More than 120 voting members attended the tribe’s Annual General Council Meeting in October 2015, electing three new members and reelecting two members to fill five open positions on the Executive Council.
Bernadine Atchison, Clinton Lageson and Wayne Wilson were elected to serve two-year terms as new members. Liisia Blizzard and Audre Gifford will serve two- and one-year terms, respectively, as returning members. Those five join Rosalie A. Tepp and Jennifer Showalter Yeoman to make up the seven-member Council.
After the meeting, which was held at the Dena’ina Wellness Center, the new Council elected its officers as follows:
Chairperson, Rosalie A. Tepp
Vice-Chairperson, Audre Gifford
Secretary, Liisia Blizzard
Treasurer, Clinton Lageson
Council member, Bernadine Atchison
Council member, Wayne Wilson
Council member, Jennifer Showalter Yeoman
Before tribal members cast their ballots, they had an opportunity to make comments from the floor. Much of the discussion revolved around the recent removal of Mary Ann Mills and Susie Wells from the Council. Mills and Wells addressed the audience.
Tribal leadership also offered reports highlighting the past year across the tribe.
Executive Director Jaylene Peterson-Nyren said the tribe is in a strong position financially, with its facilities and in many other areas as it continues to grow.
She said representatives from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust recently traveled from the Lower 48 to visit the Dena’ina Wellness Center, an indication that the tribe is being noticed not just locally but also beyond.
“It meant so much that 40 trustees from around the nation would come and see little old us,” Peterson-Nyren said. “Well it’s not little old us anymore … It is a tremendous honor to be a part of a team serving tribal members.”
James Segura, Chairperson for the Hunting, Fishing and Gathering Commission, said the tribe is working to increase the tribal fishery’s quota.
Gifford, Chairperson for the Finance Committee, reported that tribe ended the 2015 fiscal year with $1.4 million in savings and has increased its total assets from $11.67 million to $57 million over the past five years.
Members also approved adding 51 people to the tribe’s roll, increasing membership from 1,583 to 1,634.
Throughout the morning, booths showcasing different areas of the tribe were displayed in the upstairs area of the wellness center, giving tribal members a chance to learn about the tribe’s many programs and services.