Juneau, AK (October 2, 2020) – The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s (Tlingit & Haida) 85th Annual Tribal Assembly was called to order virtually via Zoom on October 1, 2020. Over 100 Delegates from Southeast Alaska, Anchorage, California, Washington and beyond gathered to legislate for and govern, conduct and manage the affairs and property of the Tribe.
In order to conduct business virtually and to assist in setting the policy of the Tribe during Tribal Assembly or related functions between sessions, Delegates adopted proposed amendments to the Standing Rules of Order.
“Even during a pandemic, it’s important that Tlingit & Haida continue to operate and demonstrate our governance,” shared President Richard (Chalyee Éesh) Peterson. “While we may not have been able to gather in person, we have proven our resilience and adaptability to using technology available to carry on. Our Delegates came together and approved budgets, resolutions and elected our officials just as we’ve done for 85 years.”
The Tribal Assembly was webcast live on Tlingit & Haida’s Facebook page and commenced with a moment of silence to honor the passing of tribal citizen David Leask who served many years as a Delegate, Executive Council member, chair of the Enrollment Committee and Parliamentarian for Tribal Assembly. This was followed by an introduction of the Tribal Host William E. Martin and Tribal Hostess Corrine Garza who were both chosen for the honorary positions for their many years of contributions and dedicated service to their community and the Tribe.
The theme for the one-day assembly was “Our People, Our Land, Our Purpose” and resonated in the 25 resolutions brought forth by Tlingit & Haida Community Councils and Delegates. A total of 25 resolutions were submitted by Delegates and Tlingit & Haida Community Councils addressing support for congressional legislation, transboundary mining and rivers, marine highway transportation funding issues, public health care systems and data, climate change, and other important matters – 13 resolutions were adopted under the consent calendar and 12 were deferred to the Executive Council for consideration at their next regularly scheduled meeting.
During the State of the Tribe Address, President Peterson discussed the Tribe’s continued work toward better serving tribal citizens, strengthening our sovereignty and improving the economic condition of Tlingit & Haida through business and economic development. In the past three years, Tlingit & Haida has established four new social enterprises (Sacred Grounds Café, Smokehouse Catering, Sacred Shine Auto Detailing, and Little Eagles and Ravens Nest [LEARN] Child Care) to provide employment and training opportunities to tribal citizens in partnership with Tribe’s 477 programs. The unrestricted funds generated through these businesses, along with the government contracting work of Tlingit Haida Tribal Business Corporation and its subsidiaries, will strengthen the Tribe’s economic sovereignty and ability to expand services to all tribal citizens residing outside of Southeast Alaska. President Peterson also reported out on the Tribe’s newest business, Southeast General Contractors and the 86-acre Kowee subdivision to provide vocational training opportunities, construction services and affordable housing to tribal citizens.
Reports were also heard from Tlingit & Haida’s Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Development Officer, Tlingit Haida Tribal Business Corporation, outgoing Emerging Leader and standing committees (Audit, Finance, Judiciary and Enrollment).
Elections were held for President, Vice Presidents (VP), Chief Justice, Emerging Leader, and Delegate/Citizen of the Year. President Richard Peterson was re-elected to another two-year term. Catherine Edwards (1st VP), Will Micklin (2nd VP), Rob Sanderson Jr. (3rd VP) and Ralph Wolfe (6th VP) were all re-elected to the Executive Council while Tasha Hotch (4th VP) and Delbert Kadake (5th VP) were newly elected. Other election results: Lisa Lang was unanimously elected to serve a four-year term as Chief Justice, Simon Friday was elected as the 2020-2021 Emerging Leader and Cindy Leask was elected as Delegate/Citizen of the Year.
This year’s Large and Small Community Councils of the year went to: Anchorage for Large Community Council of the Year and San Francisco for Small Community Council of the Year.
“We are proud to have hosted our first virtual Tribal Assembly,” shared Tribal Assembly Lead Coordinator Helene Bennett. “We experienced some obstacles, however, Delegates and staff maneuvered through them with grace and patience. We all learned a great deal to make improvements should we need to host another virtual Tribal Assembly. Congratulations to our Tlingit & Haida elected officials!”
Office of the President - Communications
Raeanne Holmes, Communications Coordinator