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Pressed for change, Native leaders promise a 'new, modern AFN'

Kyle Hopkins
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Ursula Paniyak-Irvin's dolls are supporting the Obama/Biden ticket at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Sam Herman, from Nunavak Island, at AFN. The Alaska Federation of Natives continued on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Den'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Robyn Jack and her son Allen Jack at AFN. The Alaska Federation of Natives continued on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Den'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Mike James and his daughter Linzi James at AFN. The Alaska Federation of Natives continued on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Den'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Charles Powell and his grandson Alaino Devoe at AFN. The Alaska Federation of Natives continued on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Den'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Jaida Bennett, Tiffany Bennett and Dinah Bennet at AFN. The Alaska Federation of Natives continued on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Den'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Robyn Jack and her son Allen Jack at AFN. The Alaska Federation of Natives continued on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Den'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Delegates representing Calista Corporation and the Association of Village Council Presidents consider language of an amendment during a brief recess Saturday morning. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News AFN delegate Jason Bourdukofsky speaks at Saturday morning's session. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Joseph Chaimegalrea of Napakiak speaks at Saturday morning's session to consider resolutions. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Frank Peterson Sr., president of the Indigenous Justice Alliance, reads draft resolutions at Saturday's AFN session. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Elizabeth Hensley, right, talks with others at the Saturday's AFN session. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Carmaleeda Estrada passes out papers to delegates at Saturday morning's AFN session. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Elia Epchook spoke Saturday morning about issues related to homelessness. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Spear dancers with the Mt. St. Elias Dancers of Yakutat perform during Quyana Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday evening October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
An invitational dance draws spectators onstage to join the Nunagiaq Dancers of Wainwright during Quyana Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday evening October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
Audience members join the Tanacross Dance Group onstage for an invitational dance during Quyana Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday evening October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
An invitational dance draws spectators onstage to join the Nunagiaq Dancers of Wainwright during Quyana Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday evening October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Siberia Madsen, 2, takes in the scene from the lap of relative Bobby Piscoya as the Sivuqaq Dancers of Anchorage perform pieces based on their St. Lawrence Island heritage to start the day at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday morning October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News The Sivuqaq Dancers of Anchorage perform pieces based on their St. Lawrence Island heritage to start the day at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday morning October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Ginna Walluk and the Sivuqaq Dancers of Anchorage perform pieces based on their St. Lawrence Island heritage to start the day at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday morning October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Karen Gardner of Anchorage joins in on an invitational dance as the Sivuqaq Dancers of Anchorage perform pieces based on their St. Lawrence Island heritage to start the day at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday morning October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. "It's fun!" declared Gardner.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News An invitational dance brings some people out of their seats as the Sivuqaq Dancers of Anchorage perform pieces based on their St. Lawrence Island heritage to start the day at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday morning October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Family and friends join Bernice Joseph of Fairbanks onstage as she is honored as the Citizen of the Year at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Co-chair Sen. Albert Kookesh introduces her at right.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Delegates applaud a keynote address by Carol Wren of Cook Inlet Tribal Council at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Carol Wren of Cook Inlet Tribal Council addresses delegates at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News First Lady Sandy Parnell delivers an impassioned plea to work to stop sex trafficking in Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Delegates listen to an address by First Lady Sandy Parnell at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Gov. Sean Parnell addresses the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Gov. Sean Parnell, right, and First Lady Sandy Parnell introduce Mary Jane Fate of Fairbanks as the recipient of the Shirley Demientieff Award for advocacy on behalf of Alaska Native women and children at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Fate is originally from Rampart.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Gov. Sean Parnell and First Lady Sandy Parnell applaud after presenting Mary Jane Fate of Fairbanks with the Shirley Demientieff Award for advocacy on behalf of Alaska Native women and children at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Fate is originally from Rampart.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News AFN President Julie Kitka presents Gov. Sean Parnell and First Lady Sandy Parnell with a carved kayaker artwork at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News AFN co-chair Sen. Albert Kookesh introduces honored guests in the audience at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News President Julie Kitka addresses delegates at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii receives a standing ovation honoring him for his many years of leadership and collaboration on Native issues in his state and in Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Akaka, who first went to Washington, D.C. as a Congressman in 1976, will wind up his 35-year congressional career in January 2013.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Family and friends join Bernice Joseph of Fairbanks onstage as she addresses the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention after receiving the Citizen of the Year award Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Her husband Stewart is at right. Joseph, born in Tanana and raised in Nulato, is vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Battling pancreatic cancer, Joseph told delegates she is Òfighting the good fight.Ó
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Peter Totemoff of Olympia, Wa. records video for friend Philip Akelkok, Sr., of Ekwok, right, as Citizen of the Year Bernice Joseph addresses the gathering at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News U. S. Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii offers an effusive Mahalo Lui Noa thank you to delegates for honoring him at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Bill Martin of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Frieda Westman of the Alaska Native Sisterhood prepare to address the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Delegates watche a video commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Alaska Native Brotherhood at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Dr. Ted Mala, left, visits with U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News James Gregg of Kotzebue and Sells, Az. listens to a presentation at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News President Julie Kitka views a video presentation at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Peter Squartsoff of Kodiak watches a video commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Alaska Native Brotherhood at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Bill Martin speaks as the Alaska Native Brotherhood and the Alaska Native Sisterhood are honored at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Delegates greet and visit at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 in the lobby of the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Delegates visit in the lobby at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Frieda Westman of the Alaska Native Sisterhood appears onscreen at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Roseanne Voyles of Southcentral Foundation explains to youth how much sugar is in soft drinks at the Rethink Your Drink booth at the Alaska Native Medical Center Health Fair held at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Delegates leave messages explaining why they choose to be tobacco free at the Alaska Native Medical Center Health Fair held at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Ossie Kairaiuak, Stephen Blanchett and Karina Moeller of Pamyua greet fans while promoting their new CD and an upcoming tour to Bethel, Kotzebue, Dillingham and Nome at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Gary Murphy of Anchorage looks to sell his Yup'ik windmaker mask at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Earrings are offered at the Alaska Native Customary Art Show at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Delegates greet each other coming and going at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Youngsters peer over the railing at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Phillip Blanchett of Pamyua, left, greets fans as the group promotes a new CD and an upcoming tour at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Karina Moeller, right, shares a hug with Angela Gonzalez as Pamyua promotes a new CD and an upcoming concert tour in rural Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News William Bean and Amber Walters of ASRC Energy Services encourage delegates to Get Out the Native Vote at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Smoked salmon from Chignik is offered for sale outside the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News T-shirts and pickled sockeye salmon from Chignik are offered for sale outside the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Ursula Paniyak-Irvin's dolls are supporting the Obama/Biden ticket at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Sam Herman, from Nunavak Island, at AFN. The Alaska Federation of Natives continued on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Den'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Robyn Jack and her son Allen Jack at AFN. The Alaska Federation of Natives continued on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Den'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Mike James and his daughter Linzi James at AFN. The Alaska Federation of Natives continued on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Den'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Charles Powell and his grandson Alaino Devoe at AFN. The Alaska Federation of Natives continued on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Den'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Jaida Bennett, Tiffany Bennett and Dinah Bennet at AFN. The Alaska Federation of Natives continued on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Den'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Robyn Jack and her son Allen Jack at AFN. The Alaska Federation of Natives continued on Friday, October 19, 2012 at the Den'ina Convention Center in Anchorage, AK. A panel discussion with native leaders and Alaska Congressional members is going on upstairs and the art and craft sale is taking place on the bottom floor. 121019
Bob Hallinen
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Delegates representing Calista Corporation and the Association of Village Council Presidents consider language of an amendment during a brief recess Saturday morning. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News AFN delegate Jason Bourdukofsky speaks at Saturday morning's session. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Joseph Chaimegalrea of Napakiak speaks at Saturday morning's session to consider resolutions. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Frank Peterson Sr., president of the Indigenous Justice Alliance, reads draft resolutions at Saturday's AFN session. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Elizabeth Hensley, right, talks with others at the Saturday's AFN session. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Carmaleeda Estrada passes out papers to delegates at Saturday morning's AFN session. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Elia Epchook spoke Saturday morning about issues related to homelessness. Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Alaska Federation of Natives delegates considered draft convention resolutions in a session at the AFN annual convention on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012.
Marc Lester
Spear dancers with the Mt. St. Elias Dancers of Yakutat perform during Quyana Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday evening October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
An invitational dance draws spectators onstage to join the Nunagiaq Dancers of Wainwright during Quyana Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday evening October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
Audience members join the Tanacross Dance Group onstage for an invitational dance during Quyana Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday evening October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
An invitational dance draws spectators onstage to join the Nunagiaq Dancers of Wainwright during Quyana Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday evening October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Siberia Madsen, 2, takes in the scene from the lap of relative Bobby Piscoya as the Sivuqaq Dancers of Anchorage perform pieces based on their St. Lawrence Island heritage to start the day at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday morning October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News The Sivuqaq Dancers of Anchorage perform pieces based on their St. Lawrence Island heritage to start the day at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday morning October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Ginna Walluk and the Sivuqaq Dancers of Anchorage perform pieces based on their St. Lawrence Island heritage to start the day at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday morning October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Karen Gardner of Anchorage joins in on an invitational dance as the Sivuqaq Dancers of Anchorage perform pieces based on their St. Lawrence Island heritage to start the day at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday morning October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. "It's fun!" declared Gardner.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News An invitational dance brings some people out of their seats as the Sivuqaq Dancers of Anchorage perform pieces based on their St. Lawrence Island heritage to start the day at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Friday morning October 19, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Family and friends join Bernice Joseph of Fairbanks onstage as she is honored as the Citizen of the Year at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Co-chair Sen. Albert Kookesh introduces her at right.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Delegates applaud a keynote address by Carol Wren of Cook Inlet Tribal Council at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Carol Wren of Cook Inlet Tribal Council addresses delegates at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News First Lady Sandy Parnell delivers an impassioned plea to work to stop sex trafficking in Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Delegates listen to an address by First Lady Sandy Parnell at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Gov. Sean Parnell addresses the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Gov. Sean Parnell, right, and First Lady Sandy Parnell introduce Mary Jane Fate of Fairbanks as the recipient of the Shirley Demientieff Award for advocacy on behalf of Alaska Native women and children at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Fate is originally from Rampart.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Gov. Sean Parnell and First Lady Sandy Parnell applaud after presenting Mary Jane Fate of Fairbanks with the Shirley Demientieff Award for advocacy on behalf of Alaska Native women and children at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Fate is originally from Rampart.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News AFN President Julie Kitka presents Gov. Sean Parnell and First Lady Sandy Parnell with a carved kayaker artwork at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News AFN co-chair Sen. Albert Kookesh introduces honored guests in the audience at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News President Julie Kitka addresses delegates at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii receives a standing ovation honoring him for his many years of leadership and collaboration on Native issues in his state and in Alaska at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Akaka, who first went to Washington, D.C. as a Congressman in 1976, will wind up his 35-year congressional career in January 2013.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Family and friends join Bernice Joseph of Fairbanks onstage as she addresses the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention after receiving the Citizen of the Year award Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Her husband Stewart is at right. Joseph, born in Tanana and raised in Nulato, is vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Battling pancreatic cancer, Joseph told delegates she is Òfighting the good fight.Ó
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News Peter Totemoff of Olympia, Wa. records video for friend Philip Akelkok, Sr., of Ekwok, right, as Citizen of the Year Bernice Joseph addresses the gathering at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News U. S. Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii offers an effusive Mahalo Lui Noa thank you to delegates for honoring him at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday October 18, 2012 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
Erik Hill

Under pressure from some members, Alaska Federation of Natives leaders said Saturday that a new effort is under way to overhaul and modernize the 46-year-old nonprofit.

"We look forward to this time next year sharing with you a new, modern AFN," board member Gregory Razo told the crowd on the final day of the annual convention in Anchorage.

The announcement follows warnings by some AFN member organizations, such as Fairbanks-based Doyon Limited, that they might withhold dues unless changes were made. One group, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, has refused to pay convention dues until it sees action on restructuring, AFN president Julie Kitka said in an interview Saturday.

A nonprofit that serves Alaska Natives in the Anchorage area, CITC is one of more than 400 organizations that AFN represents, Kitka said. "The big thing," she emphasized, is that AFN is undertaking a reorganization and that "everything is on the table right now."

Members have sought changes -- big and small -- to the AFN power structure for years. They've called for more tribal seats on the AFN board, changes to the convention voting process and term limits for federation leaders.

Previous attempts to modernize or rewrite federation bylaws failed despite a 2009 convention resolution that called for restructuring by 2011.

A prior AFN committee worked for two years to come up with specific changes, but the AFN board earlier this year voted against making the recommended amendments, Razo said.

One sticking point: An attempt to grow the size of the board from 37 people to 48 in hopes of adding seats for tribes and at-large members, Kitka said. "People thought it was too expensive."

Other changes now under consideration include inviting additional regional health corporations into the organization and adding a provision "that respects the sovereignty of tribes and makes it clear that AFN supports federally recognized tribes," Kitka said.

Placing tribes on equal footing with other AFN members is among the top priorities for Doyon president and chief executive officer Aaron Schutt, who said efforts to modernize the federation have been in motion for several years.

"I think it's just a process of evolution that we all go through in organizations," he said.

Doyon had "some serious discussions with AFN" about whether the company would pay its dues to the federation over the summer, he said, but those talks were not related solely to restructuring.

Razo said several groups wrote letters of concern to the AFN board, prompting a special meeting in September and creation of a 15-member executive committee that plans to propose changes to the federation bylaws or structure in December.

AFN membership currently includes 178 villages, the 13 regional corporations and a dozen regional and non-profit tribal consortiums, according to the group's website.

 

TERRORISTS DON'T WEAR KUSPUKS

Following speeches by Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young earlier in the week, Sen. Mark Begich told the AFN crowd about benefits for Alaska Native military veterans, health care and regular air travel returning to the remote village of Little Diomede.

Then he talked about "one of the most irritating issues we're fighting" in D.C.: Transportation Security Administration agents hassling people for wearing kuspuks as they pass through airport security.

"It's outrageous that I see over and over again our elders being asked to come into a different area to (be) searched because they have a kuspuk on," Begich told the crowd.

Begich said he recently met with the TSA director in Alaska and made the case that kuspuks "are not hoodies." "It's not something that terrorists are wearing," he said.

 

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION

Delegates at the three-day convention passed more than 40 resolutions Saturday, including a call for Native elders who are 65 years old and older to be allowed to fish for food whenever and wherever they like. The resolution, proposed by the Bethel-based Association of Village Council Presidents, said subsistence fishing bans jeopardize "the health, lives and well-being" of elders.

Other non-binding resolutions approved at the convention sought to:

• Promote affordable broadband Internet access in rural Alaska.

• Reduce the number of king and chum salmon killed as by-catch by the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska pollock fleets.

•Allow Alaska Natives to sell traditional handicrafts made with feathers or parts of migratory birds.

AFN delegates also voted for a resolution urging federation members to vote for a state constitutional convention on the Nov. 6 ballot. A convention would allow AFN to pursue amendments to the state constitution calling for a subsistence hunting and fishing priority for Alaska Natives and to expand the size of the state Legislature in order to ensure more rural and Alaska Native lawmakers serve in Juneau, the resolution said.

Delegates from Southeast Alaska unsuccessfully opposed the measure, saying that opening the convention to amendments would make Juneau vulnerable to a capital move.

 

Read The Village, the ADN's blog about rural Alaska, at adn.com/thevillage. Twitter updates: twitter.com/adn_kylehopkins. Call Kyle Hopkins at 257-4334 or email him at khopkins@adn.com.

 

The Village blog
By KYLE HOPKINS
khopkins@adn.com
Contact Kyle Hopkins at or on