Published January 2019
Dear fellow shareholder,
As we look back over 2018, we certainly have a lot to be thankful for. That theme of gratitude and reflection is especially relevant as the holidays come to a close and we get on with life in the new year.
One of the highlights of 2018 was the great performance of our Ahtna Netiye’ family of businesses. They produced a bottom line that enabled Ahtna’s Board of Directors to declare a $10.27 per share dividend and a distribution of $1,000 per eligible Elder.
The distribution set a record and, for the first time, was distributed from the Ahtna Hwt-anene (People’s) Trust, which means it won’t be taxable. The 2018 distribution is more than double that of Ahtna’s 2017 dividend and is the highest dividend distribution per share in the history of Ahtna. Our Elders teach the importance of being thankful. Please join me in thanking our hard-working employees who made the dividend happen.
A special relationship
Ahtna and Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. have worked together since 1970, and we recently renewed our longstanding Friendship Agreement and discussed current matters and upcoming projects. This relationship has proven extremely beneficial to our shareholders and to the operators of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). As Alyeska President Tom Barrett noted during the signing ceremony, “Alyeska has a special and enduring relationship with Ahtna, and we appreciate that they share their traditional lands with us and bring innovative solutions from the exceptional employees along TAPS.
“As our company brings innovation forward for the next 40 years, our relationship with Ahtna will not change, but only grow stronger in partnership.”
We couldn’t agree more. You can learn more on page 8.
Righting a historic wrong
Just days before he left office, Governor Bill Walker and the Gulkana Village Council formally agreed to a process for the State to re-convey Gulkana land that had been developed 75 years ago without permission. In 1943, the Alaska Road Commission built a bridge across the Gulkana River, dividing the village and making uninhabitable portions of land Gulkana has occupied for centuries. The bridge was built just feet away from the village cemetery, enabling people to trespass through sacred grounds to gain access to the river. Governor Walker is a good friend of the Ahtna, and we deeply appreciate the fact that he took the time to address this past injustice while he was still in office. I look forward to working with Governor Dunleavy and his team to resolve this issue.
Our amazing people
A big shout-out of congratulations to Barbara ‘Wáahlaal Gidáak Blake, Dr. Donna Galbreath and Glennallen School Principal Frances Jackson. The First Alaskans Institute named Barbara as a Young Native Leader and Donna and Frances were honored with AFN President’s Awards. You can read more on pages 17 and 18.
It is with a sad heart that we report the death of Hazel Mary Neeley, 92, the beloved wife of our former First Chief Ben Neeley, mother of eight and a true culture bearer and sharpshooter. You can find out more about her remarkable life on page 14, along with a moving remembrance by her granddaughter, Angela Vermillion.
It was wonderful to see so many of you get out and vote
this past election season. It is a civic responsibility that each of us has as a U.S. citizen, and it grants us the opportunity to elect leaders who may affect great changes in our way of life.
As always, Ahtna strives to provide the highest quality of service for you, our shareholders. Our Shareholder Services department recently unveiled MyAhtna, an online portal that allows eligible shareholders, 18 years of age or older, to update their records online. Shareholders will also be able to opt in to receive their annual meeting materials electronically, which saves money and reduces our environmental impact.
We would also like to acknowledge those of you who completed the Shareholder Employment Questionnaire. Our Shareholder Development department will use the information for employment, training and professional development opportunities.
One final thank you to our Anchorage staff for their generosity. Our goal during the annual food drive was to collect 1,000 items – we ended up with 958. The donations went to the Copper River Native Association’s (CRNA) Food Bank, a program that benefits people living in the Ahtna region.
I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and took some time to reflect on the blessings in your life.
Michelle Anderson, President