“When Natives are fighting each other, someone else is winning” was one sentiment shared during the Being Good Relatives Gathering held April 16-18, 2019 at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall in Juneau, Alaska.
First Alaskans Institute facilitated the meeting which brought together leadership from Southeast Alaska tribes and corporations to identify
barriers and opportunities
with the ultimate goal of
paving a path forward in unity.
The idea to provide smaller regional gatherings stemmed from a statewide Being Good Relatives Gathering held in Anchorage, Alaska last November where tribal and corporate leaders identified shared areas of opportunity and a desire to continue working together on issues.
Tlingit & Haida President Richard
Peterson and 3rd Vice President Will
(Yaan Yaan Eesh)
Micklin participated in the gathering along with representatives from Chilkat Indian Village, Chilkoot Indian Association, Goldbelt, Inc., Haida Corporation, Hoonah Indian Association, Huna Totem, Kake Tribal Corporation, Kavilco, Inc., Kootznoowoo, Inc., Organized Village of Kake, Organized Village of Kasaan, Sealaska, and Yakutat Tlingit Tribe.
“This gathering was long overdue and I couldn’t be more proud of the leaders who came together to make this happen,” shared President Peterson. “One of our greatest tribal values is to hold each other up and I feel that we’re really learning to incorporate that value into our organizations, not only in the ways we treat our citizens and shareholders, but in how we treat one another as well. I’m confident that this is just the beginning – a new beginning – and I hope to see even more tribes and corporations at our future gatherings.”
“As modern Native people tied to many different organizations, we often hear calls for
and references to us all being
,” said Sealaska Chair Joe Nelson. “Unfortunately, we do not always take care of ourselves and each other the way we should. Occasionally, we see acts of unity. This effort is intended to normalize positive behaviors because, collectively and individually, we are responsible for our own health and happiness. When we are listening to our ancestors, we are looking out for each other. When we are looking out for each other, we cannot lose.”
The next gathering is tentatively scheduled for late summer before the annual Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention.