New AFN Co-Chairs Elected

The annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention wrapped up Saturday in Fairbanks. AFN board co-chairs were elected in the morning.

Ana Hoffman garnered the most votes. Hoffman is the President and CEO of the Bethel Native Corporation. She will serve with Arctic Slope Regional Corporation External Affairs Vice President Tara Sweeney.

In thanking the AFN delegates for their votes, Hoffman noted the significance of the election results.

“I look forward to serving as co-chair with Tara Sweeney,” Hoffman said. “A fellow ANCSA afterborn and the first time AFN has two women co-chairs.”

Sweeney will serve a one-year term and Hoffman will serve for two years.

Resolutions dealing with a wide range of issues from health and safety to land rights and subsistence protection took up the afternoon.

Special recognition resolutions honoring Katie John and Native actor Ray Mala were also passed.


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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 24 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori