On October 13th, the Tanana Chiefs Conference Full Board of Directors elected a new Chief/Chairman to lead the organization – PJ Simon of Allakaket/Galena. Five candidates ran to lead the organization after former Chief/Chairman Victor Joseph who had completed his two consecutive terms.
“I will work as hard as I can every single day to bring you the best service. Like I said, I want running water in the villages, high speed internet, law and order; we deserve this. Alaskan Native people are Alaska’s first people,” said Chief Simon during his acceptance speech, ‘. As we trudge forward, we have the intellect, we have the energy, we got the human resources, let’s work together to build the greatest and healthiest Alaskan Native people here in the interior. When I say I love you all, I mean it. I have always fought hard for our native people.”
Chief Simon was officially sworn in with tribal leadership from throughout the region watching. As former Chief Joseph bestowed a Chief’s necklace to Chief Simon he said, “It gives me great honor to put this on your as our new chief/chairman. Remember, you just don’t work it for one, you work for all in our region. It’s not just one area, it’s the full region. You’re going to start working for my grandchildren, our grandchildren, and our future. Do it with a good heart, as I know you will.” Chief Simon comes to TCC with years of knowledge and experience behind him. He currently serves on the EXCEL Alaska board, which provides high school students and young adults in 7 rural school districts from the Lower Yukon and Kuskokwim region with the necessary transitional skills and career exploration opportunities. He has served on several other boards including the Alaska Trappers Association, Bureau of Land Management Alaska Resource Advisory Council, as secretary/treasurer on Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) executive board, Chena Bingo Board, TCC advocacy committee, and in the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Water and Sewer focus group. Not only has he worked as a political advocate and First Chief for the Allakaket Tribe, he has worked as an alternate Doyon representative on the Alaska Federation of Natives board of directors. He currently has his own big game transport business, and has worked as an assistant big game guide for the Alaska Challenge Guide Service and Mountain Monarchs of Alaska, LLC.