The Council Newsletter

CouncilNewsletter TCCThe Council Newsletter is the official newsletter of Tanana Chiefs Conference. It is distributed to over 5,000 individuals including TCC Tribes and Beneficiaries. This publication provides a way for TCC to inform beneficiaries on updates and services.

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Elders Work to Develop Region-Wide Protocols on Use of Chief’s Necklaces

August 02, 2019

Denakkanaaga Meeting held May 23rd to discuss protocols surrounding Chief’s necklaces

The Chief’s necklace has long been used in Athabascan culture to symbolize leadership. You often see the large, dentallium shell necklaces draped across the necks of prominent native leaders and chiefs during large meetings such as the Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention and Tanana Chiefs Conference’s Annual Convention.

However, in recent years, the necklaces seem to be showing up everywhere. You see them being presented to politicians, public service officers, and others who are not part of the native community. You see them being worn by those not in leadership positions. You see them being worn in grocery stores.

All of these situations bring up the question- are people forgetting the significance of these necklaces? But also, what are the rules of Chief’s necklaces? Who is allowed to wear them? Who is allowed to gift them? When should they be worn? Where should they be worn? What is their significance?

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The Path to Ch'eghwtsen'

August 02, 2019

Close your eyes and think about a moment in your life where you felt loved unconditionally. A time where you felt supported, understood, and appreciated.

There is a word for that feeling – Ch’eghwtsen’.

Ch’eghwtsen’, when translated from the Lower Tanana dialect, means ‘True Love’. The word is one that has been spoken at length by one of our most revered native leaders- the Late Traditional Chief Peter John, who described it as ‘pure’ and ‘powerful’.

For years, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) looked for a word that could accurately describe what they wanted to achieve. When Ch’eghwtsen’ was presented, it was exactly what they had been looking for – a culturally relevant word that embodied the fundamental concepts of compassion and empathy.

However, the road to Ch’eghwtsen’ was not straightforward. It took a lot of planning, preparation, people, and just a little bit of serendipity.

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TCC Honors Those Lost to Cancer

July 03, 2019

Cancer is the leading cause of death among Alaska Native people, which is why the village of Tanana passed a resolution in 2018 encouraging Tanana Chiefs Conference to “organize a walk devoted to remembering those we’ve lost to cancer, raising cancer awareness, cancer prevention, and information on harmful lifestyles.”

On June 2nd, 2019, TCC hosted the Khotr’elneyn 5K Walk/Run in Fairbanks. Khotr’elneyn is from the Lower Tanana Athabascan dialect, which translates to ‘We Remember’.

“We have all been affected by cancer either directly or indirectly and we have all lost friends and family to the disease,” says TCC Chief/Chairman Victor Joseph, “It’s important that we gather together to honor those we have lost, those who are suffering, and those who are in recovery.”

The event featured a special performance by indigenous group Pamyua, a cancer focused health fair featuring health educators from across the state, Alaska Native art for sale, and more.

While the event was free to the public, runners could purchase a race bib for a suggested $5 donation. All donations for the event went towards the Interior Alaska Cancer Association (IACA), an all-volunteer organization that provides support groups, financial assistance, and resource guidance for Interior Alaskans diagnosed with cancer.

TCC kicked off the fundraising with a $1,500 towards IACA. In total, $2,287 were raised at the event. Additionally, Galena raised a total of $650 during the walk in their community.

Attorney General William Barr Visits the Interior

July 03, 2019

TCC Chief/Chairman Victor Joseph participated in a public safety roundtable on May 30th that was hosted by Senator Sullivan in honor of the US Attorney General’s (AG) visit to Alaska. The group consisted of Alaska Native leadership from around the state. While the topics centered on justice and public safety, the common theme was clear: Alaska needs a public safety solution.
Additionally, Tanana Chiefs Conference had the honor of hosting AG Barr on a trip to Galena. Tribal leaders and youth delegates from the Yukon-Koyukuk region traveled to attend a listening session with

  • AG Barr, the US Attorney for Alaska
  • Bryan Schroder, the Director of the Office on Violence Against Women
  • Katie Sullivan, Director of the Office of Tribal Justice
  • Tracy Toulou
  • and several others from the Department of Justice
  • and Senator Sullivan’s and Murkowski’s office.

Village leadership in attendance included;

  • Leo Lolnitz , First Chief of Koyukuk
  • Katie Kangas, First Chief of Ruby
  • Elsie Vent Huslia Council Member
  • Mickey Stickman, First Chief of Nulato
  • Tristan Madros, First Chief of Kaltag
  • Charlie Green, First Chief of Galena
  • Chevey Roach, Mayor of Shageluk.

Many commented on the how there is often no response from the troopers, that the Chief is often the only one that is called when there is a crisis or alleged criminal activity.
TCC and many of our communities have received funding from the Department of Justice in the form of grants from Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), Victims of Crimes (VOCA), and Community Oriented Policing (COPS). These are competitive grants that with the exception of CTAS are available to law enforcement entities across the nation.

2019 - 2014

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