Governor interrupted by loud protesters during AFN - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, November 27, 2020
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Governor interrupted by loud protesters during AFN

AFN Protesters

UNPRECEDENTED BOOING, CHANTING, DRUMMING

The welcome that Gov. Michael Dunleavy received at AFN was so rude that finally Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Co-Chair Will Mayo came back up to the stage, interrupted the governor during his speech, and scolded the protesters into desisting.

But they had achieved their goal of taking away his time on stage, drowning him out, and making their protest the news story of the day. It was “mission accomplished” for the Recall Dunleavy campaign, which has a booth in the convention hallway.

The booing began before the governor even reached the microphone. He soldiered on through his remarks, as members of the audience rose, raised their fists, and turned their backs on him, while others held “Recall Dunleavy” signs. Then the chanting began, and the drums.

It was unprecedented. No governor in Alaska has ever been treated this way at the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention. And it was ironic, as the most spoken word at the microphone in the morning was “Welcome.”

Dunleavy continued to speak, trying to ignore the disruption. He was talking about how his administration was focusing on solving cold cases, including those of murdered Native women. He was talking about clearing the backlog of rape kits. He was taking about recruiting more troopers and village public safety officers for rural communities. But his concentration was clearly affected, and he wasn’t heard by the audience over the protests. His wife, Rose Dunleavy, stood nearby him, her hands in a knot.

Will Mayo calls the convention into order so Gov. Dunleavy can resume his remarks, while Rose Dunleavy looks on.

Mayo finally had to step up and intervene. He reminded the audience that Dunleavy was their guest and that it’s the Native way to treat guests with respect.

“When we gather together and we invite somebody into our house we do it out of respect and we do it with kindness in the native way,” Mayo admonished.

“I respect your right to protest … I am going to ask you with respect to please express your views at the voting booth, express your beliefs in a constructive way and don’t come into our house and disrespect our guest,” he said. The majority of the audience applauded Mayo’s remarks.

Mayo continued: “Governor, we asked you and invited you to come. We asked you from a good heart. We are not here to attack you. We may express differences. We would like to ask you to continue your address.”

The crowd settled and was mainly non-disruptive during the rest of Dunleavy’s remarks, although loud talking continued.

After the governor concluded to polite applause, Rose Dunleavy presented the Shirley Demientieff Award to the “Coaching Boys into Men” program in Kake. But she appeared shaken, and soldiered through her presentation, clearly upset by the AFN treatment of her husband of 31 years, the father of her children. The entire presentation ceremony featured a video that focused on the theme of teaching young people “respect.”

Julie Kitka, executive director of AFN, then thanked the governor and first lady, and gave them courtesy gifts, in the tradition of AFN. But she, as the leader of the statewide organization, did not apologize for their treatment or her management of the convention.

It was well-known for days in advance that there would be a major disruption , and Kitka took no responsibility for not providing a courteous and safe environment.

Afterward, Aaron Schutt, president and CEO of Doyon, the Alaska Regional Native Corporation in the Interior, rose to admonish the protesters: “In no case should there ever be disrespect of our guests or disrespect of each other.”

Chief Victor Joseph of Tanana Chiefs Conference then took the microphone and apologized to the governor and first lady.

“As leaders of the Interior, when Will Mayo came up to say his strong words, I felt the need to come up and stand beside him. As our elders taught us, they taught us respect, how to treat our guests. Whether we like him or not, whether I agree with or not, we always treat people in good way. That didn’t happen today. From me to our governor and first lady, I apologize.”

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Doesn’t surprise me. There isn’t much respect in many of their villages to each other. Perhaps this is the best display of displaced anger ever witnessed in Alaska. Things never improve when you always blame others for your dysfunctional life.
    Sorry to say many of the respectable elders have failed in passing down their values to the next generation. Making it even worse it was done to a strong and wonderful Native woman who spent her life in a village.

  • Thank you, Chief Victor Joseph of the Tanana Chiefs Conference for showing statesmanship, courtesy and dignity to our governor. Thanks.

  • “It was unprecedented. No governor in Alaska has ever been treated this way at the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention.” The crux of this situation is right here IMO. Pretty clear that these protestors most likely did not vote for this governor-to that extent the argument for Dunleavy’s recall is he is disliked and especially by those not voting for him.
    However, what can’t be ignored is that this “recall” issue is looming large for Dunleavy IMO. Of course we’ll all get to see how the recall issue gets settled-until then I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of this type of protest.

    • The Left destroys everything it touches. It’s got AFN in its clutches Now.. this means some good, noble, and well meaning people will be maligned by association. Very unfortunate.

      • Agreed. We will see if our good Native people can make a good choice. Morrie Thompson would be ashamed; of that, I am certain.

  • Bill Walker, their preferred governor, is going to show up for the Good Government theme, but it’s doubtful that their golden boy Byron Mallott will show. The “respect” hypocrisy is strong at AFN

  • Rude, uneducated Native protestors, encouraged and coaxed on by extremely rude and psuedo-educated White Marxists. God bless our governor and his beautiful First Lady.

    • The real instigators of this rudeness are from National Resource Defense Council, Sierra Club, Trout Unlimited, and the No Pebble gang leaders, among several.
      They brainwashed some of the weaker members of our people, convincing them that they were helping save the environment.
      All this rudeness has accomplished is to destroy whatever hard-won goodwill we have gained over the years.
      Now the backlash will come because we have opened the door, tore down the thin wall of civility, and set the pace for the racist haters.

      • Thank you, brother Joseph. You have given us the truthful answer.

      • I am glad you see what is happening, Joseph. These outside agitators who don’t give a damn about your native people are gladly using them and undoing years of goodwill. They care nothing that relationships are going to now be severed. They care nothing about Alaskan natives’ future in economics, politics, and relationships.
        If only those weaker members would realize they are being used as pawns sooner.
        They may realize it years from now. But it will be too late then.

        • Joseph:. Thank you for calling it out. You are enlightened and a real testament to your beautiful culture. Here, the evil comes from outside sources and spreads within. Your knowledge and rationality places you higher than your Elders.

    • Your comment is racist, meaning you are racist

    • You are disturbingly racist.

  • Did anyone see Byron Mallot sitting in the backrow at the Carlson Center with several young gals?

    • Sure did! He was beating a drum and drooling. Not sure though if it was due to his age, or, the underage of the gal next to him.

      • Old Byron……a real role model for Native children. Put his likeness at the very bottom rung of the totem pole…..with his face mostly buried into the ground.

  • I remember a time when parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles taught children how to be human beings. Apparently this has gone by the wayside. It seems that some now believe it is acceptable to act like animals.

  • At least they are in Fairbanks and I won’t have to stumble over drunk, passed out Alaskans in and around the Hilton in Anchorage this year.

    • uhhhh, the Mecca Bar on Second Avenue is just across from the Fairbanks Marriot Hotel, which is filled with AFN attendees. Try navigating your way around downtown Fairbanks…..without walking in piddle or getting panhandled to death by those AFNers.

      • You are racist, I hope you live with that shame.

    • Oh no? They’re on every street corner and I presume they are Alaskan since they are here but I didn’t stop to check their ID.

    • You are disgusting. You should be ashamed of your racism. You are an old school person, absolutely racist.

      • Stop calling everybody you disagree with a racist. And put down the crack pipe.

  • I have lived in Alaska since 1963, Fairbanks, Homer, Kodiak and Kenai Peninsula and have had many Alaska Natives as friends over these years. The Democrat Party is behind all of this unrest. It is the Native Way, to show respect for everyone. This was a very bad example because we live in very sad times. I still admire All Alaska Natives even if their views are different than mine. Seymour Marvin Mills sui juris

    • Well stated, Seymour. I agree. Same thing going on in America over Trump.

  • It’s unfortunate that a few troglodytes working with Bryce Edgmon was behind this thing. They hate our Governor. They have really lost their minds, if they ever had one. Until we the people vote this hate mongering group out of office, puppet shows like this will only continue. Reminds me of a mad max movie. Inbreeds running things. AFN used to be an honorable society. I am ashamed that they let this kind of thing go on. Natives are better than this!

  • When there is no platform, they have nothing left but to be rude, recall, impeach, etc. As a lifelong, multi-generation Alaskan, I am sick to hear this.
    .
    Thanks to those that stood up and apologized and admonished the behavior. SHAME ON YOU JULIE KITKA for saying nothing. Maybe it is time for Julie to go. She has been at that helm for a long time and apparently has lost her sense of decorum if there ever was one. What a shameful show.
    .
    AFN has become a complete sh*t show. It used to be productive and filled with brotherhood and fellowship. A time to meet old friends.
    .
    And let me guess: their hands will be held out for their “free” whatever they can get their hands on. Most of which comes through the state coffers.

  • Oh no? They’re on every street corner and I presume they are Alaskan since they are here but I didn’t stop to check their ID.

  • At the convention, are there any classes that teach AFNers how to spell Murkowski? Any classes on how to spell Lisa?

    • Nope. Not this year. She has sold them out and is on Pebble’s side of things.

  • Since when was the Carlson Center the AFN’s house? Dunleavy is not their guest at the Carlson Center. The taxpayers of the FNSB own the Carlson Center. What’s wrong with these people? They need to show more respect and a lot more class to the rest of us hard working Alaskans.

    • Best comment yet.

    • Good point. Something I didn’t think of but glossed over in the “noble” rhetoric.

      • Not just taxpayers. Property taxpayers. The folks in Fairbanks who own their land and pay their way in the community. The true owners of the house. Not the renters, ……..the owners. And Governor Dunleavy and Rose are ALWAYS welcome to OUR house at the Carlson Center.

    • All of Alaska belongs to has always belonged to the Native people of this land. Land owned by the government is stolen from them through colonization. Sold by the Russians land they didn’t even own in the first place.

      • Larry: If you’re Native, your postings are reverse-racist. That Alaska was “taken” from us is ancient history. Our fortunes, our futures have become so closely tied to America’s, that we can’t afford to prolong the “Indian Wars”.
        You, and the others like you, have ground down that axe until it’s no bigger than a swizzle stick. We lost, get over it!

        • Yeah, he called me a racist and I am Choctaw. LOL.

        • Welcome to the HUMAN race, Larry. I’m full-blooded Aleut and I don’t share your attitude or your racism.

  • One of the key differences between the Leftists and non-Leftists is when they go low, we go high.

  • Sounds like we all want to treated equally , just some think they are more equal than the rest of us

  • Remember last year when practically as a group the AFN protested the Kavanaugh nomination? This was because THEY WERE TOLD what a bad man he was because a woman accused him decades ago of doing something even less than what one of their own leaders was doing for the last few years. No sane person believes that accuser now and understands it was a smear campaign.
    The key: They were simply told to hate him and they did in lockstep. This sadly speaks volumes of the gullibility of our native people.
    Today? They have been told to hate the governor too.
    What if a person walked around asking protesters (most) about what impeachable and awful things Dunleavy has done and tape it? It would sadly garner a lot of views of people eager to see folks say things like, “Well, I am not sure, but lots of things, you know. I am just holding this sign, see?”
    But that would be treating them like children and making fun of them….like the left is continually doing under the guise of promises of free stuff, respect, fighting racism, etc. AFN just doesn’t realize the pawns they have become and won’t step in.

  • What you all don’t seem to realize is how much damage Dunleavy has actually done to our beautiful state he vetoed over a hundred and forty-four line-item things that tore apart our University system grants that students had applied for and were granted causing over 80% of the University students with grants to look at other universities down in the lower 48 he vetoed Medicare Medicaid the child vaccination program the ferry system that’s what primarily caused the fairy strike in the first place was dunleavy’s carelessness of the ferry system you people just don’t understand Dunleavy has got to go he is not good for our state God knows what else that man will do every time he gets a win he pulls more crap that damages our state and the people of our state look at the big broad picture you all

    • Umm, have you looked at the graduation rate of UAA? 8% in a 4 year program is not much of a return. Lost education accreditation. Beautiful state. Bad budgeting by Bryce Edgmon.

  • Gonna be real tough to demand respect when you don’t give any. Perhaps it was always a one-way street. Cheers –

  • AFN is a racist hate group, the Governor should not attend their hate rallies ever again.

    • It would be like Obama going to a Klan rally. Not pretty, but AFN doesn’t have to be haters. Bryce gets the natives all stirred up, pulling the puppet strings for what????? People who are fiscally responsible understand.

    • That is so racist and ignorant. You are on stolen land. You right wings are so annoying. Calling AFN racist is racist.

      • Nobody called AFN racist. What we are saying is that there were some haters there, and they should stop. It’s not productive. Yes, I am a conservative Native. What of it?

        • Larry is actually a White Leftist, stirring up hatred. A race-baiter.

      • Troll. Got lurk on some other site.

  • How disrespectful and childish. These left protestors need jail time for things like this I’m sorry. It’s out of control, and borderline violent just like that entire libtard army is. Real Alaska is being targeted by these people, more and more show up here to dig in their heels. I say it’s time to push back and get them out of here. Alaska is not this type of state. Violent parties that the left subscribe to are not what this state needs. You can thank the media for all of this.

    • Standing is not violent. You are so dramatic.

      • He said borderline violent, which that is his opinion troll.

    • Yes, are system is under attack by radical left nut cases. The wash the minds of our youth with crazy thought of shangrila. They say follow me to the promise land, only that promise is hollow. Like the witch dropping bread crumbs to follow. Once you buy into their scheme, you give up your freedom.

  • The amount of sheer racism in these comments is appalling. If you don’t want to be stereotypical right-wing zealots, perhaps don’t act like them. Additionally, I doubt any of you would have opposed this behavior occurring against Bill Walker. Your hypocrisy is breath-taking and I cannot wait until the recall effort progresses

    • Obviously you’re not paying attention. No we wouldn’t have done this against Bill Walker. We have more style than that. We are just complaining that the person who is duly elected as the leader of our state is not given the respect that we are positive he is due.

    • You don’t speak for me, Emma. Full Aleut here.

  • Being Alaska Native in Alaska is like being black in the lower 48 in the 1950’s. The whites look at you like you’re not human. Pure hatred in their eyes. We’e a living reminder that this ain’t their land and their genocide couldn’t wipe us all out. Where do you think Hitler got his idea to wipe out Jews? He looked at U.S. history treatment toward Indians.

    • Knock it off. People like you always trying to stir the pot. To try to blame America for Hitler’s genocide is ridiculous and unpatriotic. But you’re entitled to your remarks that’s what makes us great. I’m Native American and I came to Alaska to help Natives. I’m not a missionary, I am an educator. Why don’t you try doing something nice to ease the suffering and pain that’s going on rather than jabbing a stick into a wound?

  • You seem to have misread my comment. It is a fact he studied how the US gov treated Indians. It’s outsiders like you that stir the pot. Go back where you’re from because Alaska doesn’t need idiots like you up here.

    • Better off with idiots like you? Hardly. Manifest destiny didn’t wipe out American Natives. I am proof of that. Hitler want to kill them all. Better get a refund on that history lesson.

    • So what if he had a book on how to kill Indians. He could have read his own book, and figured that one out. You trying to blame America for all the bad stuff that has happened in to world is nuts. People make their own mind up. They have to be accountable for it as well. Hitler sure was.

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