The Alaska Federation of Natives announced its two keynote speakers for this year’s convention, and both are from western Alaska. The AFN Board of Directors selected Megan Alvanna-Stimpfle to speak alongside Emil Notti.
Notti is an Athabascan from the Yukon River village of Koyukuk. He served as AFN’s first president and played an important role in the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971.
While her family is originally from King Island, Megan Alvanna-Stimpfle was born and raised in Nome.
“I feel truly honored and thank the Alaska Federation of Natives Board of Directors for their confidence in me,” Alvanna-Stimpfle said in response to the announcement.
She earned her Master’s in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University and served as a legislative assistant for Senator Lisa Murkowski in Washington DC.
“My generation has many options in life,” Alvanna-Stimpfle said. While she says there’s still a lot of work to be done to preserve and promote Alaska Native culture, Alvanna-Stimpfle remains optimistic.
“We are empowered with the political and economic tools to assert who we are as Alaska’s indigenous people and live our way of life on our lands,” she said.
Alvanna-Stimpfle is currently working alongside Kawerak, Norton Sound Health Corporation, elected leaders and the Native community on reforming sewer and water systems in the region. To do that, she says the system needs to be reformed statewide.
Alvanna-Stimpfle also serves on the Nome Port Commission and is an elected member of the King Island Tribal Council.
“AFN is honored to have both distinguished and emerging leaders speak to our delegates,” said AFN President Julie Kitka in the announcement of the keynote speakers.
AFN is the largest annual gathering of Natives in Alaska. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the convention, which will take place in Fairbanks between October 20-22, 2016.