Providing current news on Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska's
government, administrative, and program activities.
Tlingit & Haida eNews 1.15.21
News in this Edition...
  • Cheryl Demmert Fairbanks Appointed as Associate Justice
  • Items Donated by Private Collectors
  • President Peterson Provides Testimony on Reorganization of Alaska Department of Health & Social Services
Upcoming Virtual Events
  • Next Lunchtime Chat (Topic: Tribal Court)
  • Save the Date: 2021 Virtual Native Issues Forum Series
Cheryl Demmert Fairbanks Appointed as Associate Justice
Tlingit & Haida welcomes Cheryl Demmert Fairbanks, Esq. as the newly appointed Associate Justice for Tribal Court!

As an Associate Justice, Fairbanks will serve on Tlingit & Haida's Supreme Court and hear all appeals of Trial Court or subordinate Court decisions. In appeals brought before it, the Supreme Court shall determine whether the Court’s factual findings are supported by substantial evidence and whether its conclusions are in accordance with the law.

"I am most challenged and honored to serve as a Justice for our Court," Fairbanks said. "I truly believe that sovereignty begins at home."  

Fairbanks is Tlingit-Tsimpshian and was born in Ketchikan, Alaska. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fort Lewis College in 1969 and her Juris Doctorate in 1987 from the University of New Mexico.

Fairbanks currently works in the area of Indian law as an Attorney and Tribal Court of Appeals Justice, and serves as the Senior Policy Advisor for the University of New Mexico (UNM), Native American Budget and Policy Institute. Her legal practice and consultation services concentrate on tribal-state relations, personnel, tribal courts, peacemaking and family conferencing, mediation, family, school, education, and indigenous law.

Fairbanks previously served as a visiting Professor of Law at the UNM’s Southwest Indian Law Clinic and Lewis & Clark College, and also worked as a Senior Policy Analyst with the New Mexico Office of Indian Affairs. As Senior Policy Analyst, she was instrumental in establishing the Indian Child Welfare Desk, New Mexico Office of Indian Tourism, UNM's Indian Law Clinic, and the passage of the New Mexico Indian Arts and Crafts Act.
Items Donated by Private Collectors
Tlingit & Haida recently received two donations from private collectors.

The Xhoots S’ix’, Bear Bowl (pictured on the right) was donated by a private collector in Dorchester, MA and is believed to have been made around 1900 by August Bean (Kh’alyaan Éesh, Ketxhút’ch) of the Kaagwaantaan clan or by his brother-in-law Rudolf Walton (Kaawóotk’, Áataatseen) of the Kiks.ádi clan. The two were well-known carvers who made objects not only for clan use but also for the tourist trade. It is believed the bowl was made for the tourist trade and will eventually be exhibited with other objects in the permanent collection of Tlingit & Haida.

Another item was donated by a private collector in Scottsdale, AZ, called S’aakh s’eit, a bone necklace portion (not pictured). The amulet measures 4-1/2” x 2-1/8” x 1/4” and the anthropomorphic figure carved into the bone remains unidentified. Since objects like these were buried with the íxht’ (shaman), the only way it could have been collected was to remove it from a gravesite. Out of respect for the relic, the object will not be on exhibit, but will be kept in the permanent collection of Tlingit & Haida.

Although private donations are not the focus of the Tribe's Cultural Resources program, it is always a good feeling to see items returned to their homeland.
President Peterson Provides Testimony on Reorganization of Alaska Department of Health & Social Services
On January 13, 2021, President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson provided testimony to the Alaska State Legislature's House Health and Social Services Committee concerning the proposed bifurcation of the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS).

Governor Mike Dunleavy first announced the reorganization on December 22, 2020, citing the DHSS has grown too large as a single department. Overall, health care workers, social service organizations and tribal governments believe the split would negatively impact Alaskan citizens.

During his testimony, President Peterson expressed Tlingit & Haida's concerns that the split would make it more difficult to provide the services needed to provide adequate child welfare programs, particularly considering that the majority of children under state care are Alaska Native.

“It is hard to discuss the bifurcation of DHSS without talking about negative impacts,” said President Peterson during testimony.

Another area of concern is that the state had not contacted Tlingit & Haida or other Alaska tribes to consult in a true government-to-government relationship.

“We met with Commissioner Crum as part of the working group last week,” said President Peterson. “You know, coming to the table and telling us a decision that has already been made really isn’t consultation. It doesn’t fit government-to-government consultation at all.”

Tlingit & Haida encourages our tribal citizens to stay informed on all actions taking place during the legislative session and engage with their elected representatives.
Upcoming Virtual Events
Next Lunchtime Chat (Topic: Tribal Court)
Date: Thursday, January 21, 2021
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Location: Facebook

Please join us on Facebook January 21st for a Lunchtime Chat to hear from Tlingit & Haida's Tribal Court!

The weekly chats are hosted by President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson on Tlingit & Haida’s Facebook page as an opportunity to share information with tribal citizens on Tlingit & Haida’s recent and upcoming activities, programs and services. Each chat includes a Q&A period and closes with a random door prize drawing.
Save the Date: Native Issues Forum Series
Dates: Bi-Weekly on Thursdays (January 28 - April 8, 2021)
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Location: Facebook

Tlingit & Haida is pleased to host the 2021 Native Issues Forum series! The forums will be held virtually via Facebook Live over the lunch hour and will feature reports and presentations from legislators and other special guests covering a wide range of topics important to our communities.
 Our Mission
“Preserve our sovereignty, enhance our economic and cultural resources, and promote
self-sufficiency and self-governance for our citizens.”