Thank you for all of your nominations.  We will present the winners at the 2023 AFN Convention on Friday, October 20 at 9:25 a.m.

2023 President’s Award Categories

Culture Bearer – Recognizes an Alaska Native who demonstrates strong involvement in the arts. Individuals nominated for this award may be involved in theater, music, dance, painting, sculpture, and storytelling. This award can also recognize an artist, an arts administrator, or a preserver of Native culture.

Della Keats “Healing Hands” – Named for the late Dr. Della Keats, an Inupiaq healer who served the health care needs in the Northwest Alaska area for over 50 years.  This award recognizes an Alaska Native who has demonstrated strong commitment, competence and sensitivity as a tribal healer or health care provider, and whose accomplishments have most directly affected Native people in their home communities.

Elder of the Year – Recognizes an Alaska Native Elder who exemplifies the highest of values and qualities important to Native people. This individual is recognized as a leader, an educator, and preserver of Native culture whose contributions have benefited Native peoples throughout his/her life.

Lu Young Youth Leadership – Named for the late Lu Young, who encouraged young people to expand their horizons and challenge themselves to become future leaders. Nominees must be a young woman, 18-30 years of age who demonstrates leadership qualities.

The young men’s category will be available in 2024.

Parents of the Year – Recognizes Alaska Native parents who exhibit many of the qualities and values important to the continued physical, social, and cultural survival of Native people. These values may include sharing and teaching of Native culture, love of children, respect for Elders, spirituality, cooperation, and responsibility and involvement in the community.

Public Service – Recognizes an Alaska Native who has demonstrated dedication, competence, and sensitivity in the area of public service. This award recognizes individuals who have promoted and assisted in the development of their community, or whose accomplishments and leadership qualities have most directly affected and benefited Native peoples.

Walter Soboleff “Warriors of Light” – Named for the late Dr. Walter Soboleff, this award recognized individuals who uplift our people, enrich our spirits, and unify our people.

Please direct questions to Nicole James at

Have a specific question about Convention?

Please use the form below to tell us about it and be sure to choose your topic so we can get your question to just the right member of the AFN team!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.