Navigators


Regional Assignments and respective points of contact are listed below. Alaska Native Corporations, Native non-profits, Native tribally designated housing entities, Native health corporations and clinics and Native schools, Tribal Colleges, Universities and Native Serving Institutions within each region served by the Navigator Program should feel free to reach out for additional information:

Sara Peterson – (Deputy Project Manager) - speterson@nativefederation.org
Sara Peterson was raised in Montana and has lived in Alaska for more than 20 years.  She graduated from Alaska Pacific University with a major in International Business and earned her law degree from Hamline School of Law in (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law) in Minnesota with a focus in International Business.  During law school, Sara studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, her first year, and during her second year participated in an international externship in Mexico City in the Labor and Employment Practice with the firm, Basham, Ringe y Correa.  Sara started her career in San Diego, California as a litigator and corporate attorney specializing in U.S.-Mexico transactional work.  Upon returning to Alaska, Sara worked for the law firm, Dorsey & Whitney in mergers and acquisitions and corporate law and governance.  In 2009, Sara joined Bristol Bay Native Corporation.  Sara left BBNC in April 2021 as the Sr. Vice President Deputy General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer to focus on her children and family during the COVID pandemic.

Lisa Sutherland – (Lead Navigator) - lsutherland@nativefederation.org
Regional Assignment:  ASRC
Federal Funding Programs

Lisa Sutherland moved to Fairbanks at the age of 5 in 1961.  She grew up outside of Nenana in Anderson Village, and attended high school in Anchorage at East High.  She graduated with honors from Drake University in 1977, double majoring in public administration and political science and earned her law degree from the University of Washington where she specialized in Indian law, natural resources, and maritime law.  She first came to work for Senator Ted Stevens in 1977 and retired in 2007 after a 30 year Senate career. After a stint in the Alaska House of Representatives she served as Senator Stevens’ Legislative Director,  Chief of Staff, Deputy Staff Director of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Staff Director of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.  She handled Alaska Native issues for the Congressional delegation for 25 years, working on dozens of amendments to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the Aleut Reparations Act, and helped create the village build clinic program, the statewide telehealth program, the Community Health Aide Program (CHAP), and the Alaska Native Serving Institution Program to help rural colleges.  She drafted the legislation that created the Denali Commission, the Alaska Village Water Program, and rural broadband programs.

April Ferguson – (Navigator) - aferguson@nativefederation.org
Regional Assignments:  Aleut, Bristol Bay, Chugach

April Ferguson is a part Den’ina Athabascan, Curyang tribal member and shareholder of BBNC.  April worked for Bristol Bay Native Corporation as General Counsel and recently retired after 22 years.  April was born in Seward and raised in Fairbanks, married in Cordova, and worked as a surveyor on the pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez and spent a year in Nome working for Kawerak. She graduated from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and Harvard Law. April has four grandchildren who are very fast and extremely smart.  April was recently inducted into the Alaska Women Hall of Fame and named Shareholder of the Year by Choggiung, Ltd. 

Greg Razo – (Navigator) - grazo@nativefederation.org
Regional Assignments:  Bering Straits, CIRI, Kodiak

Greg is an Alaska Native and is a descendant shareholder of Cook Inlet Region, Inc. Greg is involved with efforts to improve Alaska’s civil and criminal justice systems. He serves as President and Chair of Alaska Legal Services Corporation. Greg is also past Chair of the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission which works to evaluate and make recommendations to improve Alaska criminal laws and practices. Currently, Greg also serves as Vice Chair of the Alaska Native Justice Center, an Alaska Native non-profit that works to address Alaska Natives’ unmet needs. The Alaska Native Justice Center works to improve the Alaska civil and criminal justice system in response to the increasing disproportionate rates of victimization, incarceration and other justice-related issues impacting Alaska Natives throughout Alaska. Greg also serves as an adjunct professor at Alaska Pacific University where he teaches a Graduate-level class on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

Greg is Yupik and Mexican American, growing up in Anchorage, Alaska, and earned a bachelor's degree in English from Gonzaga University and a Juris Doctorate (Law) degree from the Willamette University College of Law.

Chris McNeil – (Navigator) - cmcneil@nativefederation.org
Regional Assignments:  Ahtna, Doyon, Sealaska

Christy Lawton – (Navigator) - clawton@nativefederation.org
Mitigation and Prevention of COVID
State of Alaska and Health and Human Services

Christy is a lifelong Alaskan and mother of two amazing teenagers who has had the fortune and privilege to serve Alaskans her entire career. She has worked in the public health and social services fields at both the local and state level and has an extensive history of collaborating with Alaska Tribes and Tribal organizations. She is a passionate advocate for underserved and at-risk populations who face systemic racism and growing inequities. The experience and knowledge that Christy will bring to the Covid-19 Navigation Program will be an asset for ensuring maximum access and opportunity for Tribes, Tribal Organizations and their citizens. She understands the importance and urgency in leveraging every dollar available to further strengthen and develop communities in ways uniquely designed by the people that live there.

Mary Kenick- (Navigator) - mkenick@nativefederation.org
Regional Assignment:   YK Region (Calista)

Mary is Yupik from Bethel. Mary is a former Mayor for the City of Bethel and worked as the Rural Development Manager for the Bethel, Wade Hampton and Dillingham Census Districts for USDA Rural Development in Bethel. Mary is currently the Treasurer for the Bethel Native Corporation and has been a board member since 2014.  A former Bureau of Indian Affairs, Alaska Region employee as the Acting Manager for the Land Titles and Records Division, Supervisory Realty Specialist and as the Native Allotment Coordinator. Prior to working for BIA, she worked for the Bureau of Land Management as a Land Law Examiner at the Alaska State Office and Liaison in Bethel.  Prior to her work for the DOI, she started her career in Alaska Native lands with the Association of Village Council Presidents

Leif Fonnesbeck – (Navigator) - lfonnesbeck@nativefederation.org
Federal Funding Programs

Leif was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska.  After practicing law in Anchorage for five years, he was hired by Senator Stevens to work on the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations.   Leif worked on the committee for eight years as professional staff before becoming the staff director for the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, a position he held for an additional 13 years.   This critical bill for Alaska provides funds for all the federal land management agencies, the EPA, as well as the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service.  Leif has developed expertise in budget and appropriations processes as well as in policy areas involving natural resource development, tribes, and environmental law.

Nelson Angapak, Sr. – (Cultural Expert) - nangapak@nativefederation.org

Nelson N. Angapak, Sr. is a Former Chairman of the Board of Alaska Federation of Natives and Calista Corporation, former co-chair of the Alaska Land Managers, U. S. Army veteran with service connected disability, bilingual and fluent in Yupik and English, served as an advocate for Alaska Natives on regional and statewide basis on their rights and property interests, advocated for passage of Congressional legislation that authorized Native Allotments for the Alaska Native veterans of the Vietnam War Era, more than four decades of addressing and dealing with ANCSA land issues, over this period, collaborated with  NCAI and Council for Native Hawaiians on issues that impacted us jointly, retired from AFN as Senior Vice President, 2013.  Angapak holds a master’s degree from Antioch College specializing in land and natural resources management and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Ft. Lewis College.

Shannon Magnuson (Program Support) – smagnuson@nativefederation.org

Shannon is an Alaska Native, Yupik and Athabascan, from the community of McGrath, Alaska. She has a background of working in Public Radio and for The University of Alaska Fairbanks- Interior Alaska Campus. In recent years she has come onboard with The Alaska Federation of Natives assisting in outreach projects around Alaska, the most recent being the 2020 Census and Get Out the Alaska Vote efforts. 
Shannon is married to Derek Magnuson also of McGrath, together they have four children, three adult sons and their twelve year old daughter. 
Shannon has a passion for outreach and working with Alaskans and is honored to be assisting as administrative support in The Navigator Project.

Grace Mulipolo – (Program Support) -  gmulipola@nativefederation.org

Grace grew up in Bristol Bay, specifically on the Nushagak River in Koliganek. She is a Legal Assistant at Bristol Bay Native Corporation, where she provides Administrative support, Training and Coordinating services, Communication services, and Special Projects to the Legal and Compliance Departments. She graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), with her A.A.S. Degree in Paralegal Studies. After marrying, she relocated to Anchorage to enhance her work life for herself and her husband. Grace is a Leadership Anchorage graduate, BBNC Shareholder and is actively seeking her Bachelors Degree in Legal Studies from UAA. Grace is comfortable and quick to learn modern technology and new software programs. Grace is a mother of two and her favorite native foods are akutaq, salmon strips, and moose soup with pilot bread.