President’s message: Katie John Day Officially Established

Published July 2019

michelle anderson

Dear fellow shareholder,

We were deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Ahtna, Inc. Board member Franklin John. Franklin was a kindhearted and giving man who dedicated the past 13 years to helping our people by serving on the board. He loved to share cultural knowledge and food with others; he made the best moose head soup. Our condolences to the John family and to all the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

Annual Meeting

Months of planning go into preparing for the Annual Meeting and this year’s event was unique in the fact that we had an important resolution on the proxy ballot. We put out a call for your help and the positive response was overwhelming. Not only did you help us meet quorum for the meeting, you voted to reduce the quorum requirement for future shareholder meetings. Your support means a lot to our Board of Directors and leadership team. We have a committee made up of employees from across the Ahtna companies that plan for this one day. I want to thank all the staff that are involved in our annual meeting set up, execution, and clean up.

We are happy to welcome newly elected director Shawn Sanford (Seat D, Cheesh’na) to the Ahtna, Inc. Board of Directors. You can learn more about him and his hopes for the Board in this issue. We are also glad to have incumbent directors Jason Hart (Seat A, At-Large), John Craig (Seat A, At-Large) and Linda Pete (Seat F, Gakona) returning to the Board. A huge thank you to former Board of Director Karen Linnell for her service. Karen was named the Board of Director of the Year by her director peers. We are thankful to have the opportunity to continue to work with her as she serves our people as the AITRC Executive Director.

Shareholder Services

We announced at the meeting that Shareholder Services has been reorganized under four main areas: Shareholder Enrichment, Shareholder Records, Scholarships and Graduate Gifts.

Shareholder Advocate Starr Knighten shows Danny Hicks the new shareholder portal at the 2019 Annual Meeting.

Shareholder Advocate Starr Knighten shows Danny Hicks the new shareholder portal at the 2019 Annual Meeting.

Shareholder Development has been renamed Shareholder Enrichment and will focus on pre-employment preparations, training and jobs. Through our Job Training Program participants gain valuable experience and learn about employment expectations such as the importance of punctuality, professionalism, scheduling and budgeting. We are also exploring opportunities for shareholders to gain experience working for the villages on their projects. The goal is for shareholders to gain the on-the-job experience needed to secure long-term work. A comprehensive Shareholder Enrichment Plan is being developed based on the needs of our shareholders. Staff will be reaching out to shareholders to identify employment needs. We want to be able to assist shareholders with becoming employed; with Ahtna or wherever their career goals may take them.

Members of the Ahtna Special Forces attend Professional Development Training given by BreeAnn Davis from Cook Inlet Tribal Council.

Members of the Ahtna Special Forces attend Professional Development Training given by BreeAnn Davis from Cook Inlet Tribal Council.

We have improved our internship program with guidance from the Board and now refer to the young professionals as Ahtna’s Special Forces. The program is meant to give college students an insider’s view into the Corporate departments and subsidiary operations. We are always trying to prepare for the future, and as part of our succession planning, we are training our young men and women on good work habits, relationship building, public speaking and presentation skills. We have participants located in Alaska as well as our subsidiary office in California. This year we are planning to bring participants to the headquarters office and have them do a field trip with the land department and attend some council meetings or culture camps.
Shareholder Records will stay focused on shareholder enrollment, dividends, gifting and stock transfers and administration of shareholder records. Ahtna recently took over administration of the Walter Charley Memorial Scholarship and we successfully distributed our first educational scholarships from the program. We hope that students found the process to be smooth and welcome any feedback. Shareholders receive a congratulatory gift for graduation from high school or college and we are extremely proud of all our recent graduates and their accomplishments which you can read about on page 22.

Brenwick-Craig Road Settlement

We have reached a settlement with the State of Alaska on the Brenwick-Craig Road litigation. The State acknowledged Ahtna owned the land that the road is on, but there is a 100-foot public easement with two off-shoots: one at Boy’s Camp and the other at the Airstrip. The easement only gives the public the right to travel from one point to another. They may not use it for any other uses, including camping. An Ahtna land use permit is still required for activities on Ahtna lands both inside and outside of the public easement.

A brand new informational sign at the Willow Lake pullout.

A brand new informational sign at the Willow Lake pullout.

Highway Signs

Six informational signs are being installed at highway viewpoints in the region this summer. They are located along the Glenn Highway near Gunsight Mountain (Camp Creek pullout), the Richardson Highway near Hogan Hill and the Willow Lake pullout, MP-56.5 on the Tok Highway north of Chistochina and MP-131 of the Denali Highway and MP-200 of the Parks Highway near Cantwell. The signs are meant to give residents and visitors an awareness of the Ahtna traditional, cultural and historic features indigenous to the areas. The signs were funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and designed by Ahtna using input from the Customary and Traditional Committee. You’ll recognize the signs as one of ours when you see the “Welcome to the Ahtna Region” logo.

Governor Mike Dunleavy, Ahtna Senior Vice President Kathryn Martin, Harry John, Robert John Jr., Eva John, Fred John Jr. and Nora David stand with the freshly signed law that makes Katie John Day official.

Governor Mike Dunleavy, Ahtna Senior Vice President Kathryn Martin, Harry John, Robert John Jr., Eva John, Fred John Jr. and Nora David stand with the freshly signed law that makes Katie John Day official.

Katie John Day

In honor of one of our dearest and most beloved matriarchs, whose work embodied the spirit of the Ahtna culture and people, May 31 has officially been declared as Katie John Day. We are so grateful to everyone who testified in honor of her legacy and Representative Neal Foster and Senator Click Bishop for sponsoring the bill and their strong support. The Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) and the ANCSA Regional Association testified and provided letters of support every session as the bill made its way through committees and Governor Mike Dunleavy signed the bill into law at the Ahtna offices with Katie John’s family. This day of honor will forever recognize the accomplishments of her work. Wherever you may be each May 31, please take a moment to remember Katie and her many contributions to our Native people.

Tsin’aen,
Michelle Anderson, President
Ahtna, Incorporated

 

 

A celebration cake at the Katie John Day celebration in Mentasta.

A celebration cake at the Katie John Day celebration in Mentasta.