ANCHORAGE - First Alaskans Institute named Liz Cheney, a Tlingit and Haida from Kake and a Juneau-Douglas High School graduate, as director of the Alaska Native Policy Center. Cheney will lead the development and operation of the policy center - a Native "think tank," research information center and catalyst of public dialogue.
In her new position, Cheney will be responsible for conducting a diverse range of activities for the policy center. She will foster the creation, distribution and application of high-quality research and analysis of issues important to Alaska Natives. Cheney also will identify and promote opportunities to advance, link and disseminate research relevant to the institute's mission and the concept of "Native minds shaping our future" through such tools as internships and fellowships. Additionally, she will work to identify and cultivate relationships that advance the mission of the organization and represent the policy center and the institute in various capacities.
She served as director of the Legal Department at Cheyenne River Housing Authority before moving to Anchorage, where she worked as the policy analyst and planner for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, working on behalf of the Alaska Native Health Board.
On her Tlingit side, Cheney is Raven Kaach.adi, Fresh Water-marked Sockeye Salmon. On her Haida side she is Eagle Tiits Gitee Nei, Hummingbird.
The major theme of her education and work experience has been the continued integration of Native values, life ways and traditional knowledge into tribal governments, tribal organizations and relationships with other governments and organizations to affect a policy landscape that works with Alaska Natives to improve their lives.
Cheney, who grew up in Kake and Juneau, is a Kake Tribal Corp. shareholder through gifting and a Sealalaska shareholder through gifting and the new inclusion of after-borns.
Cheney said she was blessed to spend a lot of time with her Naanii (grandmother) Mona Jackson and has been writing her life story in her free time. Cheney also attended the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is a member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood Kake Camp 10 and the Keex Kwaan Dancers. And though she lives in Anchorage, her heart is always at home with her family and people.