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By Elroy Edenshaw, Jr.


May 01, 2005

I would like to say thank you to the many persons who devoted themselves and contributed to a very successful Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Annual General Assembly held in Ketchikan Alaska April 20-23, 2005.

First and foremost, I would like to say a special thank you to all the elders that attended. The theme for this year's general assembly was "Honoring our Elders and Empowering Our Youth". This year's General Assembly Tribal hostess was Alma Cook from Hydaburg and her Haida name is Kai it' gwaas and she is from the Eagle/Beaver clan. The Tribal Host was Raymond Roberts from Ketchikan whose Indian name is Swaa'sk and he is from the Flicker House "Koon Hit," dei kuiu kwaan. I would also like to give a special recognition to Mark Jacobs Jr. the first Executive Council member Emeritus. Our elders hold vast knowledge of our history and demonstrate this everyday. And we as a chapter (Ketchikan) would like to say thank you to our elders and we will always respect you for the many years of dedication and hard work to empower Southeast Alaska natives.

I would also like to recognize and honor our Southeast Alaska Native Veterans and the Color Guard that Willard Jackson organized.

Thank you to all the staff from Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska for all their hard work before, during, and after this General Assembly. Throughout the year staff from Central Council office in Juneau would come to Ketchikan and meet with our chapter to update and answer any questions we might have about hosting the General Assembly. Dana Ruaro and her staff answered every e-mail and responded to every question with respect and meaningful dialog. Thank you to the staff that traveled to Ketchikan for us as chapters recognize this took away from your personal lives and families in Juneau.

Sometimes success is measured by awards and public recognition. I would like to honor and recognize our delegates from Ketchikan for their hard work every month these past few years. Our chapter's strength comes from those that serve unselfishly and faithfully with a strong sense of reasonability to the chapter's success. They are the delegates that take the time to fulfill the responsibility of serving without conditions. Ketchikan should be proud that we as a chapter have a well balanced chapter of experienced and young driven leadership. I would like to say thank you to our Ketchikan chapter Delegates, Robert Sanderson Jr., Martha Johnson, Thurston Ketah, Stephanie Rainwater-Sande, Carrie James, Merle Hawkins, and Pauline Foley. Their combined work allowed the Ketchikan chapter to be awarded "Large Community of the Year". Our chapter also raised over $500.00 for the Charles Nelson Scholarship, and Stephanie Rainwater-Sande was runner-up for citizen of the year. Merle Hawkins interviewed and advocated to Central Council to select Ray Roberts from Ketchikan to be the host. Martha Johnson and Robert Sanderson organized a dance that was successful. Ketchikan also is the home of Central Council's new youth representative, Jordan Skan who was nominated by Merle Hawkins. Ketchikan Chapter also presented President Edward K. Thomas with a gift for his service to the native community. In addition, Pauline Foley, Carrie James and I worked on resolutions to be submitted by our chapter, which all passed. And the over all picture for our Ketchikan Chapter is that our chapter is strongly supported by the whole body of delegates of Central Council. Our chapter's abilities to advocate and press Ketchikan's T&H citizens concerns to Central Council are respected. Because our delegates understand tribal issues of today and seek solutions by producing resolutions and obtaining information to support positive policy for Central Council we can look forward to more success in the future.

One and last thank you to all the delegates, to the Executive Council, and President Edward K. Thomas of Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska for their support and leadership.

Thank you,

Elroy C. Edenshaw, Jr.
Ketchikan T&H Chapter President
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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