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Home  >  History and Culture  >  Ancsa at 30  >  Events
Commemorating the Signing of ANCSA; Hosted by the Alaska Native Heritage Center
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Emcees: Jack Zayan, Gloria O'Neil

Speakers: Willie Hensley, Adam Kroto, Julie Kitka, Barbara Donatelli, Marie Nash, E. Lee Gorsuch

Neil Nelson
Jack Zayan: Thank you. That was wonderful. Good evening, and thank you for coming. My name is Jack Zayan and with me today is Gloria O'Neil, and we'll be your masters of ceremony for this event.

To start off our ceremony, we would like to introduce you to a fine young man -- Neil Nelson, who will perform for us. Neil is fourteen years old. He is Yup'ik, Aleut and German descent. He is a ninth grader and has loved to sing since he was about five years old. He lives in Dillingham with his mother, Molly Nelson, and his sixteen-year-old brother, George Goodall. Neil has had very minimal training and he picks up music by ear.

(Neil Nelson sings "In the Arms of the Angel" without musical accompaniment)

Gloria O'Neil: Thank you, Neil. That was very beautiful. We'll hear from him later again in the agenda. I'm Gloria O'Neil and I just want to tell you that when I got up this morning, I said, "Ugh, did I … am I really going to emcee this?" You know, I haven't emceed before, so all of our seasoned leaders sitting in the room (and you know who you are), just remember that Jack and I are both in training. I would like to introduce Agnes Brown. Agnes will give the invocation.

Agnes is of Athabascan heritage. She's the president and chair of the COLA & Company, a family-owned business. Agnes has been a member of the Cook Inlet Region Incorporated board since 1974, and she currently serves as secretary. She chairs both the compensation and the AFN ad-hoc committees, and is a member of the audit committee. She is a director of several CIRI subsidiaries, a director of Alaska's People and Cook Inlet Tribal Council. Agnes is here today as a CIRI board member, and she is also originally from the village of Tyonek. Tyonek generously shared some of its oil exploration revenue in the late 1960s with the struggling Alaska Federation of Natives in the form of loans and grants. So, would you please welcome Agnes Brown.

Agnes Brown: Our father, you have given us this good land for our heritage. We thank you. As we gather to celebrate the legacy of ANCSA, we ask your continued blessing on our leaders. Be present with them where they work; guide them in wisdom. Father, please teach us to appreciate the dedication and sacrifice that have brought us to this day of celebration. Let us remember that our lives are as linked as Native people. May we ever be joined in unity and peace. Amen.

Jack Zayan
Jack Zayan: Thank you, Agnes, for that beautiful invocation. Our next speaker is a man who is well known to all of you, Willie Hensley. He is currently serving as manager of federal government relations for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. In 1966, Willie was the author of a document detailing the legal, historical, political, and moral obligation of the federal government to resolve the century-old ownership question of Alaska's 365 million acres. This document assisted in bringing understanding to a complex issue that helped propel congress to pass the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. Willie also served as co-founder, director, chairman, executive director and president of the Alaska Federation of Natives. Between 1966 and 1971, Willie made more than 120 trips to Washington to lobby Congress for the passage of ANCSA. Willie was a founder of NANA Regional Corporation, and served as the director for 20 years, concluding his career there as president. Prior to his employment with Alyeska, Willie was appointed Commissioner of Commerce and Economic Development by Governor Tony Knowles. Ladies and gentlemen, Willie Hensley.

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Willie Hensley

Next page:   Part 2 - Willie Hensley Pages:  1 2  3  4  5  6  7 

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