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OCTOBER 17, 2014

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Anchorage, Alaska − 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the Conference and the 10th year First Alaskans Institute has been responsible for hosting this dynamic convening that brings our Elders and youth together to help ensure cultural continuity and knowledge exchange, while deepening the relationships of our Alaska Native peoples across the state. The Conference opens on Monday, October 20th thru Wednesday, October 22nd, kicking off what we have come to call Native New Year! It is our honor to introduce our three powerful keynote speakers for this remarkable anniversary.

This year’s theme “Get Up! Stand Up!” recognizes our advocates and activists who fought for the empowerment and advancement of the Native community, and inspire others to do the same. Our keynotes exemplify this value in diverse and significant ways.

Fred John Jr. is a strong advocate for Alaska Native rights. Born to Fred John Sr., the last traditional chief of Mentasta, and beloved Native rights advocate Katie John, he was raised in the traditional lifestyle as the sixth child of 14 biological and six adopted children. After Katie John passed in 2013, Fred found himself on the forefront continuing to protect her legacy while carrying on the traditions of the Athabascan culture. He will share his personal story and how he will continue his family’s legacy throughout his journey of life.

Devlin Anderstrom or Shaakuéesh, is Kwáashk’ikwáan from the Moon House, Dits’i’iltsiin from the Copper River area. He was born in Anchorage, Alaska and raised in Yakutat. He is Tlingít, Ahtna, Tanacross and Iñupiaq. Demonstrating striking leadership and poise in his community, he is a dancer and speaker for the Mount Saint Elias Dancers group. He is a senior at Yakutat High School and works for the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe and Sealaska Heritage Institute as a Tlingit Language apprentice.

Shoni Schimmel is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, a point guard for the WNBA Atlanta Dream, and the WNBA All-Star MVP. She will speak with her parents Rick Schimmel and Ceci Moses about her journey to becoming a professional athlete. She is heralded as an inspiration not only to aspiring WNBA and NBA players, but also to those who wish to contribute to their home communities, inspiring youth to pursue their dreams.

Pre-registration to attend the conference is available online through today, October 17th, or in person at the Conference. You may also watch the television broadcast live on GCI channel 1 or,360North, and the webcast at firstalaskans.org. The conference program and other information can also be found on our website.

The Elders & Youth Conference is generously funded by various individual and corporate sponsors across the state. Please visit our website for a complete listing. There are still opportunities to sponsor the Conference or support the appearance of the Schimmel Family. All support is very much welcomed and appreciated. Contact Emily Tyrrell for more information.

FAI is a statewide non-profit organization whose vision is Progress for the next 10,000 years…

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