Archive for the ‘Sealaska’ Category

Alaska Natives issues more complex than black and white answers

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

juneau_empire_picAugust, 18, 2009, the editor of NativeCo.com, Morgan Howard sent a letter to the editor in response to a previous letter published.

This letter is in response to a “Letter to the editor” (August 11, 2009) by Gretchen Goldstein.

The author states, “Living in harmony with nature is not compatible with clear-cut logging” and “Unfortunately, the way they (Sealaska) make money often overrides their Native culture’s traditional values.”

Please do not insult Native people by simplifying our world into the black and white world of disaffected environmentalists. Why do anti-logging proponents think they feel the negative effects of logging more than Natives just because we’re the ones doing the logging? This assumption is a failure to understand the plight of Indigenous people.

No one understands the paradox of respecting the natural world and natural resource development better than us. We’ve been the stewards of our land for more than 10,000 years… we understand the concept of balancing our present day needs with unforeseen future obligations.

I am a shareholder of three southeast Native corporations – all three have practiced clear-cutting. I understand the realities my corporations faced and know that our leaders have never taken land stewardship lightly. As a videographer, I have personally seen the healthy second growth forest near the “small communities of Prince of Wales Island”. I have seen Sealaska’s silviculture practices first hand, from tree planting to stream studies. Sealaska is a leading expert in forestry management in temperate rainforests.

Clear-cutting has such strong negative connotations that few take the time to learn about the practice. I suggest reading the front-page article last week in the Seattle Times entitled, “New strategy to save forests: logging”.

In fact, I embrace our history of “clear-cutting”. Clear-cutting has saved us! Our trees have allowed us to be respected and relevant stakeholders in our own country. The foundations of southeast Native corporations are built on the revenue from clear-cutting.

The timber business has provided enormous positive contributions to the Native community. Sealaska’s timber revenue funded the creation of the “Sealaska Heritage Institute” (SHI). SHI is the primary driving force behind saving our endangered indigenous languages.

I understand some believe that no amount of human benefit justifies the commercial harvesting of trees. I disagree. Some contributions such as language and culture are so vital to our existence, that their loss would be devastating. Trees grow back, but once we lose our language and culture, they may be gone forever.

We lost the Eyak language last year. We only have a handful of Haida speakers left. Tlingit, a language that once dominated southeast Alaska may be gone in my lifetime. Time is running out.

The late Frederica DeLaguna said to me, “Without language a culture will die… It will be like what Roman culture is to us today”. If we can somehow save our languages, our culture stands a chance to survive.

Environmentalists talk about the importance of “biodiversity”, but what about “cultural diversity” and “language diversity”. Our Hemlock and Spruce may help us save our language and culture. Generations from now, our descendants will thank us for cutting our trees.

Ironically, we had to sacrifice our language to become citizens and vote… And now we’ve had to cut our trees to save our language.

These issues are complex and like many times in our history have made for tough decisions. It is our “Native Culture’s traditional values” that provides the ability to adapt and persevere through the rising tides of change.

Morgan Howard

Tlingit, Teikweidí Clan, Eagle moiety

Sealaska, Goldbelt and Yak-tat Kwaan shareholder

Joe Nelson appointed to Alaska State Senate (KTOO Radio Story)

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Joe Nelson KTOO journalist Rosemarie Alexander logs this story about Alaska Native Leader and Sealaska Board member Joe Nelson.  Please click on the “Joe Nelson Story” link below to play the story.  This audio was taken directly from the KTOO website.

Joe Nelson Story

Sealaska and Central Council sign historic agreement

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Martin and McNeil signing agreement The following is directly from their press release:

Bill Martin, President of Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council) and Chris E. McNeil, Jr., Sealaska President & CEO are pleased to announce that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on March 27, 2009 between Central Council and Sealaska. The MOU is a historic agreement and strengthens opportunities for shareholders and members of both Native organizations. The intent is to provide business opportunities that will meet mutual objectives, including exploring business partnerships and investment opportunities in the region.

“This is a challenging time for Southeast Alaska but there is potential for developing innovative and sustainable economies in Southeast,” stated McNeil. “Collaboration amongst these Native institutions represents a new model to discovering solutions that will strengthen our region and benefit tribal members and Sealaska tribal member shareholders.”

Sealaska and Central Council will work to identify and evaluate strategic plans then consider acquisition or startup of operating enterprises. The primary goals of the MOU are to:
Research new opportunities to  improve the economic conditions of and employment opportunities for the  Tribe’s members and Sealaska’s tribal member shareholders
Generate revenue for the Tribe and  Sealaska
Enhance the Tribe’s economic  self-sufficiency and self-determination
Increase benefits and employment  opportunities for tribal members and Sealaska tribal member  shareholders
Enhance Sealaska’s access to  contract opportunities

“During this struggling economy it is important that we obtain maximum funding for our region through the stimulus act,” said Martin. “I look forward to the Tribe working cooperatively with Sealaska to bring economic and employment opportunities to our tribal citizens and shareholders.”

Central Council and Sealaska will focus on U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) federal contracting and mentor/protégé programs, renewable energy projects, labor force training and deployment, tourism and community infrastructure development.

“The board of Directors, Sealaska management and our subsidiaries are working together to increase our economic activity in Southeast,” said Sealaska Director Tate London. “This MOU aligns well with that vision and is an important step that will build off the collective strength of Sealaska and Central Council,” said London.

Presidents Martin and McNeil’s vision is to jointly develop enhanced revenue for the Tribe and Sealaska through future partnerships. Sealaska and Central Council will initially focus on the opportunities available by passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus package).

MHP works on Sealaska Shareholder Information Fair

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Morgan Howard Productions was pleased to play a small part in the success of the 2008 Sealaska Information Fair held in Juneau, Alaska on November 25th.  Please view photos here.

Sealaska Fair

Jason Fujioka works with a Sealaska Shareholder.  Fujioka is the Director of Diversity Sales and Marketing in the Office of Diversity Solutions.
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Obama position may be filled by an Alaska Native

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Heather Kendall-MillerJackie Johnson PataDuring the Presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to establish a White House staff position dedicated to Indian affairs.  So, there has been some speculation in Indian Country about who will fill that position.  Today, the Anchorage Daily news talks about a couple viable candidates. 

ON THE MOVE? . . . Did everyone but Ear know that local Native American rights lawyer Heather Kendall Miller was a Harvard Law School classmate of Barack Obama? They both graduated in 1991.

Ear ran across this factoid when trying to check out rumors that Heather is one of two Alaskans on the president-elect’s short list for appointment as special Native American affairs liaison, a job he promised during the campaign to create. The other rumored Alaska contender is Jackie Johnson from Juneau, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians in D.C.

 Jaqueline Johnson Pata is Tlingit from Southeast Alaska.  She’s a director on the Sealaska Board.  Heather Kendall-Miller is Athasbaskan and a shareholder of Bristol Bay Native Corp.