AFN convention to look at future of Alaska villages

This year's theme is "Village Survival"

Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010

The Alaska Federation of Natives announced Wednesday that this year's convention, to be held in October in Fairbanks, will focus on "Village Survival" as this year's theme.

The convention will have a special emphasis on exploring education, movement of peoples, sustainable economies and contributing to the country's economic recovery, said Julie Kitka, AFN executive director.

Kitka said the group was excited to be addressing the issues in this year's theme.

"It's about life, progress, and taking bold steps to preserve and grow our communities and traditions," she said.

Co-chair of AFN is Angoon's Albert Kookesh, chairman of the Juneau-based Sealaska Corp. and a state senator representing rural Southeast and Interior villages.

The convention will be held Oct. 21-23, at Fairbanks' Carlson Center.

The keynote address this year will be presented by Gloria O'Neill, President and CEO of Cook Inlet Tribal Council.

Other highlights of this year's convention include a Trade Fair, "Quyana Night" dance performances, AFN awards for outstanding achievements, and a closing reception and banquet on Oct. 23. AFN is expecting another record year for its popular Native Arts & Crafts Fair, which featured more than 175 booths in 2009.

AFN is the state's largest Native organization and its annual convention is the largest representative annual gathering in the United States of any Native peoples, viewed in over 40 countries via live webstreaming every year, the group said.

The Alaska Federation of Natives was formed in October 1966, when more than 400 Alaska Natives representing 17 organizations gathered for a three-day conference to address Alaska Native aboriginal land rights.

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