the polls. The Get Out the Native Vote website is a great resource http://aknativevote.com. Do you have young voters in your family? Election season is a great time to educate them on the importance of voting and the impact they can make. Every vote counts!
I hope you have had time to enjoy the Ahtna History books that were mailed out. We welcome your feedback on the publication. You can learn how to submit edits and order extra copies HERE.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming AFN Convention and our reception in Anchorage – make sure to stop by and visit our Ahtna booth in the exhibitor hall.
Michelle Anderson, President