Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
Alaska Natives are gathering in Fairbanks this week for the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention. Subsistence and economic issues are taking center stage at this year’s gathering, with the theme of Village Survival resounding throughout the sessions.
Legislators of the present and the past will be on hand to speak. AFN Chair Albert Kookesh calls this year’s session to order on Thursday morning. Keynote addresses are expected from Senator Lisa Murkowski, former state Senator Georgiana Lincoln, Congressman Don Young Governor Sean Parnell and of course, AFN President Julie Kitka, to name a few.
The annual convention sets policy goals for Alaska Natives, who are facing extreme economic struggles due to high fuel prices, low employment in villages and a fast changing environment.
How to best use federal policy and federal programs to support village economies are among the topics to be explored at this year’s meeting.
The gathering also provides an opportunity for Alaska Native Youth and Elders to meet on social and cultural issues prior to the AFN formal sessions which start Oct. 21. The convention runs through Saturday.
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