The Sealaska Board of Directors met on April 7 and 8 to review financial statements and declare a spring distribution to shareholders. Following a thorough review, the board of directors approved the consolidated 2021 financial statements, in addition to the ANCSA Section 7(i) report for the period ending December 31, 2021. Sealaska will publish the audited financials in early May. The spring 2022 distribution—which totals $21.3 million—was also approved by the board and will be issued to shareholders on April 22.
Last week’s board and committee meetings were hosted via a hybrid model, with board members appearing both virtually and in-person—one of the first times the group has met in person since the beginning of the pandemic. Sealaska’s board of directors approved a proposal to host in-person community meetings in Seattle (North and South), Anchorage and Juneau in May, pandemic circumstances permitting. Business information and other elements of the in-person presentations will be provided virtually for shareholders who are unable to attend in person. More information about the upcoming meetings will be forthcoming via MySealaska.com, printed mail materials and email announcements.
“We’re constantly adapting how we hold conversations and get information to our community,” said Sealaska director Barbara ‘Wáahlaal Gíidaak Blake. “I’m so thankful for the good hearts and minds that sit on our board who continue to put our people first when making decisions. We continue to strengthen and grow areas that have been identified by our communities as a priority.”
Ensuring access to monumental logs for carving projects is at the top of that list. During the April board meeting, Sealaska approved two log donation requests: one for the city of Saxman and one by Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) for the Kootéeyaa Deiyí (Totem Pole Trail) in downtown Juneau. Saxman’s totem project will consist of three totem poles to be completed by Tlingit artist Nathan Jackson, while the five logs requested by SHI will be carved to help develop the totem trail that will eventually span the downtown Juneau waterfront. Many of the totem poles for the SHI project will be carved in our traditional rural communities, spreading the economic and cultural impact of the project.
Sealaska’s board of directors also approved $558,000 in funding for language-preservation programs across Southeast. The seven grants awarded will go toward invigorating all three of Southeast Alaska’s Indigenous languages: Lingít (Tlingit), X̱aad Kíl (Haida) and Sm’algyax (Tsimshian). All grant recipients were vetted to ensure alignment with Sealaska’s objectives: helping develop more advanced speakers of the region’s three Indigenous languages. Sealaska created the $10 million language fund that provides the annual funding of around $500,000, based on our shareholder voice and priority of revitalizing our indigenous languages.
“To our language champions and healers, we cannot thank you enough for pouring your heart and soul into ensuring the ancestral gift of our languages lives on,” said Liz La quen náay Medicine Crow. “It is an honor and our responsibility through this language fund to support these endeavors, organizations and all the people who participate in these critical language programs and opportunities.”
The next meeting of the board of directors will be held on Friday, June 24 – one day before the 2022 annual meeting that will take place in Juneau on Saturday, June 25. The annual meeting is planned to be an in-person event with live streaming for shareholders who cannot attend in person.