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10/23/14 - AFN Daily Newscast Elders and Youth, and a look ahead to AFN Convention

A look back at the 3-day Elders and Youth Conference

Delvin Anderstrom, of Yakutat, gave a keynote address after Elder Fred John gave his. Anderstrom's  nine-minute address was given in the Tlingit language, a rare achievement for a 17-year-old. He says some ideas are best communicated in their original language.

Members of the Tanana 4-H Club spoke at the Elders and Youth Conference, delivering a message similar to one they gave last year:  they don't always feel safe or cared for, and want that to change. They have a new message too. They oppose the legalization of marijuana, and urge people to vote no on Ballot Measure 2 , which voters will decide on in the general election Nov. 4. Tanana 4-H group members will speak at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

The annual Elders and Youth conference is hosted by the First Alaskans Institute the same week as the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention.

Coming up at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention

Thousands of Alaska Natives are gathering in Anchorage for the state's largest convention of any kind, to discuss issues of importance to Alaska Natives, and to vote on resolutions that will guide AFN in the coming year. AFN begins today [Thursday] and continues through Saturday.

In addition to hearing presentations and speeches on a wide range of topics, representatives of tribes, regional non-profit organizations, and Native for-profit corporations will vote on resolutions Saturday. Among them are resolutions endorsing candidates Sen. Mark Begich for re-election, Bill Walker for Governor, and Byron Mallott (a former chair of AFN) for Lt. Governor. 

The outcome is far from certain, however; even the AFN co-chairs are divided. AFN co-chair Tara Sweeney of Barrow is co-chair of the campaign of Senatorial candidate Dan Sullivan. AFN co-chair Ana Hoffman of Bethel supports the incumbent, Sen. Begich.

AFN President Julie Kitka says a press release from the Alaska Democratic Party got it wrong when it said another Dan Sullivan, this one the Mayor of Anchorage and a candidate for the office Lt. Governor, was skipping AFN. She says staff miscommunications led to him not being able to speak at the same time as his opponent in the Lt. Gov. race. Sullivan was rescheduled to speak on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Candidate Byron Mallott will speak Friday at 3:30 p.m. The Anchorage Mayor will also give opening remarks to the Convention on Thursday.

Speakers at this year's AFN will cover a wide range of topics, from co-management of fish and game, economic development, and violence against children to education, and health. Presenters include representatives of the U.S. departments of Interior and Justice, the National Congress of American Indians, and statewide Native leaders such as Rosita Worl, head of the Sealaska Heritage Institute; Myron Naneng, president of the Alaska Association of Village Council Presidents; and Evon Peter, the new director of the University of Alaska's rural campuses. AFN will also present awards for parenting, cultural knowledge, outstanding hunter and fisher, and in other areas.

You can hear it all on KNBA, 90.3 FM, which is broadcasting the AFN Convention live Gavel-to-Gavel. Tune to hear reports by KNBA News Director Joaqlin Estus and National Native News producer and host Antonia Gonzales. Also, KNBA coverage will include special AFN newscasts by Emily Schwing of KUAC, and translations of her newscasts in the Tlingit, Inupiaq, Yup'ik, and Athabascan languages.