Saturday, October 22, 2016
The Annual AFN Banquet is a unique and fun-filled evening that celebrates our indigenous cultures and honors individuals whose dedication, achievements, and contributions have improved the Alaska Native community.
Tables seat 10. General Admission tickets are sold out.
*NOTE: All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable.
Meet our 2016 Banquet Emcees
Wilfred P. Ryan, more commonly known to friends and associates as “Boyuck” was born to Wilfred and Eva Ryan in Unalakleet, and graduated from Covenant High School in 1971. He has six sisters and two brothers, and has a long history of Inupiaq, Irish and Russian heritage. His great grandfather on Wilfred’s side of the family immigrated to Alaska from Ireland during the Klondike and Gold Rush. His great grandfather on Eva’s side was a Russian fur trader in Alaska during the late 1800’s. Both maternal great grandmothers were full blooded Eskimos.
While in high school at age 17, Wilfred acquired his Private pilot license and acquired his Airline Transport Pilot and flight instructor certificates at age 23. He attended the Alaska Methodist University in Anchorage than Linfield College in Oregon.
Wilfred served as Chief Pilot from 1971 to 1977 for Unalakleet Air Taxi, a charter company that his father started in 1953. As President, he changed the name of the company to Ryan Air Service which now serves 72 villages with scheduled passenger and cargo operations.
In addition to his aviation career, Wilfred served as a Board Member for the Unalakleet Native Corp., from 1973 to 1976; as Mayor of Unalakleet from 1983 to 1984; as a Board Member for the Norton Sound Emergency Medical Services from 1984 to 1986 and currently is a board member for the Alaska Air Carriers Association and the Medallion Foundation.
Lee “Qupqun” Ryan was born in Nome, Alaska on November 10, 1980 to Wilfred “Boyuck” and Vicki Ryan. He is currently a pilot and the Vice President Ryan Air, a board member of the Bering Straits Native Corporation and the Chairman of the Governors Aviation Advisory Board.
Having grown up in Unalakleet, Lee enjoys commercial and sport fishing, flying, hunting and camping with his fiancé Chelsea and 8 year old son Joe. Many of the cultural traditions he has learned came from lessons passed on from his grandma, Eva. He is also a weekend warrior hockey player and sports fan.
Byron Nicholai is a social media phenomenon. The 18-year-old teenager from Toksook Bay began recording clips of traditional and contemporary Yup’ik songs and posting them on his Facebook page, “I Sing. You Dance.” The Facebook page started with 300 Likes and today has over 29,600 Likes. He has gained local, state, national and international attention; most recently he performed for President Obama in Washington D.C. Byron perpetuates and preserves his culture and language by composing, expressing and translating ideas, emotions and messages into music.
The Wainwright Dancers are from Wainwright on the Arctic Ocean. They perform traditional songs passed down through generations. The drumming, singing and dancing keeps their rich culture alive and brings the community together for events such as: Nalukataq, Kivgiq, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s and other special events across Alaska and the World. They love coming together as one group, as it brings their community closer together and makes them stronger.