AVCP delegates wrapped up their annual convention on Thursday by unanimously passing a resolution to support Representative Don Young’s House Bill 215, the American Indian Empowerment Act.
The bill would allow tribes to transfer land held in trust with the federal government back to the tribes as restricted fee tribal land. This designation would allow the tribe to own the land and to restrict against alienation and taxation.
Other resolutions on land issues and salmon management could not be voted on for lack of a quorum. The resolutions were brought to the floor in the final hours of the convention, when most delegates had already left.
The convention ended with tribal members' awards.
Elder of the Year went to Marie Napoka of Kwethluk, who serves as an elder school mentor and community elder counselor.
Parent of the Year had two recipients: Dora Nicholai of Toksook Bay, a mother of six, and Debby Hartman of Georgetown, who works for the Office of Children's Services and is a single mother to three boys.
The Public Service Award also had two recipients. William Alstrom of Alukanuk has served in the military, on multiple political councils, and on the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association. The other recipient, Robert Nick of Nunapitchuk, has served on boards for the Lower Kuskokwim School District, Nunapitchuk Limited, and AVCP Regional Housing Authority.
Lastly, the Healing Hands Award went to the Director of the Calricaraq program at the Yukon Kuksokwim Health Corporation, Rose Domnick. The behavioral health program based in Yup’ik cultural traditions and values won a 2016 Honoring Nations Award from the Kennedy School at Harvard University.
Each recipient received a plaque, and their names will be forwarded to the Alaska Federation of Natives as nominations for their state-wide award ceremony at the October convention.