Board Chair Letter | 2019 Annual Report

Sealaska published the 2019 Annual Report on May 1, 2020. Shareholders can view at We are sharing excerpts from the document.

Sealaska Board Chair Joe Nelson

Sealaska leaders created the Sealaska Heritage Foundation in 1980 after hearing from a cross-section of Elders at a gathering held in Sitka. The Elders spoke of their hands growing weary as they clutched on to our culture.
Forty years later, the Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) is stronger
than ever, but the team at SHI is not “saving” our culture. That is the responsibility of each of us. We are grateful to all of the people who are passing our precious languages and ancient worldview on to our children. But being grateful is not enough. We all need to do a little more to relieve those weary hands.
At Sealaska, our ancient values are helping to drive financial success. This effort will only become “sustainable” when everyone is able to bring their true selves to work every day.
Our Native identities are a huge part of the value we bring to the office. We cannot continue trying to fit a Western mold. Our ingenuity is ancient. It is enduring. It is necessary in this world that desperately needs to find a balance.
Much of that ingenuity is contained in our indigenous languages. Sealaska recently established a $10 million Language Revitalization Fund. That fund will support critical work, but it will not “save” our languages. Only you can do that.
Over the next year, Sealaska and our affiliated nonprofits, Sealaska Heritage Institute and Spruce Root, will develop a 100-year plan. This plan is not going to “save” our cultures, nor will it guarantee that we continue on this tremendous growth in profitability forever. This plan will lay a solid foundation for future generations who are ready to relieve weary hands.
To be clear on the metaphor, this is not a baton hand-off in a track race. This is all of us pulling together in a canoe. We are on this journey together, for the long haul.


Sealaska achieved another year of record financial performance with $77.8M in net income and $700M in total revenues. Sealaska’s 2019 revenue of $700M is the largest in Sealaska’s history. Increasing net income leads to increasing shareholder distributions. Operations and investments are the primary sources of Sealaska’s gross revenue. This is the greatest net income the corporation has ever achieved. Every operating business delivered significant year-over-year growth. Sealaska businesses are building a solid base for the future. This allows for investments in critical community and shareholder programs. Flip through Sealaska’s story.