Liz Medicine Crow

Liz Medicine Crow

President & CEO, First Alaskans Institute

Kake, AK

“With profound gratitude for our Ancestors, I will continue to find ways to bring our peoples 10,000+ years of best practices into the work we do for our communities, homelands, our shareholders, no matter where they live, and our corporation.  Being connected to who we are and ensuring there are rich cultural, language, and ways of life experiences and connection to our Tribes for our shareholders is critical to the well-being of our peoples and our corporation.”

La quen náay Liz Medicine Crow is both Haida and Tlingit from Kéex’ Kwáan, the Mouth of the Dawn People.  On her Tlingit side, she is Raven Kaach.ádi, Fresh Water-marked Sockeye Salmon, from the Kutís’ Hít. She is the grandchild of the Tsaagweidí, the Killerwhale People from the House that Anchors the Village, and holds the Tsaagweidí, Dakl’aweidí, Wooshkeetaan, and Shangukeidí as direct opposites. As a Haida, she comes from Masset, Haida Gwaii then Hydaburg and finally Kake. She is an Eagle Tíits G’itanée, Hummingbird. Her grandfather was K’anaheik Thomas Jackson Sr. of Kake, her grandmother was Neunkwiigeigitkíiaaneuns Mona (Ingram/Frank) Jackson. K’anaheik was the son of Bessie (Sumdum) and Scotty Jackson, and was raised by his uncle/father Johnny C. Jackson. Neunkwiigeigitkíiaaneuns was the daughter of Sdaahlk’awáas Lucy (Jones) and Guskin Benjamin Ingram of the Yahgu ‘laanaas clan of Masset, and after her father passed her mother remarried Síigaay Luke Frank, also of the Yahgu ‘laanaas of Hydaburg who became Mona’s second father.  La quen náay’s parents are Bill and Sdaahlk’awáas Della Cheney, the youngest daughter of Neunkwiigeigitkíiaaneuns and K’anaheik. Bill is the son of Lillian and Charles Cheney of North Dakota and Montana, whose families immigrated to the US from northern European countries. Sdaahlk’awáas and Bill make their home in both Kake and Juneau.  Kat Saas is Liz’s Lingit name and La quen náay is her Xaad kil (Haida) name.  Her home is and always will be in Kake and her work is based out of Anchorage and across Alaska.

La quen náay serves as the President/CEO of First Alaskans Institute, having formerly served as the organization’s Vice President and before that as the Director of the Alaska Native Policy Center.  She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Spruce Root, Philanthropy Northwest, Perseverance Theater, ACLU- Alaska, Vision Maker Media, and Get Out the Native Vote (GOTNV). Her current affiliations include: US Civil Rights Commission – Alaska Advisory Committee; University of Alaska System Alaska Native Recruitment & Success Initiative Steering Committee; Chair, Elections Policy Working Group, Alaska Lt. Governor’s Office/Division of Elections; Native Peoples Action Steering Committee; Philanthropy Northwest Nominations & Governance Committee; University of Alaska Strategic Planning Groups – Alignment and DEI; AFN Climate Change Task Force; AFN Council for the Advancement of Alaska Natives (CAAN); Co-Chair, Alaska Resilience Initiative Steering Committee; Anchorage Vaccine Advisory Committee; US Truth, Racial Healing, & Transformation Coalition; Mariculture Task Force Alaska Native Advisory Committee; Fort Lewis College’s President’s Tribal Advisory Committee; Kake Tribal Corporation shareholder; Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp #10, Kake; Kéex’ Kwáan Dancers. She is on a learning journey with both her Xaad kil and Lingit languages.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts (BFA Equivalency) from Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO; Juris Doctorate (JD) and a Certificate of Indian Law, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Tempe, AZ.