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The board for the Tribe’s Executive Council during the 89th Tribal Meeting

Delegates elected six vice presidents to two-year terms on the tribe’s Executive Council. (Photo courtesy of Tlingit & Haida)

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – The Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) met on Thursday, April 18, for the second day of the 89th Annual Tribal Meeting.

118 delegates were on hand to elect six vice presidents, listen to reports and reflect on the theme of this year’s Tribal Assembly: “Rooted in Tradition, Growing a Sustainable Future.”

During the election, delegates installed Aurora Lehr as Chief Justice, Cheryl Demmert Fairbanks as Associate Justice, Randy Estrin as Emerging Leader and Jania Garcia as Delegate/Citizen of the Year.

President Chalyee Éesh Richard Peterson ran unopposed and was unanimously re-elected to another two-year term, marking his sixth term as president.

Delegates elected six vice presidents to serve for two-year terms on the tribe’s Executive Council:

  • 1st Vice President: Jacqueline Pata (Juneau, AK)
  • 2nd Vice President: Clinton E. Cook Sr. (Craig, A.K.)
  • 3rd Vice President: Rob Sanderson Jr. (Ketchikan, AK)
  • 4th Vice President: Will Micklin (California)
  • 5th Vice President: Delbert Kadake Jr. (Kake, AK)
  • 6th Vice President: Paulette Moreno (Sitka, AK)

Tlingit & Haida were honored to have Dr. Randie Fong, vice president of Cultural Affairs for Kamehameha Schools, delivered the keynote address.

In his opening statement, he spoke about the importance of words and value in traditional Hawaiian homes, as well as his rich family history and Hawaiian perspectives.

Dr. Fong shared the current state of Kamehameha schools, with three elementary schools and 29 preschools spread across three islands, including a network of charter schools and Hawaiian language immersion schools.

Delegates indicated that this is the vision they have for the recently announced Tlingit & Haida education campus.

Dr. Fong talked about what this year’s theme means to him.

“When I think about what it means to be rooted in tradition, I am reminded not only of the grand, colorful tribal traditions displayed in glorious adornment for the world to see, whether here or elsewhere, which I a ‘ Tradition with a capital T.’ “I am even more aware of the very simple, modest, personal, intimate traditions of our individual history, ‘tradition with a small t’, that guide our normal daily lives when no one is looking,” he said. “As I reflect on the second half of our theme, Growing a Sustainable Future, I reflect on the early seeds of courage and faith planted generations ago, which are now the very fruits being grown in innovative and regenerative ways harvested and replanted. .”

Dr. Randie Fong, vice president of Cultural Affairs for Kamehameha Schools, delivered the keynote speech. (Photo courtesy of Tlingit & Haida)

Dr. Homer Wilkes of the USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment shared recent developments under the Biden-Harris administration.

Wilkes oversees the U.S. Forest Service, which is responsible for managing the forests and grasslands of tribes’ ancestral homelands, such as the Tongass National Forest.

Wilkes’ grandfather had given him an important message: “If you take care of the country, the country will take care of you.”

This still resonates with Wilkes and drives him in his work.

Dr. Wilkes emphasized the importance of working with tribal nations to create policies that include those who have been historically disadvantaged: “The Creator has given us the rightful responsibilities we need to ensure that the land is left better than we left it found. That is why it is so important that when we started working on the land, we integrate the traditional ecological knowledge that the tribes bring with them… that is what we need to work on as far as western and traditional ecological knowledge are combined… . administrators of the country much better if we took that on as a responsibility. I am determined to make that happen.”

Delegates received a report from the enrollment committee from member Louise Kadinger and an audit report from chair Catherine Edwards. Alaska Deputy Vice President Clinton Cook also presented an update on the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). Pacific Salmon Commission First Nations Caucus Commissioner Russ Jones and Cecilia Tavoliero, president of the Southeast Alaska Landless Corporation, also provided reports to delegates.

The evening concluded with a memorial service honoring tribal citizens who have died since 2023.

Highlights for Friday, April 19 include resolutions, additional reports and the President’s Awards Banquet & Education Fundraiser.

If you missed Thursday’s Tribal Assembly livestream, you can watch the archive video and tune in to the final day, streamed live on YouTube: www.youtube.com/@TlingitHaida