The Association of Village Council Presidents honored the memory of two former Executive Board members at its annual convention this week. Both men, David O. David of Kwigilingok and Moses P. Paukan Senior of St. Mary’s, passed away during the last year.
Current AVCP Chairman Raymond Watson said that both men mentored him, instructing him in teachings from the elders.
“So it’s a very strong heritage and cultural foundation [from which] both of these gentlemen voiced their opinions," said Watson. "They understood the needs.”
Moses Paukan Sr. received two additional honors: a memoriam from the Alaska State Legislature, where he served in the late 1960s, and a Quyana plaque from AVCP Regional Housing Authority for his service on their Commission.
Paukan also served as one of St. Mary's first City Council members and spent multiple terms as Mayor. He sat on many boards, including the St. Mary’s Native Corporation, the Algaaciq tribal government, as well as his AVCP service. Paukan ran his own businesses, which spanned from grocery stores, to a taxi service, to a pool hall. In addition, he worked as the local power plant operator for 47 years.
Mark Charlie, CEO of AVCP Regional Housing Authority, called Paukan a “true public servant.”
“He played a very big role in starting this Housing Authority, and with his passing we wanted to honor and also to thank his family for allowing him to be with us and serve his people,” said Charlie.
Paukan’s duties often took him away from his wife and eight children. His son, Moses Paukan Junior, said that his father's absence was made easier by knowing that he was doing important work for Western Alaska.
“But most of the time, when he was home," said his son, "he was all about family. Taking care of us, and after we grew up, got married, he was still the head of the family, so his loss is felt very much.”
Paukan’s wife and children were there to accept the honors on his behalf.