Senator Murkowski is a lifelong Alaskan who has served the state of Alaska in the U.S. Senate since 2002, and previously in the Alaska State Legislature from 1999 until 2002. During both tenures, she has proven to be a fierce advocate for Alaska, and has championed critical issues that address the needs of Alaska Native people and communities. Through her roles as Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Ranking Member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, she holds a strategic position that enables her to advance Alaska Native interests.
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of Chugach Alaska Corporation – an incredible leader for the Eyak, Alutiiq, and Sugpiag peoples, and for our state as a whole.” said Senator Murkowski. “We have worked hard to defend ANCSA, improve access to critical services, and increase rural infrastructure, together. I value the work that we have collaborated on for many years and intend to work hard for the Native peoples, lands, and prosperity of southcentral Alaska for years to come.”
Among those are land issues, which hold particular significance to Alaska Native Corporations that collectively represent the largest landowners in the state. Senator Murkowski understands the complexities surrounding land ownership in Alaska, and both the challenges and opportunities created for Alaska Native landowners through the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).
Chugach has long sought a remedy for the conflict spawned after Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS) settlement funds were used to purchase surface estate and conservation easements in areas where Chugach owns the subsurface estate. This split ownership between Chugach and the federal government creates a conflict in land management and use that is not in the best interest of the public, nor Chugach and the shareholders it represents. Senator Murkowski recognizes this, and supported the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act to support a land exchange to resolve this conflict.
“Senator Murkowski believes that Alaska’s greatest resource is its people. She has been an important ally for Alaska Native people, and more broadly for all of Alaska,” said Chugach Chairman Sheri Buretta. “She often works across the aisle on bipartisan efforts in order to bring about policy changes that are in the best interest of Alaska.”
Senator Murkowski also understands the importance of economic development in Alaska, including the need for responsible investment in fisheries, tourism, and natural resource management. She has long supported efforts to strengthen Alaska’s economy, including advocating for a strong military presence in our state. Chugach is closely aligned with issues related to supporting the state’s military and defense activity and arctic policies, given our long history of government contracting, primarily for the Department of Defense.
The U.S. Senate elections will be held Nov. 8, 2022. For more information on the upcoming elections, voting locations, or voting registration, visit https://www.vote.org/.
Congressman Young was best known as a fierce advocate for Alaska and the people who call the state home, earning him the title of “Congressman for All Alaska.” He was an ally to the Alaska Native people, and partner to Alaska Native regional and villagcorporations.
In her remarks, Hegna highlighted Congressman Young’s remarkable career spanning nine presidential terms. “He served as Congress’ institutional memory and Alaska’s indispensable representative. His work became legendary.” She went on to describe how he saw 123 bills signed into law during his tenure, and his service to Alaskans not only through his words, but also his actions.
Senator Murkowski reflected on Congressman Young’s love for the state and directed this comment to Secretary Haaland regarding her visit to Alaska: “This is an opportunity for you to understand and see first-hand what an extraordinary state we have, and how blessed we are with the resources we have – not only what God has given us in the ground and the waters but also the human resource of its people.”
In a final toast of the evening, Chugach Chairman of the Board Sheri Buretta recalled her time spent with Congressman Young and the deep bond and friendship forged over their passion for doing the right thing for Alaska. “I’ve been doing this job for 25 years and have had the opportunity to visit with the Congressman in Washington, D.C. each year. It’s important to take this moment to recognize and honor the passage of time, and to pay tribute to Congressman Young’s service and dedication to our state.”
Young was first elected to the U.S. House in 1973 and has held it ever since. He served in Congress for 49 years. During his tenure, he paved the way for the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), which would become an economic engine for the state. He worked tirelessly as a champion for Alaska Native rights, from protecting subsistence rights, to advocating for capital spending in rural Alaska, to supporting the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. His contributions to Alaska are matched only by his larger-than-life personality – both of which will not be soon forgotten.
Our condolences and deepest sympathies go out to Congressman Young’s family. We mourn with you and share in the pain of your loss. May his memory be eternal.
In lieu of donations, Congressman Young’s family asks that individuals consider donating to one or both of the following charities in his honor:
Lu Young Children’s Fund for Alaska Native Children (lycf.org): The Lu Young Children’s Fund was created in 2004 to leave a legacy of support for Alaska’s Native children and their families. Through the fund, outreach and support is provided to these children and families who need and deserve to live happier, healthier lives. The Lu Young Children’s Fund (LYCF) is organized under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations to LYCF are deductible for federal income tax purposes. LYCF can receive individual and corporate donations without limit.
The Lu Young Children’s Fund
P.O. Box 27924
Washington, DC 20038
The Don Young Institute for Alaska: The purpose of The Don Young Institute for Alaska is to honor and commemorate Congressman Don Young’s long and distinguished career, to be a repository for his historical papers and artifacts for preservation, education, and research. The Institute is registered with the IRS as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit and is registered (and in good standing) with the State of Alaska. Donations to the Institute are deductible for federal income tax purposes and corporations and individuals may contribute without limit.The Don Young
Institute for Alaska
3705 Arctic Blvd. #571
Anchorage, AK 99503
Anchorage, AK – A clear path forward to increase housing and services for those experiencing homelessness in Anchorage has convinced private funders to contribute millions, matching the Municipality of Anchorage’s commitment.
In all, the Anchorage Assembly has appropriated $6 million and private funders have committed $7 million for a total of $13 million to move people from shelter to housing. This public-private partnership will systematically address how best to serve specific populations and minimize neighborhood impacts.
Funders in addition to the Municipality are: Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Calista Corp., Chugach Alaska Corp., Doyon Ltd., Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, Providence Alaska, Rasmuson Foundation and Weidner Apartment Homes.
“The Municipality of Anchorage stands behind these public-private partnerships that will help our city’s most vulnerable get the resources they need to be healthy and successful,” said Mayor Bronson. “I look forward to working together with our community to make sure no one is without shelter or care.”
The Bronson administration, the Anchorage Assembly, the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness and funders, represented by Rasmuson Foundation, took part in a facilitated process to come to agreement. The result is a plan to move more than 700 people out of the Sullivan Arena and local hotels — temporary mass care that was necessary during the pandemic but is intended to end on June 30.
“Along with our many partners, we are having success connecting our neighbors experiencing homelessness to housing that meets their individual needs,” said Meg Zaletel, interim executive director of the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness. “We need all hands on deck to continue this momentum! Community partnership and collaboration is key to making homelessness in Anchorage rare, brief and one-time.”
Alaska philanthropies and corporations are backing the unified plan with commitments totaling $7 million to ensure stable housing and shelter with services leading to housing for those experiencing homelessness. The Assembly has appropriated $6 million.
“We are at a transformational moment for addressing homelessness in our community,” said Anchorage Assembly Member Felix Rivera. “This work builds on the Anchored Home Plan to end homelessness in Anchorage and is the culmination of years of hard work from many community partners. I thank the mayor, the Assembly and our community partners for your commitment to this audacious goal.”
The public-private partnership agreed on an approach with smaller, geographically distributed facilities tailored to specific needs. The group is pleased to announce four fast-track projects that together will house 500 or more individuals:
Complex care. Located at 303 W. Fireweed Lane in what was the Sockeye Inn, the facility includes 61 rooms including some doubles and will serve those with ongoing or unmet medical needs. It will open in June with Catholic Social Services as the operator. The sale closed March 30.
Navigation center and shelter for single adults. A shelter at Tudor and Elmore roads is intended to house up to 200 single adults with surge capacity for 130 more. The navigation center will quickly connect individuals to services and stable housing.
Workforce and permanent supportive housing. A facility at Fifth Avenue and Cordova Street will provide stable housing in 130 rooms. Some individuals will double up. A purchase agreement is pending.
Residential treatment center for those with substance misuse disorders. A facility to be run by the Salvation Army is under renovation at 660 E. 48th Ave. The center will house up to 68 individuals.
Those who need complex care — often because of ongoing or unmet medical needs — will be served at 303 W. Fireweed Lane. (Photo by Matt Waliszek)
Those projects will serve four of the five specific populations identified by the workgroup and ensure the comprehensive approach sought by funders. A project being developed separately will address the fifth area of need, specialized populations that include couples, women, LGBTQ+ individuals and the elderly.
“Nonprofit organizations already are providing excellent care in Anchorage to those most in need, but more services and more types of support are needed. Our philanthropic partners have wanted to do more, but they needed to see consensus among key players,” said Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation president and CEO. “Productive negotiations by the workgroup have paid off, and we hope hundreds of Alaskans will live better lives as a result.”
The Municipality of Anchorage’s goal is to systematically bring compassionate care to our residents experiencing homelessness. The strategy involves housing, transitional housing, supportive housing, treatment and navigation centers among other initiatives. It calls for a ‘no wrong door’ approach with services tailored to individual needs.
The mission of the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness is to provide dynamic leadership in making homelessness rare, brief and one time. As the lead for the Anchorage Continuum of Care, ACEH seeks to promote communitywide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts to quickly rehouse individuals and families experiencing homelessness while minimizing trauma and dislocation; promote access to services needed by individuals and families experiencing homelessness; and optimize self-sufficiency.
Rasmuson Foundation aims to promote a better life for all Alaskans. Main funding areas are solutions to homelessness, health care, the arts, organizational and community development and human services including projects to address domestic violence, child abuse and services for seniors and people with disabilities. The Foundation was created in 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband E.A. Rasmuson.
The formation of Alaskans for TARA underscores how strongly ARA believes that Sweeney is the most qualified candidate to grow Alaska’s economy. Alaskans for TARA will also accept support from others in the civic and business community who wish to support Sweeney.
“Tara’s track record of success, her unique understanding of rural and urban Alaska, and her experience in Juneau and Washington D.C. are critically important as she seeks to become Alaska’s sole member of the House of Representatives,” said ARA President Kim Reitmeier.
Sweeney has served Alaska internationally as chair of the multi-national Arctic Economic Council. She was also the first Alaska Native Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior, co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), and special assistant for Rural Affairs and Education during Gov. Murkowski’s administration. Sweeney, a Republican, was also co-chair of the late Congressman Don Young’s campaign.
“Tara’s depth and breadth of service at all levels, in both public and private sectors, simply cannot be matched by any other candidate running for this seat,” said ARA Vice-Chair and Bering Straits Native Corporation President and CEO Gail Schubert.
Sheri Buretta, Chugach Alaska Corporation chairman of the board, is president of Alaskans for TARA. Gail Schubert is vice-president, Ahtna, Inc. President Michelle Anderson is treasurer, and Sarah Lukin, chief strategy officer for Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) is secretary.
Alaskans for TARA is assembling an experienced campaign team that spans the political spectrum, all uniting around a single goal—electing Tara Katuk Sweeney to Alaska’s at-large house seat.
The special election to fill the remainder of Congressman Young’s term begins with a by-mail open primary, with ballots due or postmarked by June 11. The top four vote getters will advance to a special ranked-choice general election on August 16.
Paid for by Alaskans for T.A.R.A. (True Alaska Representation Alliance) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Alaskans for T.A.R.A. (True Alaska Representation Alliance), 11500 Sukdu Way, Suite 150 Anchorage, AK 99515
“It is rare for ARA to support a political candidate, but a candidate as experienced and qualified as Tara Katuk Sweeney is also rare,” said ARA President Kim Reitmeier. “As our nation’s first Alaska Native Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Tara fought tirelessly from our nation’s capital in Washington D.C. to help create jobs and economic opportunity for all Alaskans, including those in rural communities.”
Born and raised in Alaska, Tara has a unique understanding of our state’s issues. She has a proven ability to listen, learn and bring people together to solve problems, successfully advocating for responsible resource development, infrastructure projects, and equitable access to broadband, housing, and transportation.
“Tara has made a tremendous positive impact on Alaska both in the public and private sectors,” said ARA Vice-Chair and Bering Straits Native Corporation President and CEO Gail R. Schubert. “Her public service at the international level as Chair of the multi-national Arctic Economic Council, at the national level as Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior, and at the state level as Co-Chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives and as Special Assistant for Rural Affairs and Education during the Murkowski administration have well-prepared her to represent all of Alaska as our only member in the House of Representatives.”
In addition to her work locally and internationally, she also served as the late Congressman Don Young’s campaign co-chair. The special election to fill the remainder of Young’s term begins with a by-mail open primary June 11. The top four vote getters will advance to a special ranked-choice general election on August 16.
About ANCSA Regional Association (ARA): ARA represents the presidents and chief executive officers of the twelve land-based Alaska Native regional corporations that were created pursuant to the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. ARA’s member corporations are owned by more than 150,000 Alaska Native shareholders. Its purpose is to promote and foster the continued growth and economic strength of Alaska Native corporations on behalf of Alaska Native shareholders and communities. Together, ANCSA corporations employ tens of thousands in Alaska and across the world, providing critical support for national industries as well as communities throughout Alaska. Learn more at ancsaregional.com.
Battle Dawgs is a non-profit organization that serves veterans. Their vision is “to empower our nation’s heroes through therapeutic and exciting experiences by harnessing the natural splendor of Alaska’s landscape and the majestic healing power of sled dogs.” They strive to help veterans who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder through mission-oriented programs and camps. They provide activities like going out into the Alaska countryside by snow machine or ATV, offer a host of services at their wellness center, and bring veteran-clients along to assist in building cabins and a lodge in Talkeetna that will eventually welcome and accommodate more veterans.
Jaimie has been involved with Battle Dawgs since 2017 and has supported many of the non-profit’s efforts. Her husband, a veteran of the U.S. Army, went to a Battle Dawgs camp; from then on, they knew it was an organization they wanted to be part of. Jaimie stated, “The impact Battle Dawgs has had on my husband and family has been astronomical. Being part of something bigger has had a big impact on us. Battle Dawgs doesn’t just help, they change lives and are the first people to step up for these veterans.”
Thank you to Jaimie for submitting the Battle Dawgs in the 12 Months of Giving campaign, and for helping us start this year-long event with such a worthy cause. Battle Dawgs will receive the first of 12 $1,000 donations from Chugach, and 11 other organizations will also receive donations based on nominations made by Chugach employees.
To learn more about Battle Dawgs and the great work they do, click here.
Annually, 40 American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiians under the age of 40 are recognized as emergent leaders, for their initiative, dedication and the contributions they have made to their business and/or their community. Recipients include leaders working in various fields from government contracting and the non-profit sector, to conservation and technology industries. This year, The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development held an award ceremony honoring the recipients on December 10, 2021 in Maricopa, Arizona.
Ashley has been at Chugach for 8 years, holding various positions throughout the organization. During this time, Ashley has taken on many challenges big and small. Ashley demonstrates exceptional leadership skills from the many projects she has led at CGS including managing a significant office remodel and coordinating COVID-19 protocol. Ashley values giving back to her community. Ashley serves on the Shareholder Advisory Committee for the Eyak Corporation, and is a co-developer of the Chugach Native Professionals (CNP) group; a group of shareholders and descendants who currently work at Chugach and are dedicated to professional growth and development. In addition to her work experience and community involvement, Ashley obtained her bachelor’s degree in Business Management and earned a Master Level Certification in the Alaska Native Executive Leadership Program.
Senior Vice President of Operations, Kathy Grimes shared “Ashley’s commitment to Chugach and her heritage is clear and demonstrates Chugach’s core behaviors on a daily basis.” She continued “Ashley is a proven leader who is an exceptional model for other Alaska Native Shareholders and employees of Chugach Government Solutions.”
Congratulations, Ashley on being named a recipient for NACIED’s 40 Under 40 Award.
Both milestones—becoming a mother and being elected as the only female board member at the time—represent significant points of pride for Buretta. They also reflect the multi-faceted gender and cultural identities that shape Alaska Native women in leadership roles today.
“Historically, Alaska Native women have played vital roles in shaping, defending, and strengthening their families and communities, and these traditional values translated to many of the same leadership skills that were necessary to thrive in the business world after the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act [ANCSA] was enacted,” explains fellow shareholder and Chugach’s Executive Vice President of ANCSA Lands and Community Affairs Josie Hickel. “Sheri brings the same strength, resolve, passion, and compassion to her work as she does to her community involvement and family.”
Both Buretta and Hickel are among the many Indigenous women serving in key leadership positions for Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs). They also reflect broader trends that show Alaska Native women collectively outpacing national gender equality statistics.
“Many countries and corporations today are setting their sights on gender diversity goals that are already happening relatively organically within Alaska Native Corporations and Native organizations at large,” explains ANCSA Regional Association Executive Director Kim Reitmeier.
In the United States in 2019, women represented just 21 percent of C-Suite positions, and women of color represented a mere 4 percent.Meanwhile, progress towards gender parity in ANC leadership roles is more promising. Five out of the twelve (42 percent) Presidents and CEOs at the helm of ANCs (as represented on the ARA Board of Directors) are women. At Chugach, five out of nine (55 percent) Chugach board members are women, while seven out of eleven (64 percent) of its executive team members are women.
Today, there is also a robust network of women across the state leading Alaska Native organizations, including Kim Reitmeier at the ANCSA Regional Association; Julie Kitka at the Alaska Federation of Natives; Hallie Bissett at the Alaska Native Village Corporation Association; and Emily Edenshaw at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, among others.
Many Indigenous tribes had matrilineal social systems, which may explain the strong data across Native organizations as a whole. According to the National Congress of American Indians 2015 report, the number of businesses owned by Native American and Alaska Native women has more than doubled since 1997, and women now represent 47 percent of Native owned companies. Nearly 25 percent of federally recognized tribes are led by women, which is higher than state leadership nationwide, with only 12 percent of the fifty states having female governors.
Yet another core tenet of many tribes is the communal governance structure, which places community over the individual. “One of the guiding ethos of our organization and our people is reciprocity,” explains Buretta. “We believe that today’s Alaska Native leaders have a responsibility to pass their knowledge, experience, and traditions on to the next generation of women and to create opportunities for them. Mary Gordaoff, Chugach’s only female founder, was just one of the many trailblazers who laid this foundation fifty years ago, and that vision to empower women to fill crucial leadership roles continues today.”
Higher education is certainly a major factor in breaking down gender barriers. American Indian/Alaska Native women enrollment in colleges and universities nationwide increased nearly 200 percent between 1976 and 2006. Chugach and other ANCs invest heavily in scholarship, training, and development programs, which are critical stepping stones towards leadership positions.
To date, Alaska Native education foundations, including Chugach Heritage Foundation (CHF), have awarded more than 54,000 individual scholarships to shareholders and descendants, totaling more than $100 million for Alaska Natives to pursue higher education goals and vocational endeavors.
Chugach’s board believes education is the key to empowering shareholders and invested $36 million in the CHF Endowment Fund, which provides a perpetual source of funding for CHF scholarship and cultural programs.
Chugach shareholder Katherine Carlton is just one of the beneficiaries of these programs. She was awarded a scholarship from Chugach to earn her bachelor’s degree and to graduate from the Alaska Native Executive Leadership Program. She was appointed as Assistant to the Chugach Government Solutions President, Chugach’s largest federal government contracting arm. Today, she serves as President of one of its subsidiaries, Chugach Education Services, Inc. More importantly, she is a visible success story to other female shareholders looking to shatter the glass ceiling.
“Federal government contracting is traditionally a male-dominated industry, and although that dynamic is shifting, it’s still not uncommon to be the only woman at the table,” says Carlton. “My education and experience through Chugach have given me the confidence and tools I need to succeed. More importantly, I have both mentors and colleagues who recognize the value I bring to the table and have played an important hand in my development.”
Today, Carlton is paying it forward as co-chair of the Chugach Native Professionals Group, which strives to educate and empower shareholders and descendants employed with Chugach.
Keeping the female leadership pipeline flowing through the pandemic presented a unique set of challenges, as mothers balanced their children’s remote schooling with their own work.
“As a mother and grandmother, it’s remarkable to see corporations like Chugach step up to support employees during the pandemic, at a time when many women felt pressured to ‘downsize’ their careers or leave the workforce altogether,” says Hickel. “Having women at the table means those leadership conversations are brought to the forefront and ensures that we’re addressing needs for balance and flexibility.”
The journey is not over. There is still much to overcome. But thanks to Indigenous female leaders, we’re taking steps towards living in a fairer and more equitable world.
We are proud to support this important work and run in solidarity with our own breast cancer survivors including Rachael Harvey, who leads the team each year, and Chugach President Dan Fenza’s wife, Melissa Fenza. All of our runners did awesome, and in the spirit of friendly competition – our team’s top three racers were:
The award recognizes outstanding Alaskans and policymakers during the annual Hickel and Egan Awards for Excellence in Public Policy Leadership. These honors go to individuals who have helped to shape and apply public policy in Alaska and the nation through their leadership and dedication to public service.
Kitka is the long-serving president of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) and has served on Chugach’s Board for more than two decades. In both roles, she has served as a tireless advocate and champion for Alaska Native peoples, tribal and village entities, and Alaska Native Corporations. For more than three decades, Julie has been at the forefront of seeking sovereignty, self-determination, and social justice for Alaska Natives. She has taken this work to international forums, the halls of governance in Washington DC and Juneau, and across Alaska.
“Julie’s work offers a voice to the collective Alaska Native community when it comes to regional, state and federal policies that impact Alaska Natives and Alaska Native Corporations,” says Chairman and Interim CEO Sheri Buretta. “She has been a driving force behind a number of important initiatives, including partnering with the FBI on crime prevention and missing persons in rural communities, and fighting to ensure our communities received much-needed COVID-19 relief funds. Julie established a forum for AFN members – called “Alaska Days” – to connect Alaska Natives to the military, federal lawmakers in Washington D.C. and progressive industries such as satellite companies and oil companies critical to the Alaska economy. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of ANSCA, it’s important to recognize how Julie’s leadership has advanced Alaska Natives and helped them to succeed in the global economy, while also maintaining their ability to preserve their culture and traditions.”
The virtual award ceremony will be held Nov. 4 from 6-8 p.m. AKDT, and will feature special guests, a remembrance of leaders and public servants, and a celebration of our honorees including a look back at their contributions to Alaska. Tickets can be purchased online.
Shareholders and employees are critical in achieving our vision to advance the Chugach culture and community forever