Native Leaders Gather In Anchorage For 2011 AFN Convention

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski to be honored at banquet

Alaska Natives from across the state will gather today at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage for the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Annual Convention. This year’s AFN Convention will boast a wide array of dynamic speakers, from government representatives to Native leaders from across Alaska and beyond.

Alaska Native Iditarod winner John Quniaq Baker will deliver the keynote address. Other highlights include popular “Quyana Night” dance performances Wednesday and Thursday night; awards luncheon to honor a dozen Alaska Natives for their outstanding achievements; and a closing banquet on Saturday night honoring U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski. AFN is expecting another record year for its popular Native Arts & Crafts Show, which is open to the public and features more than 175 Native artists and craftspeople from all over Alaska.

The AFN Convention is the largest representative annual gathering in the United States of any Native peoples. Delegates meet to discuss current events and issues. Each year the AFN Convention draws between 4,000–5,000 attendees. The proceedings are broadcast live via television, radio and webcast reaching a diverse audience from Barrow to Ketchikan, from the Aleutian Chain to the Canadian border. A webcast is also available through AFN’s website at

The Alaska Federation of Natives was formed in October 1966, when more than 400 Alaska Natives representing 17 Native organizations gathered for a three-­‐day conference to address Alaska Native aboriginal land rights. It is now the largest statewide Native organization in Alaska. Its membership includes 178 villages (both federally-­‐recognized tribes and village corporations), 12 regional Native corporations and 12 regional nonprofit and tribal consortiums that contract and run federal and state programs. AFN is governed by a 37-­‐member Board, which is elected by its membership at the Annual Convention held each October. The mission of AFN is to enhance and promote the cultural, economic and political voice of the entire Alaska Native community.