Sealaska Strengthens Alliance with NM Pueblo Tribes on Land Legislation and Develops New Markets for Alaska Native Art
Albuquerque, N.M.- Last week the All Indian Pueblo Council (AIPC) endorsed the finalization of Sealaska’s land legislation. AIPC invited Sealaska to New Mexico and Sealaska reciprocated with an invitation to Celebration 2012 this June in Juneau. “We greatly appreciate the support of AIPC on the finalization of our land entitlement,” said Chris E. McNeil Jr., Sealaska president and CEO. “As the oldest organization in the United States to provide advocacy and support on issues that impact all Native peoples, they understand that nothing has been more harmful to our communities than the unjust appropriation of our lands.”
Members of Sealaska’s board are visiting Albuquerque, New Mexico to continue building relationships with Native organizations and tribes. “As Sealaska works to finalize the land legislation, it’s important to continue building relationships and show members of Congress, like Senator Bingaman from New Mexico, that we have national support on the bill,” said Sealaska Board Chair Albert Kookesh.
While in Albuquerque, Sealaska board members experienced the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow. New Mexico has proven to be a cultural hub where tribal leaders and Native artists from across the nation congregate to display their cultural heritage and strengthen commerce for Native artists. This offers significant potential for the Sealaska Heritage Institute to develop new art markets for tribal member shareholders.
“The tribal nations of New Mexico continue to lead the way for perpetuating and building awareness of their indigenous art forms,” said Dr. Rosita Worl, Sealaska vice chair and president of the Sealaska Heritage Institute. “Like us, they live their values and work to strengthen their culture and communities. As we continue to strengthen our relationship we have learned we can support and lift each other up as Alaska Native and American Indian people.” “Such proactive efforts demonstrate that by taking action and living our Native values, we enhance our ability to provide resources and benefits to our tribal members.”
The Gathering of Nations officials estimate at least 3,000 dancers and drummers participated at this year’s event. This is an exciting opportunity for Sealaska to capture insight on how this large event has grown to such success, and develop collaborative relationships with our tribal peers. Alaska Native leaders from Southeast, Bethel, and Minto participated, as well as two Alaska Natives representing the state in the Miss Indian World Contest.