The Sealaska board of directors met for its quarterly committee and board meeting on July 27-28. All Sealaska’s actions and efforts are driven by our mission to strengthen people, culture and traditional homelands and inspired by shareholder voices and priorities — something which is honored and remembered each time the board convenes.
In the most recent shareholder survey, we heard from shareholders that advocating for Native rights is a top priority. Based on this feedback, the board continues to prioritize advocacy and policy-driven campaigns. At the July meeting, directors were provided with an update on key policy priorities, starting with Landless efforts. Over the summer, Alaska’s congressional delegation introduced new Landless bills to the 118th Congress: S. 1889 (introduced by Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan) and H.R. 4748 (Introduced by Rep. Peltola and Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN). Read more here.
“Our Landless representatives have worked for years within our five communities to gain support,” said Director Nicole Hallingstad, who was born and raised in the Landless community of Petersburg and serves as a representative for Alaska Natives Without Land. “We’ve listened. We’ve made adjustments to our land selections. We’ve assured ongoing public recreation access to those lands. It is now far past time to get these bills through Congress.”
Sealaska is an emphatic supporter of the effort, providing funding to Alaska Natives Without Land and advocating for progress with both Alaska and Lower 48 representatives. Nearly one quarter of Sealaska shareholders are Landless. The bills are expected to see hearings and markup after the August recess.
Sealaska continues to monitor opportunities to ensure funding and opportunities for Alaska Native Corporations and Tribes, including those present in the Farm Bill, significant federal legislation that is reauthorized every five years. The Farm Bill includes many vital programs, such as rural housing, community facilities, business, utility development, forestry management programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and various rural development programs.
At the July board meeting, Sealaska’s board received a briefing on inclusions in the upcoming Farm Bill that could serve Alaska Native communities. In July, Sen. Murkowski introduced the Improving Agriculture, Research, Cultivation, Timber, and Indigenous Commodities (ARCTIC) Act, legislation that will strengthen a variety of Farm Bill provisions to better address needs in Alaska.
Another priority for the Sealaska board of directors is continued stewardship of ancestral lands. Sealaska directors continue to advance opportunities for a richer and more meaningful way to connect shareholders to traditional lands, seeking new and innovative ways to put our lands to work for shareholders and communities. The July board meeting offered directors an opportunity to hear an update on Sealaska’s land management efforts.
Sealaska’s board of directors has recently begun hosting quarterly Q&A sessions, created to offer shareholders and directors a chance to connect in a casual online environment. The goal of these virtual sessions is to empower shareholders to ask questions directly to the board and provide directors a chance to hear shareholder voices on the issues that are important to them.
The next Q&A session will be held TODAY, August 8 from noon to 1 p.m. Alaska time. Please join us on MySealaska for an update from your board and a chance to ask questions and hear their answers.