The Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska held its 74th annual Tribal Assembly from April 15 to 18 at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Juneau. Approximately 117 delegates from Southeast Alaska, San Francisco, Seattle and Anchorage joined President William E. Martin, President Emeritus Edward K. Thomas, Tribal Host Dr. Walter A. Soboleff Sr. and Tribal Hostess Dr. Delores E. Churchill to conduct tribal business.
During the Assembly, management provided program reports, the delegation elected Charlene Wolfe of Craig as Tribal Judge, and Marian Lauth of Seattle as Delegate/Citizen of the Year. There were 49 resolutions submitted addressing issues such as government-to-government relations, child welfare, energy solutions, and subsistence rights.
Some of the Assembly's highlights included speeches from the tribal host and hostess, outgoing Youth Representative Ralph Wolfe, representatives from the University of Alaska Southeast Wooch.een student club and Sen. Albert Kookesh, who provided the keynote during the welcome dinner.
Other highlights were a presentation from the Southeast Alaska Native Veterans, which offered appreciation to Mayor Bruce Botelho for working with the veterans on the renaming of Whittier Street to Warrior Street. In addition, the veterans presented medals to mothers of soldiers to acknowledge them - for in their hearts they went through the same stresses as their sons.
Also, First Alaskans Institute and the Alaska Native Policy Center provided an open discussion focusing on the impact statehood has had and continues to have on Alaska Natives.
"This Assembly initiated a lot of lively discussion and proved to be very productive. The Tribe will continue to focus on finding energy solutions, advocating on behalf of child welfare issues, expanding roads, rebuilding our trust fund, and working cooperatively with Sealaska to increase our economic activity and bring enhanced employment opportunities to Southeast Alaska," said President Martin.
Central Council is the governing body for more than 26,000 tribal citizens, most of whom live in Southeast Alaska. The council, which has a government-to-government relationship with the United States, manages programs in energy, roads and transportation, economic development, employment and training, children and family services, and Native lands and resources, among others.