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As Sealaska Corp. distributes $4.7 million in dividends to shareholders today, Florence "Flo" Kenney will use hers to buy a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
"A few years ago, I read in National Enquirer that Hollywood stars gave each other Dyson vacuum cleaners for Christmas gifts," said Kenney, 70. "I want one for myself. The Dyson vacuum cleaner is bright, yellow and beautiful."
Kenney is one of Sealaska's 17,500 shareholders who will receive dividends today. The average urban and at-large Sealaska shareholder who has 100 shares will receive $300. Sealaska is the regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska.
Sealaska's dividends come from the corporation's permanent fund and revenue from natural resources, known as 7(j) funds. The corporation's board of directors evaluate the fund every spring and fall. If they approve distributing dividends, the dividends are issued in April and December.
This winter, all shareholders will receive $1.23 per share from earnings of the corporation's permanent fund, said Sealaska Communication Director Todd Antioquia. Urban and at-large shareholders will receive $1.77 from the 7(j) payment.
The 7(j) provision of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act requires the 12 Alaska-based regional Native corporations to share revenues from developing natural resources. Village corporations will receive the money and most of them will redistribute the money to their members.
The corporation's spring dividend was about $4.7 million. Shareholders got $2 per share from the permanent fund and $1 per share from the 7(j) payment.
Kenney, who has been a Sealaska shareholder since 1971, said she is pleased with the company's financial management. Once she receives the dividend money, she will set off to Fred Meyer to purchase her new vacuum cleaner.
"I am taking care of my grandson's dog, Chino. I don't want dog hair on my dark old-lady clothes anymore," Kenney said. "The vacuum cleaner is something I will enjoy for the rest of my life."
I-Chun Che can be reached at email@example.com.