The Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska held their 89th Annual Tribal Assembly in Juneau, drawing a crowd of 118 delegates for the second day of the gathering on April 18. The assembly, themed “Rooted in Tradition, Growing a Sustainable Future,” focused on electing new leadership and envisioning educational advancements.

During the assembly, President Chalyee Éesh Richard Peterson was unanimously re-elected for a sixth two-year term. The election also saw the selection of six vice presidents for the Executive Council, reflecting a diverse representation from different regions.

The positions filled included Jacqueline Pata as the 1st Vice President from Juneau, followed by Clinton E. Cook Sr. from Craig as the 2nd Vice President, and others from locations including Ketchikan, California, Kake, and Sitka.

Keynote speaker Dr. Randie Fong from Kamehameha Schools emphasized the significance of staying connected to cultural roots while fostering a sustainable future. He shared insights into the operations of Kamehameha Schools, which encompass a vast network of educational institutions in Hawaii. Delegates showed keen interest in adopting similar educational models for Tlingit & Haida’s forthcoming education campus.

Dr. Homer Wilkes from the USDA also addressed the assembly, discussing federal efforts under the Biden-Harris administration to integrate traditional ecological knowledge with modern conservation practices. His message underlined the enduring wisdom of nurturing the land as a path to sustainability.

The assembly further included reports on various tribal activities and plans, including updates from the National Congress of American Indians and the Pacific Salmon Commission.

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