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Sealaska Shares Advocacy Update in Policy Forum

Sealaska hosted a lunchtime policy update on Tuesday, September 13, to provide shareholders with up-to-date information about Sealaska’s public policy efforts. The policy committee, Naxtoo.aat / Wayi Wah / Hágwsdaa – each of which translates loosely to “Let’s Go!” – works to bring forth and advocate for state and federal policies that align with Sealaska’s vision and shareholder priorities.

Sealaska director and policy committee chair ‘Wáahlaal Gíidaak Barbara Blake provided viewers with updates on the committee’s work, while ‘Kaa Ju Hein’ Jaeleen Kookesh, who serves as Sealaska’s corporate secretary and vice president of policy and legal affairs, served as host and emcee. The two provided an overview of current policy and advocacy efforts.

  • Important momentum is being made on landless legislation with S. 3629, which continues to progress through the U.S. Senate. Shareholders can express support by filling out the pre-paid postcard attached to the latest shareholder newsletter, by signing the online petition at and by calling their representatives in Congress – actions that are especially impactful coming from supporters who live outside Alaska.
  • The Sealaska Board of Directors recently voted to oppose the measure on Alaska’s November ballot that would initiate a constitutional convention in Alaska, expressing concerns that reassessing the constitution could endanger the rights of Alaska Native people.
  • The tribal recognition bill that was recently signed into law by Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy will help pave the way for a better relationship between tribal and Native entitites and state government. The legislation was supported by Sealaska and advanced by board members Wáahlaal Gíidaak Barbara Blake, La quen náay Liz Medicine Crow and board chair Joe Nelson, along with Chalee Éesh President Richard Peterson of Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.
  • Sealaska will be participating in the second annual statewide Being Good Relatives gathering organized by First Alaskans Institute in Fairbanks on Sept. 28, working together to unify and strengthen partnerships between Alaska Native organizations across the state, and the Protecting Our Ways of Life Summit Sept. 29-30.

Board Youth Advisor Connor Ulmer closed out the committee with a call to action for young shareholders:

“I would like to encourage any other youth who have some sort of priority that the policy committee should take up, let me know – because I don’t know what everyone’s priorities are for my age group. I would love to hear from other people around my age about what’s important to them.”

Ulmer can be reached at