I applaud Virgil Ward for his well-written letter regarding the gifting of Sealaska shares (Jan. 31). I also believe Sealaska needs new directors who will fairly represent the interests of original shareholders.
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Case in point, during the Seattle shareholders meeting I attended, one of our fellow shareholders asked, if upon passage of the resolution, would she be able to recover shares that she had gifted to one of her children. A very legitimate question from a shareholder seeking clarification, yet the answer from one of our directors was alarming in that the director replied the shareholder would be able to recover her gifted shares. Were it not for an astute vice president of Sealaska immediately correcting the director, this shareholder (and others at the meeting) might have cast ballots as misinformed shareholders.
As it should have been with anyone at that meeting, I wondered at that moment, if some among our directors actually knew the specifics of this resolution or even how Sealaska's stock gifting procedure works.
Ward's points regarding discretionary voting and less than two-thirds majority vote should be a wake-up call to shareholders. We should not accept any changes that allow less than a two-thirds majority vote requirement for adoption of resolutions.
With regards to Ward's point regarding the Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes of Alaska, my daughter is one-eighth Haida and one of the first things that I did for her after she was born, was to enroll her in Tlingit and Haida because I wanted her to identify with her family's Native culture. It didn't matter to me that Tlingit and Haida does not send out dividends to enrollees, what mattered to me was that my daughter belonged to my "Tlingit and Haida" and I was proud to enroll her. Something has been lost in this resolution equation if stocks and dividends have taken center stage. Identification with our Native culture should be that important for all of us, instead of being about who gets what.
I realize that I will never be on the Christmas card list of Sealaska's board of directors, but I am a Sealaska shareholder and I am truly concerned about the potential for negative effects on our corporation if this resolution is passed.