During the 54th annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention, held virtually this year because of the global novel coronavirus pandemic, 11 people were honored for their special achievements in areas ranging from health care to justice and education.
The list released by AFN included the following:
2020 Citizen of the year: Katherine Gottlieb, former president/CEO of Southcentral Foundation.
2020 Special Health Award: Dr. Anne Zink, chief medical officer for the state of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
2020 Denali Award: Lisa Rieger, whose work has focused on social justice issues facing Alaska Native people. She has served as chief legal officer of Cook Inlet Tribal Council since 2005.
President’s Award honorees:
Health: Dr. Christina Darby, a sleep medicine physician at the Alaska Native Medical Center and the granddaughter of Betty Anagick of Unalakleet.
Hannah Paul Solomon Woman of Courage: Long distance runner Carol Seppilu, St. Lawrence Island Yup’ik from Savoonga who now lives in Nome. She runs to battle obesity and depression and to share her message of hope with others.
Katie John Hunter-Fisher: Donna Folger, Tanana coordinator of the first 16 Mile Spirit Camp, a week-long culture camp that began in 1994, which still runs today
Roger Lang Youth Leadership Award: Samuel Schimmel, St. Lawrence Island Siberian Yup’ik and Kenaitze Indian, wo grew up subsistence hunting and fishing for his support of climate awareness and education as an Arctic Youth Ambassador for Alaska.
Small Business Award: Nikki Corbett, of Bethel, owner of a small sewing business, who donated over 350 masks to healthcare workers in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and beyond.
Gin’tth (Richard Frank) Military Service Award: Walter Hotch-Hill, of Sitka, who has been with the Alaska Army National Guard since 2002.
Glenn Godfrey Law Enforcement Award: Anne Sears, who got her start in law enforcement with the Juneau Police Department. She was the first Alaska Native female trooper hired and has served as an Alaska State Troper for over 19 years.
Eileen Panigeo MacLean Education Award: Paaluk Reid Magdanz and Qignaaq Cordelia Kellie, who worked with friends to self-funded two-week language intensive study of Inupiaq, empowering Inupiat to learn and teach their language.