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Resolutions passed, incumbents and new directors elected at 51st annual meeting in Sitka  

A majority of Sealaska’s 26,000 shareholders voted to approve two resolutions at the 51st annual meeting of shareholders in Sitka on Saturday. Resolution One, a binding resolution to update outdated language in the corporation’s Articles of Incorporation, passed with, 70.77% of the outstanding voting shares represented at the meeting voted in favor. 61.49% of the outstanding voting shares represented at the meeting were voted in favor of Resolution Two, an advisory vote to gauge shareholder support for decreasing the number of board seats from 13 to 11. More action on Resolution Two may be taken as the board of directors discusses the implications and possible outcomes of the advisory vote. 

This year, five seats on Sealaska’s board were open with four board-endorsed candidates running for election. Incumbents X’ashk’ugé Barbara Cadiente-Nelson, Kaaxúxgu Joe Nelson and Tl’aakahlwaas Vicki Soboleff were reelected by shareholders. The board welcomed new board-endorsed candidate Yáahl Sgwáansang Charles “Chas” Edwardson. Independent candidate Monico Ortiz was also newly elected.  

“Gunalchéesh to the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Shee Atika and the clans and community of Sitka for hosting our annual meeting,” said Board Chair Joe Nelson. “Sealaska is doing amazing work for the betterment of people and the planet. Our continued success requires healthy relationships with smart partners and our shareholders. The world needs all of us, pulling together.”   

Sealaska’s board of directors continues to put this transformational approach into action as they continue to thoughtfully assess the needs of the corporation and any gaps in its organizational structure through Sealaska’s midyear board reorganization process. Through this process, current Board  Chair  Joe Nelson was confirmed by the board to continue in this role, as was Vice Chair Jodi Mitchell.  

“Sealaska’s board of directors is diverse, representing different communities and a wealth of business, cultural and financial experience,” said Vice President of Administration and Outreach Desiree Jackson. “Each has their own unique perspective. They are able to build consensus through strong leadership and a shared understanding of their most important responsibility: representing shareholder voices and priorities and letting those guide our way forward.” 

During the annual meeting, Jackson was joined by Chief Financial Officer Carrie Rorem and Vice President of Regional Business Development Derik Frederiksen in a panel discussion focused on Sealaska’s business and financial performance. Frederiksen, who has a long history with Sealaska, rejoined the leadership team in May and brings with him a fresh approach to investing in Southeast communities.  

“By pursuing international business, we are going where the market is currently most profitable – intentionally fishing new grounds, so to speak, as our ancestors did,” Frederiksen said. “And the purpose with that is to then intentionally reinvest what we earn overseas into in our region, in a way that expands sustainable business opportunities and grows possibility for greater long-term economic prospects for our communities.”  

Saturday’s meeting also marked Deikeenaak’w Connor Ulmer’s last official meeting of his two-year term as a board youth advisor (BYA). Ulmer’s term began in 2022, and in 2023, he worked with the board to implement the policy change which now allows for two board youth advisors to serve side by side.  

2023-2025 BYA Náajeyistláa Breylan Martin will continue in a senior role, serving alongside a new BYA to provide guidance and mentorship.  

As a part of the presentation, Director Cadiente-Nelson, who serves as chair of the Shareholder Relations Committee, announced the new board youth advisor, Aaní Perkins. Perkins currently works as a Lingít language instructor with the Sitka School District and is pursuing a PhD in Linguistics from the University of British Columbia. Also, a graduate of Dartmouth College, she hopes to “create spaces for research and learning that welcome haa yoo x̱ʼatángi (our language); to “help create the world my grandfather’s generation never had.”  

Following Sealaska tradition, Board Chair Joe Nelson invited the new BYA to close out the meeting with a message: 
“It is an honor to be here with you and listen to each of you today. I heard a lot about all of our languages and how imporant they are to us. I want to reaffirm all that I heard and also add: ‘Chʼu tleix̲ k̲ug̲aag̲astee, Lingít (Let it exist forever, Lingít) – as told to us by K̲aalk̲áawu Cyril George.”