The Native Village of Afognak is a federally recognized tribe.
A tribal council of seven members, elected by our membership, is our official governing body. The council meets regularly to exercise the functions of self-governance, to manage and protect cultural resources, to manage and protect our land resources, to reinvigorate Alutiiq identity and social structure, and to heal divisions among the Alutiiq people.
The Tribal Council has seven seats, each with three-year terms. Terms are staggered so that two seats (three seats every third year) are up for election each year.
- Loretta Nelson, Chairman, Term Expires 2019
- Meagan Christiansen, Vice Chairman, Term Expires 2017
- Natasha Hayden, Secretary Term Expires 2017
- Loren Anderson, Term Expires 2019
- Jim Dunham, Term Expires 2018
- Ken Nelson, Jr., Term Expires 2017
- Malia Villegas, Term Expires 2018
As part of its strategic planning, the council has formulated the following goals to guide its actions.
- Pride: Encourage a sense of Alutiiq identity by remembering our history and encouraging the ongoing practice of Alutiiq values.
- Unity: Work with other local tribal councils and intertribal organizations to heal divisions among Alutiiq peoples and promote a unified Native presence and identity.
- Public Policy: Create an Alutiiq presence locally, regionally, and nationally that represents and advocates for the Alutiiq community on boards, assemblies, and councils.
- Cultural Continuity: Promote programs that teach a subsistence lifestyle, protect our archeological resources, support the ongoing practice of Alutiiq arts and crafts, and provide for our Elders.
- Land and Resource Management: Implement a resource management plan that protects our natural resources and provides for tribal ownership of Native lands.
In 2002, our tribal council adopted a new constitution and reorganized itself under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
Old Afognak Village Data Recovery Program: Begun in 1998 with funds from a BIA grant, this program preserves and communicates the history and cultural heritage of old Afognak village. Recorded interviews with Elders, a study of the prehistoric and historic data unearthed at Dig Afognak archaeological site, and cultural intensives, such as Elders Camp, Alutiiq Youth Dance Camp, and the Native Ways of Knowing Camp on Afognak Island, help us rediscover and keep our traditions alive.
Dig Afognak: In keeping with our tribal mission to protect and develop our Alutiiq culture, we offer four one-week long cultural immersion camps for youth ages 9-14. Dig Afognak offers many opportunities to participate in cultural activities, share traditional stories, crafts, songs, and dances with Elders, teachers, and many participants.
Red Cedar of Afognak: A Driftwood Journey Children’s Book and Curriculum: Written with cultural insight by Native Village of Afognak tribal member Alisha Drabek and dendrologist Karen Adams, and beautifully illustrated with original water colors by Gloria Selby, also a Native Village of Afognak tribal member, this children’s book is a great educational tool. Developed with funding from the Administration for Native Americans, it teaches about Alutiiq history, language and culture, and introduces children to the role of the environment in Alutiiq culture. We also have developed a corresponding curriculum to be used by the Kodiak Island Borough School District and other school districts in the state.
Uswillraraat Qipayaat - After School Program: Since 2006, NVA has been offering an after school opportunity for youth ages 7-10 to learn the Alutiiq Language and participate in cultural activities. Each winter we host two sessions, one starts in September and the second starts in February. For more information contact Denise Malutin, Cultural Programs Coordinator.