2015 Annual AFN Convention worksessions


Thursday Major Convention Wide Worksessions


1.)  Community Based Solutions ~ Addressing Drug Abuse and Empowering Wellness


Partners: ANTHC (Facilitation and Coordination)

Planning committee members & speakers identified through: Aleutians East Borough School District, Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Eastern Aleutian Tribes, Maniilaq Association, Qagan Tayagungin Tribe, Tanana, Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation

This workshop focuses on solution-based Alaskan community efforts aimed at reclaiming our community health. As we work as a state to save our resources, our land, and our water, we also all must take action and do what we can do to support our people, our children, and our cultures. Part of this is done by talking about mental health and mental illness, drug and alcohol use and misuse, and our collective responsibility to continue to destigmatize these topics and improve community wellness.

This workshop highlights current community based efforts from around the state. These are the stories of individuals who have found partnerships in their towns and villages to address challenging situations head on with innovative and traditional solutions. The audience will be invited to join the conversation and share perspective for ways we might get the word out to increase and effect wide-spread community change.

Time: Thursday 3-5pm Location: Main Convention Hall, 3rd floor


 2.)  Business Innovations for Alaskans:   A Partnership to Share, Learn and Build Upon Alaska Native Corporate Models of Business

Partners: University of Alaska’s College of Business and Public Policy, Alaska Native Corporations, State of Alaska

Panelists will share success stories and innovative approaches to in-state investments, and will also examine what policy changes are needed to improve ANCs’ ability to stimulate Alaska’s economy. The panelists will highlight development in rural Alaska, which faces high rates of unemployment and are some of the most economically depressed areas in our country.

The moderator of this workshop will be Sheri Buretta, Chairman, Chugach Alaska Corporation. Panelists will include Jason Metrokin, President & CEO of Bristol Bay Native Corporation; Maver Carey, President & CEO of The Kuskokwim Corporation; and Carl Marrs, CEO of Old Harbor Native Corporation.

Time: Thursday 3-5pm Location: K’enakatnu 6, 2nd floor


3.)  Justice for Alaska Natives

Partners: Alaska Native Justice Center, Alaska Criminal Justice Commission, Alaska Legal Services Corporation

Alaska’s justice system disproportionately confines Alaska Natives and exercises control over their lives with probation and parole supervision.  The prison and probation population has grown significantly over the last decade, and is projected to keep growing.

In the first part of this workshop, we will learn what’s driving the growth in Alaska’s prison population, with a special focus on Alaska Natives, and the cost to all of us if the prison population continues to grow un-checked. Terry Schuster from the Pew Charitable Trusts will also describe the current work of the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission. The Commission will use recent state data and national research to propose reforms to state laws and practices for the 2015 Legislative Session.

In the second part of this workshop, we will hear from a panel of experts about efforts already underway in Alaska communities, courts and Corrections to reform the traditional (Western) criminal justice model. In the last third of this program, Greg Razo, AFN Board member and a member of the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission, will engage Convention attendees in a conversation about the focus of a potential AFN resolution in support of justice reform.

Time: Thursday 3-5pm Location: Tubughnenq 3-5, 2nd floor


4.)  Building Capacity in Co-management

Partners: AVCP, TCC, Afognak, North Slope Borough, Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP

This workshop will focus on how Alaska Native groups can build capacity to grow co-management projects with the state and federal governments, for the advancement of Alaska Native management of traditional and customary fish and wildlife resources critical to the well-being of Alaska Native communities, and for the improvement of resource management for all of Alaska.  The workshop will provide a brief overview of the status of co-management in Alaska today, and explore opportunities, tools, and resources to further build Alaska Native capacity for increased co-management.

Opportunities for “Co-management” include, but are not limited to: increasing ANILCA Section 809 Agreements with Alaska Native organizations; increasing Annual Funding Agreements under Title IV of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, where self-governance Tribal Governments /Organization can undertake programs, functions, services and activities on behalf of non-BIA Department of Interior Agencies; MOUs/MOAs with the State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game; adopting Private Lands Wildlife Management programs; and drafting new legislation which allows for co-management.  Panelists will include Victor Joseph, President and Chairman of Tanana Chiefs Conference; Myron Naneng, President of the Association of Village Council Presidents; Taqulik Hepa, Director of the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management; and Howard Valley, Lands and Timber Executive for Afognak Native Corporation.

Time: Thursday 3-5pm Location: Kahtnu 1-2, 2nd floor



Additional Workshops


  • Up Close with Keynote Speakers

Following their keynote address, Delores Churchill and Donald Varnell will participate in a break-out session to discuss their art and culture.

Time: Thursday 10:40am-11:30am Location: Tubughnenq 3


  • Small Business Administration Workshop

Time: Thursday 10am-12pm Location: Tubughnenq 4


  • Existing Models to Improve Consultation Procedures for Alaska Native Tribes and Tribally Authorized Organizations

Environmental Law Institute and Indigenous People’s Council for Marine Mammals (IPCoMM)

Time: Friday 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm Location: Kahtnu 1


  • ANLPAC Language Workshop and Listening Session

Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council

Time: Thursday 10:50am-11:30am Location: Tubughnenq 5


  • Veterans Workshop

Alaska Native Health Board, US Department of Veterans Affairs

This workshop will provide a brief introduction to the three branches of the VA and focus on the VA’s relationship with Alaska’s tribal healthcare organizations and what that means to Alaska Native and non-Native veterans and their families.  It will also touch on how the VA Rural Health Outreach team works to increase knowledge about healthcare and other benefits veterans might be eligible for, including compensation, pension, education, housing loans, and headstones.

Time: Friday 10am-12pm Location: Kahtnu 1


  • ICWA

Alaska Legal Services Corporation, TCC

Alaska Native children are disproportionately represented in Alaska’s child welfare system.  By Office of Children’s Services estimates, 60% of the children in state foster care are Native, to whom the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) applies.  However, in the majority of these cases Alaska Native children are not placed in ICWA compliant homes, but instead are placed in non-Native foster homes often far from their families and home villages.  This workshop will discuss Alaska’s newly adopted ICWA regulations as well as the new federal Bureau of Indian Affairs guidelines that seek to change these statistics.  The panel will also discuss other ideas and efforts aimed at improving ICWA compliance by OCS.  Tanana Chiefs Conference, along with Alaska Legal Services’ attorneys James (Jim) Davis and Sydney Tarzwell, will facilitate the discussion.

Time: Friday 9am-11am Location: Tubughnenq 5


  • CEO and Board Perspectives on Cybersecurity

Alaska Communications

Thanks to many recent high-profile breaches, cybersecurity, once just a concern for IT specialists, is now on the minds of millions of Americans and organizations across Alaska. In 2014, several headlines shared how organizations such as Home Depot, JP Morgan, Iowa State University and more exposed millions of emails, credit cards and social security numbers. These are very real threats that are top of mind for many Alaska organizations and those they serve.

Anand Vadapalli will discuss addressing cybersecurity threats from his experience as a practicing CEO and an active board member. Vadapalli serves as the President and CEO of Alaska Communications, the state’s leading broadband and IT managed solutions provider, and also serves on the board of directors of Premera Blue Cross, a leading health insurance provider in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Attendees will learn best practices for making cybersecurity an organizational priority for your organization and resources available to help address security challenges.

Time: Friday 1pm-2:30pm Location: Kahtnu 1


  • Federal Communications Commission Workshops:

Overview of the Federal Universal Service Fund Program

This session provides an overview of the FCC’s Universal Service Fund and its four subsidy programs: (1) the High Cost program, including the Connect America Fund; (2) the Schools and Libraries program, also known as E-rate; (3) the Low-Income program, also known as Lifeline and Link Up; and (4) the Rural Health Care program.  This session also includes an overview of how these programs operate, their application processes, and what it means to be an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC), including the Tribal government engagement obligation.

Tribal Radio Is Backbone Technology and the Voice of the Community: How to obtain a radio Broadcast License with the FCC’s Tribal Priority and how to run a radio station

New regulations aimed at Tribal Nations make more opportunities available to obtain a radio broadcast license for service over Tribal lands.  Learn how to get a radio station license.  Learn the licensing mechanisms at the FCC available to Tribal Nations.  Hear practical legal and engineering advice.  In addition, this session will present video information from the Native station perspective on starting up a broadcast facility, as well as materials on the licensing procedures at the FCC.

Time: Friday 9am-12pm Location: Tubughnenq 3


  • Federal Communications Commission Learning Lab

The mobile Native Learning Lab is an on-site computer-based mobile resource lab that can be tailored to the individual needs of the user.  The Lab allows users to connect to the FCC websites and receive one-on-one assistance by ONAP staff, among other FCC websites, users learn how to file comments or complaints on line, how to search for docketed proceedings.

Time: Saturday 9am-3pm Location: Tubughnenq 3


  • What Can I do Today to Reduce my Energy Costs?

Alaska Energy Authority

Come hear about steps you can take now to save money. The Alaska Energy Authority will have experts available to discuss Alaska’s energy efficiency program opportunities and how the regional planning efforts will help develop a statewide energy strategy toward affordable energy.

Time: Saturday 9am-12pm Location: Tubughnenq 4


  • Arctic Council: Promoting Community & Mental Well Being and Exploring Renewable Energy

Listening session hosted by Roberta Burns, Chair of the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group.

Time: Saturday 9:00 – 9:30am Location: TBD


  • President’s Award Winners Reception

Following the presentation of the AFN President’s Awards, award recipients and their families are invited to a small reception to celebrate and have pictures taken.

Time: Saturday 2pm-4pm Location: Kahtnu 1


  • American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association break-out session

Participants from this session will be provided the information they’ll need to begin the planning process for tourism development in their community as well as the opportunity and initiative for growing their own destinations. Participants will be introduced to the NATIVE TRAVEL destination website, which is available for all tribes in Alaska. Each tribe is offered a webpage of their own to tell their story and the opportunity to view how other tribes across the nation are telling their own stories and how they’re portraying their villages and communities.

Time: Saturday 2pm-3pm Location: Tubughnenq 4


  • Veterans’ Hospitality Room

Time: Friday 9am-11:30am and 1:30pm-4pm, Saturday 9am-3pm Location: Kahtnu 2

  • Elizabeth Peratrovich Legal Clinic

Time: Friday 10am-3pm Location: K’enakatnu 6

  • Health Fair

Time: Thursday 9am-5pm, Friday 9am-4pm Location: 2nd Floor