Published April 2018
Roy was born on February 25, 1935 in Kluti-Kaah, Alaska. His father was the late Estaco Ewan of the Taltsiine clan and his mother the late Jessie Charley of the Udzisyu clan. After high school, Roy served in the US Army. When he returned home, Roy was selected for leadership by his elders. He was the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) Camp 31 President. He represented the Ahtna people in negotiations of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. As Ahtna President and CEO, Roy was a strong and successful business leader. Roy spent the latter part of his life advocating fiercely for Ahtna hunting and fishing rights.
Roy was a Co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) and went on to receive the prestigious AFN Citizen of the Year award. He was also a recipient of the First Alaskans Institute’s Howard Rock award for his quiet and humble leadership.
Roy was an avid reader; he liked business books, autobiographies and was always current on local, statewide, and national politics. He enjoyed baseball, basketball, boxing, trapping, hunting, working on the fishwheel and working on fish. His freezers were always filled with traditional foods he gathered during hunting and fishing seasons. In his younger years, he was a dog musher. Roy loved to be in the outdoors and on the land. Roy loved the Ahtna people! He wanted to see younger Ahtna men and women becoming familiar with the land and learning to appreciate being in the outdoors like he did.
Nick Jackson, Chairman of the Ahtna, Inc. Board of Directors shared that, “Roy’s heart was always for the people. Roy was orphaned at a young age and sent away but he later returned to become a respected and beloved leader of the Ahtna people.”
Roy is survived by his wife G. Glenda, their daughter Jacqueline and son-in-law Patrick Johnny, grandchildren Roy Shane and Adrian Ewan and Ryan and Jolenda Johnny and great-granddaughter Tre’ann Ewan, brother Wilbur Joe and wife Marilyn, first cousin Robert Marshall and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
“Alaska First Lady Donna Walker and I would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the friends and family of Roy Ewan. Roy’s leadership and dedication helped guide the passage of ANCSA, protected subsistence rights for Alaska Natives, and provided a steadfast advocate for his Ahtna people. I am grateful for our friendship and the wisdom and guidance he shared with me through the years.” -Alaska Governor Bill Walker
“It is with heaviness of heart that I express my condolences to the family of Roy Ewan. For decades, Roy has been a leader of the Ahtna People. His integrity, vision and respectful but strong leadership was critical during the ANCSA settlement struggle. He forged strong ties with Native and non-Native leadership across the state as he and his peers in leadership of the Ahtna region advocated for subsistence rights, economic advancement and for the tribal and cultural future of his People. He was among that generation of Native leadership connected to the world of his parents and grandparents who made their wisdom and philosophy a daily part of his leadership of newer generations. I had the privilege and honor to work alongside and learn from Roy over many years. I will always remember his strength and vision.” -Alaska Lt. Governor Byron Mallott
“Roy Ewan was a man of immense integrity in everything he did. At AFN leadership meetings, everyone always wanted to know what Roy thought. He was rooted in his culture and successfully operated in the Western world. We will miss him greatly.” – Julie Kitka
“He was there early, and he stuck with the effort all the way through and helped implement his region, getting it up and running,” said Emil Notti, of Anchorage, who served as a major force in achieving the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and was the first president of the Alaska Federation of Natives. “He advocated right up until he could not do it anymore.”
“He was dedicated; he wasn’t there for himself,” said Marlene Johnson, of Hoonah and Juneau, and the Raven Moiety, T’akdeintaan Clan, Taax Hit. “He was there for his community and the area and for future generations and to protect the land,” said Johnson, another prominent figure in the land claims movement who went on to serve on the Sealaska Corp. board of directors and Sealaska Heritage Institute.“He worked for what we thought was best for our communities. He was so respectful of the elders. I learned from him,” said Johnson, a friend of over 50 years.
“I have been in the land and natural resource field for nearly forty years and there isn’t a day that goes by that myself, or staff, don’t learn something new from the Ahtna people about how they managed the resources.” – Joe Bovee, Ahtna, Inc. Vice President of Land and Resources