Sealaska’s 2020 Vision and Message from Leadership

As Sealaska enters 2020, we will be looking back at another record year in profitability. We will also be looking forward to the next 100 years as we speed toward our 50th anniversary.

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act is by no means perfect or final. The act has been amended many times. It will continue to be amended for technical changes and for substantive changes, like the inclusion of Wrangell, Petersburg, Tenakee, Haines, and Ketchikan.

Our subsistence way of life will be a top policy issue for the foreseeable future, unless we adjust the state constitution to properly acknowledge our traditional rights to the resources in our communities.

As we close the books on 2019, we will be reporting another record year in net profit. As an Alaska Native Corporation, however, net profit is only one measure of our success. More meaningful measures directly tie back to our purpose of strengthening our people, culture and homelands.

In 2019, we established Shareholder Participation Committees as a program to more thoughtfully open up lanes of communication. We have a large and diverse shareholder base. There are shareholders in all 50 states and a slight majority now claiming residence outside of Alaska. The SPCs provide a space for deeper engagement with a nice cross-section of shareholders.

At the tail-end of 2019, we established a Language Revitalization Fund. There is a lot of good work going into restoring our languages, but in order for us to turn the tide of language loss, we need many more of you stepping up to help. Ancient solutions to current challenges are embedded in our traditional languages. Our children are more resilient when they understand who they are. These are your children. You are their connection to their grandparents.

There will be much more reporting on 2019 in the annual report and during the community meeting circuit.  2020 is what I am excited about.

A year ago, we committed to start pulling together under a 100 year plan.  Individually, none of us will be here in 100 years. Collectively, we will be here forever. Collectively, we have always embraced our grandchildren as a core part of our purpose. For many of us, they are the reason for everything.

I understand that colonization has had a significant impact and assimilation is real, but I have an unwavering confidence in our future as Native people forever connected to this place. This is one of the reasons our Annual Meeting will be in Angoon for the first time ever this year. A sense of place matters.

By the end of 2020, we will be publishing a 100 year plan that sets a foundation for future generations of Sealaska, Sealaska Heritage Institute and Spruce Root leaders to stand on. We are all in this together, so let’s get to work.

Kaaxúxgu | Joe Nelson
Board Chair