Tribes get larger voice at AFN with bylaw change

by Angela Denning-Barnes on March 1, 2013

The Alaska Federation of Natives has changed its bylaws to give tribes more votes during conventions. The move separates tribal votes from tribal corporation votes. It gives tribes their own class of membership and will give tribes in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta 516 more votes.

In the past, tribes were registered along with Village Corporations so Tribes and Village Corporations often shared membership dues and split convention votes. Now, voting includes four categories: regional corporations, the regional non-profit Native associations, village corporations, and tribes.

Y-K Delta votes jump from 517 to 1,033. Board member Ana Hoffman is a Village Representative from the Calista/AVCP Region.

“It does increase the village impact of the vote at the AFN convention,” Hoffman said. “So, the village and tribal presence really has increased a lot.”

AFN’s 36-member board of directors accepted the proposed change at their meeting last month.

Another change they made broadens the AFN board composition to include tribal members. In the past, each region had three board members: one from its regional corporation, one from its regional non-profit, and one from its village corporations. Now, the village corporation seat is a village representative seat and is open to all eligible tribal members as well as village corporations.

These changes will affect the next AFN convention which happens in October in Fairbanks.

“The area regional villages should have a very significant impact in the convention voting,” said Hoffman.

Another bylaw change adopted by the Board ratifies the Co-Chair system of leadership which has been in practice for many years. The bylaw amendments keep the current Co-Chair structure and start new staggered two year terms. The staggered two year terms will begin at this fall’s convention with the highest vote getter receiving the first two year term and the next highest vote getter serving an initial single year. There are no Co-Chair term limits.

The next AFN Board meeting will be held on May 9th in Kotzebue.

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