Dear fellow shareholders,
Happy New Year from all of us here at Ahtna! We wish you and your family good health, happiness, and prosperity in 2022. The past year continued to present challenges, but we reached significant milestones and made meaningful contributions despite the difficulties.
The administration and distribution of the CARES Act funds Ahtna received was no small feat. From the conceptualization of the online COVID Reimbursement Program application process to the distribution of the funds, I am extremely proud of how staff pulled together from across the organization to make the program a top priority. After the reimbursement applications had been processed, we regrouped with our regional non-profits to see how the remaining funds could best be utilized to benefit our shareholders and villages. Copper River Native Association (CRNA) used the CARES Act money Ahtna provided to purchase an ambulance, which will increase its ability to respond to the ongoing pandemic and provide care effectively and comfortably to local residents.
Thanks in large part to the administration of Ahtna’s CARES Act applications via the shareholder portal, we have seen MyAhtna registrations double over the past year. MyAhtna is a free, online resource that provides shareholders easy access to a wealth of information and allows shareholders to update certain record information. We’ve also seen an increase in direct deposit sign-ups which is wonderful, as it’s the fastest and most secure way to receive funds from Ahtna. You can easily sign up by visiting the shareholder forms section of the Ahtna website.
The Board of Directors and the Trustees of Ahtna Hwt’aene (People’s) Trust declared two shareholder dividends and two Elder distributions in 2021, totaling over $9 million in distributions. 2021 continued to be a year of tremendous challenges due to the pandemic, and it’s our hope that the distributions helped to relieve some of the financial burden shareholders have experienced.
We are embarking this year on a new 5-year strategic plan for Ahtna. The plan puts focus on increasing profits; diversifying our portfolio; providing benefits to shareholders; protecting our land, our customary and traditional hunting and fishing rights, and natural resources; and preparing shareholders for the next generation of leadership and management within the company. Ahtna uses a strategic-management framework called the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) to align business activities to the vision and strategy of the Corporation, improve internal and external communications, and monitor performance against strategic goals. Ahtna has used the BSC to successfully link long-term strategy with short-term actions.
The Alaska Redistricting Board members took the final legal steps to adopt a legislative map in November which organizes all of our villages in one district. Objections, lawsuits, and appeals of the Board’s decision could last months, if not years, but this first step was a major win for our region. I credit the victory to the testimony that our Board members provided at various public comment meetings in a very short amount of time.
Congratulations to our 2021 Ahtna Employees of the Year! These employees were nominated by their leadership teams for this special recognition. Along with my deepest appreciation to the entire Ahtna team, I want to especially recognize these Ahtna employees who stand out for their hard work, commitment to the Ahtna mission, and dedication to our shareholders.
ANCSA Regional Association (ARA) premiered “ANCSA: Our People. Our Land. Our Future.” statewide last month. The film offers a look at the first 50 years of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and a glimpse of what’s yet to come. Prominent ANCSA leaders are featured in the film, including Ahtna, Inc. Chairman Ken Johns, Christine Craig, and the late Ruby Tansy John. The film can be viewed below.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Ahtna, Incorporated. When ANCSA was being debated on the floor of Congress, we were represented by our Elders. They fought for our status as villages, for the lands that we own today, and for the preservation of our culture going forward. It is through our past leaders’ efforts that this company has persevered and prospered over the past five decades. Reflecting back allows us to learn and provides a model for conducting ourselves as future generations of Ahtna people. Our business is built on listening to the people we serve, and we thank you for your guidance, loyalty and support.
Michelle Anderson, President
Celebrating 50 years
Ahtna, Incorporated was incorporated on June 23, 1972, by Lillian Boston, Hector Ewan, Norman Ewan, Roy Ewan, George Hobson, and Christine Craig.
The initial Board of Directors consisted of Robert Marshall, Harry Johns, Nick Jackson, Henry Bell, Roy Ewan, Hector Ewan, Dorothy Shinn, Lillian Boston, Christine Craig, and Judy Marshall.