Equal voting rights versus subsistence

Posted: Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This letter is a response to the "Kookesh: Restore Native Rights" article published Sunday in the Juneau Empire.

As an owner of Sealaska Corp., this shareholder does not yet endorse paying for Sen. Al Kookesh's "class action" efforts for subsistence rights. Kookesh, the Sealaska chairman, has not been there when fellow shareholders for years have been receiving hunting and fishing citations. And Kookesh has specifically never supported equal voting rights in corporate director elections.

His support of equal voting-rights for Alaska Natives would be a good investment in his quest for support of his "sockeye fish ticket" issue. For 37 years, Native corporation voting regulations have wrongly affected the interest of owners. But state regulations statutorily can be addressed for change. Kookesh can make a difference as a standing legislator, if he wants to. I want to support the subsistence-rights cause.

First, however, Alaska Native shareholders want to encourage Kookesh to successfully lead the Bush caucus and champion equal voting-rights in director-elections for all ANSCA corporate shareholders.

Kookesh, also known as co-chair of Alaska Federation of Natives, will have limited support from Alaska Native interests without equal-rights support.

The greatest gift to each other is equality. Because Kookesh is in the yoke of leadership, it is up to him personally to make a difference. As one shareholder, this is my view of Native leadership. If I had a wish list, it would be for equal voting rights for ANCSA director elections and subsistence rights for all Alaska Natives.

Richard A. Beasley


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