The AFN board of directors has selected Emil Notti (Athabascan) and Megan Alvanna-Stimpfle (Inupiaq) to deliver the keynote address to the delegates, participants and observers of the 50th Anniversary of the Annual Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention on the first day of the three-day meeting, October 20-22, 2016 at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska.
The theme of this year’s convention, “50 Years: Reflect, Refresh, Renew,” will guide the course of the agenda. Participants and presenters will reflect on the challenges, innovations and successes of the Alaska Native community since AFN’s founding in 1966, refresh our collective accomplishments and aspirations, and renew our commitment to enriching the future of the Native peoples.
“AFN is honored to have both distinguished and emerging leaders speak to our delegates,” said AFN President Julie Kitka. “The Native community gathers for the 50th Convention to not only celebrate, acknowledge and honor the many sacrifices our people made in the land claims movement and the formation of AFN, but also to take stock of AFN’s unfinished business in improving the lives of our people.”
Emil Notti, the first AFN President, was a force behind the land claims movement and negotiations that culminated in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971. He was instrumental in calling for a statewide convening of Alaska Natives from every region of the state.
Born in Koyukuk, Alaska, Notti graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe High School and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical and electrical engineering from Northrop University. He is U.S. Navy Veteran and worked for Autonetics, a division of North American Aviation, on the Minuteman Ballistic Missile. He worked for the Federal Aviation Administration in Alaska as an electronic engineer. Later he served under several Alaska governors as Deputy Commissioner of Health and Social Services, Commissioner of Community and Regional Affairs and Commissioner of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. He ran for Congress in a 1973 special election against Don Young, losing by only 2,000 votes. Emil has six children and eight grandchildren.
Notti said during the passage of ANCSA, “One of the big events after the struggle of trying to get Congress to recognize our rights was the night we stood and listened to President Nixon say he signed the bill into law. That was a big moment in our effort to get a land settlement.”
Megan Alvanna-Stimpfle was born and raised in Nome, Alaska. She is of King Island Inupiaq heritage and takes pride in Eskimo dancing and learning her language. She holds a Master’s in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. in Economics from George Mason University.
For five years, Megan served as a legislative assistant for Senator Lisa Murkowski in Washington D.C. responsible for policies addressing infrastructure & sanitation, housing, health delivery, public safety and justice, land management, as well as fish & wildlife management for Alaska Native and rural Alaskans. She assisted in organizing the Arctic Imperative Summit to bring arctic and coastal Alaskan issues to the forefront of American policy. Living in Nome, she serves on the Nome Port Commission and is an elected member of the King Island Traditional Council.
The AFN Convention is the largest representative annual gathering of Native peoples in the nation and the largest convention in Alaska. The three-day event brings together 4,000 to 5,000 thousand Alaska Native delegates, participants, businesses, and organizations, as well as interested observers and special guests from around the globe.
The mission of the Alaska Federation of Natives is to enhance and promote the cultural, economic and political voice of the Alaska Native community.
For more information on the Convention, please visit AFN’s website at www.nativefederation.org.