Happy New Year! We wish you a year filled with peace, joy, and good health. This is a good time to look ahead and share what this New Year may bring, but would also like to take a look back and be thankful for our blessings.
Highest Elder Dividend Declared
Thanks to the hard work of our employees, Ahtna had a successful 2017. In accordance with the Earnings Distribution Policy, the Ahtna, Inc. Board of Directors formally declared a shareholder dividend for 2017 of $4.92 per share. In addition, a dividend of $1,000 per eligible Elder was declared which was a $600 increase over the previous year. Please remember, it’s very important to ensure your contact information is updated with shareholder records so you don’t miss out on any mailings as well as paperwork like the Testamentary Disposition so we know how you would like your shares distributed. Also, by signing up for direct deposit you can receive your dividend days earlier than by mail. Shareholder records forms can be found on the Ahtna website.
Meeting with the Governor Walker
I met with Governor Walker last November. The Governor expressed his appreciation and respect for the Ahtna people and his working relationship with Ahtna, Incorporated. He reflected on this last summer’s meetings with the Board and how it seemed his time at the Klutina River was his only real vacation this year. The Governor reaffirmed his intent to complete the Gulkana Land Transfer; to correct a bad chapter in our state’s history and return sacred lands to the Gulkana people.
The Governor discussed his trip to China with President Trump; and the signing of a historic joint development agreement for the export of Alaska natural gas to China. The Governor is very aware that Ahtna is the largest private landowner on the proposed LNG route; over 33 miles of Ahtna lands would be impacted by this project not to the mention all the other effects major development brings – increased access that will lead to trespass, wildlife impacts, and social impacts.
Governor Walker reached out to Ahtna to invite us to the table and talk with us as a partner in this development. He stressed the need to have skilled workforce that is trained and ready to work; even if that means training Alaskans and having them wait a bit for the jobs that are coming. His point was that once this project starts, we all need to be ready. We will continue to work with the Governor and his staff to ensure the best possible position for Ahtna and our shareholders. To learn more about the AGDC, please visit their website at www.agdc.us.
We had a tremendous turnout for our Ahtna Shareholder Reception and appreciate everyone who was able to attend as well as those that stopped by to visit our booth at the AFN Convention. During the Convention Senator Murkowski applauded beloved Ahtna leaders Roy S. Ewan, Nick Jackson and Eleanor Dementi; thanking them for their dedication and service to the Ahtna people and the work they’ve done to secure customary and traditional hunting and fishing for future generations of Ahtna people. We are thankful to the Alaska Delegation for hearing us out on our need to secure wildlife co-management authority on our ANCSA lands. We are especially thankful to US Senator Lisa Murkowski for her commitment to bring Ahtna, the State and federal agencies together to design a better wildlife management regime. Since she held a field hearing on subsistence in Glennallen in 2013, Senator Murkowski has worked with our board, our people and our staff to secure C&T hunting opportunity. With her support, the Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the US Department of the Interior to further wildlife co-management in the Ahtna region. We are thankful for this agreement and will continue to work on a long-term solution that ultimately gives Ahtna people the right to manage wildlife on our lands.
AFN President Julie Kitka invited me to be one of two Alaska Native keynote speakers at a Jan 22, 2018 Alaska Day event in Washington DC that AFN is planning and Secretary Zinke is hosting. I am honored to be speaking on the need for Alaskan Native wildlife co-management and the collective success of decades of Alaska Native management on ANCSA lands.
Ahtna History Book
A draft of the Ahtna History Book manuscript has been completed and we are currently shopping it to potential publishers. We did a call for historical photos late last year and are working to incorporate these photographs into the final book draft. We are deeply grateful to those of you who are willing to share photographs from your personal family archives for generations to enjoy.
Over 400 shareholders completed the 2017 Ahtna Shareholder-owner survey! That was an increase of 100 respondents compared to our last survey which was done in 2015. Thank you for taking the time to provide us your valuable input. We have been analyzing the results and comparing them to the feedback we received in 2015 to identify where improvements have been made as well as areas that need additional attention. Stay tuned as we plan to share highlights from the results in the spring issue of the Kanas. This is the time of the year in which Ahtna employees recognize the outstanding performance of their colleagues in meeting the Ahtna vision. We will be recognizing several Ahtna employees at employee events to be held in December. Along with giving my deepest appreciation to the entire Ahtna workforce, I want to specially recognize the Ahtna employees who stood out to their peers in 2017 for their hard work and dedication to our shareholders. Congratulations for being recognized as Employees of the Year! We are thankful for all you do!
Michelle Anderson, President