Sealaska published a special edition Shareholder Newsletter. The following was included.
I would like to welcome our new descendant shareholders to Sealaska and thank all of those who supported removing the blood quantum requirement for descendant stock. It is so important for all our people, no matter their blood quantum, to have a connection to our traditional homelands through ownership in our Alaska Native corporation.
I didn’t learn a lot about Alaska Native corporations or ANCSA (the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act) in high school, even though I grew up in Juneau. Our Alaska history class lumped it in with all things tribal and only gave it a day or two in class. All I really knew was Sealaska Corporation was the holder of our traditional lands and that you get a dividend.
I didn’t start learning and paying attention to Sealaska until I turned 17, right before I was able to apply for Descendant stock. That’s because my mom pushed me to look at who was running for the board and decide who I think would be a good director. This was in 2016- the same year I was able to vote in my first presidential election.
After learning more about what Sealaska is doing, I decided to apply for the Board Youth Advisor (BYA) position. I knew I wanted to pursue a field where I could help serve our people and the BYA was the perfect next step, along with getting a master’s degree or law degree. I also wanted to learn more about how Sealaska works.
What I’ve learned is that Sealaska does a lot! It can feel a little overwhelming for new shareholders. Please keep an eye on your inbox for a series of new-shareholder orientation emails. It will provide an overview of the company, your benefits, opportunities and your responsibilities as a shareholder.
You’ll also hear from Sealaska before your first distribution, first election, important dates and deadlines for internships, scholarships and more.
Sealaska is a unique company where, as shareholders, we have a connection to the ownership of our Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian ancestral homelands. Our input helps inform Sealaska priorities while staying true to our traditional values. We are not only lucky to have you as a shareholder but are also stronger because of you.
Deikeenaak’w Connor Ulmer
Board Youth Advisor