Increasingly radical AFN loses its largest corporate members, ASRC, Doyon - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 28, 2020
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Increasingly radical AFN loses its largest corporate members, ASRC, Doyon

AFN protest

UPDATE: Doyon is also out of AFN, Must Read Alaska has just learned.

The Alaska Native Corporation ASRC board of directors has voted unanimously to leave the Alaska Federation of Natives.

No explanation was given by the corporation, which is the largest of the 13 regional Native corporations set up after President Richard Nixon signed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, or ANCSA, into law in December, 1971.

KTUU reported that AFN President Julie Kitka was putting a positive spin on the development, saying that AFN still hopes to work with ASRC.

But losing its wealthiest member has to be a setback for her increasingly radicalized organization; AFN was founded in 1966 but is a very different organization today under Kitka’s leadership. During the most recent convention, it became apparent that the radical elements had taken control. ASRC’s Chairman Crawford Patkotak (Ahkivgak) rose to speak against the climate change resolution during the convention in October, but his remarks were not heeded by AFN, which passed the resolution anyway.

ASRC has also recently joined forces with other business entities in Alaska under the banner of “One Alaska,” to fight the latest oil tax hike initiative called “Our Fair Share,” which is now in the signature-collecting stage. An increase in the oil tax would put a chill on the investment decisions still pending for major North Slope oil projects that are predicted to bring a renaissance of prosperity to Alaska.

During the recent AFN conference, the organization declared a climate change emergency that may have played poorly in the board rooms of the Native Corporations, some of which have businesses that intersect with Alaska’s oil patch. ASRC, based on the North Slope, has extensive financial ties with oil exploration and production, and is the largest Alaska-based corporation.

ASRC owns Petro Star Inc., the only Alaska-owned refining and fuel marketing operation in the state, with two refineries along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline that serve Alaska communities from the Interior all the way to Dutch Harbor. It’s one of its several successful lines of business that bring handsome dividends to shareholders.

Other Native Corporations could follow ASRC’s lead as they watch AFN use the youth from rural areas to push an anti-business agenda. AFN’s political focus now includes shutting down the oil industry due to climate change concerns.

ASRC is looking at how to grow jobs for shareholders and how to add value to Alaska’s economy, while defending whaling, which is an important quality of life issue for its shareholders, sustaining them for thousands of years.

ASRC endorsed Gov. Mike Dunleavy in 2018, while AFN endorsed Mark Begich after Gov. Bill Walker withdrew from the race. During the AFN conference in October, radicals disrupted Dunleavy’s remarks. He had been invited to speak but was shouted down by the radicals in the audience. It was an unprecedented act of disrespect to an invited guest, and occurred while First Lady Rose Dunleavy, who is Inupiaq, stood by her husband on the stage, in shock.

[Read: Governor shouted down at AFN by protesters]

That may have been the turning point for Native Corporations, who are voting with their feet. It signals a marginalization of AFN if the companies that finance their conventions decide to withdraw.

In an internal letter, CEO and President Rex Rock said the decision was to reprioritize the company’s efforts toward its home region, to focus on the needs of Alaskans on the North Slope, stakeholders, and communities, and the people the company strives to serve. He said the company would continue to work with AFN on issues where there is alignment.

Calista and Doyon also own oil-related companies. Must Read Alaska learned this evening that Doyon has also decided to leave AFN.

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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

  • Wow! This certainly changes AFN.

    • Doubtful…
      “The Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) is the largest statewide Native organization in Alaska. Itsmembership includes 191 federally recognized tribes, 171 village corporations, 12 regional corporations, and 12 regional nonprofit and tribal consortiums that contract and compact to run federal and state programs.”
      https://www.nativefederation.org/about-afn/

      • Doubtful? You think it’s doubtful that having the largest and wealthiest of the 12 regional corporations back out of AFN changes it? Doyon backing out is an immediate change that has already happened. ARSC backing out of AFN certainly changes AFN, it’s beyond naïve to suggest otherwise.

        • Pay no attention to the snowflakes.

      • Steve, this changes the game. I also think that Julie Kitka better dust off her resume. The tide is turning. What ASRC just did, is what other ANC’s have been thinking. It is that “elephant in the room thing”. I am personally and intimately connected to two Native corporations, which in turn link to the village corps. Believe me when I say this: With every loudmouth, screaming SJW beating the drum against everything, there is a quiet, thoughtful person, planning how to take care of themselves and the future of their family, their community, their state….
        .

        • Believe me when I say this: With every loudmouth, screaming SJW beating the drum against everything, there are three quiet, thoughtful persons, planning how to take care of themselves and the future of their family, their community, their state….

      • AFN will survive the setback, I’ve no doubt. History of Alaskan Natives, Sourdough heritage, and progressive initiative are more than the sum of their individual parts. 21st Century belongs to those who can stake that claim. The Big Money has no soul, but the Alaska I know does.

        “Good work is the key to good fortune.” – RUSH

  • The radical lib leader Natives have let the non-Native commercial fishing people decimate their salmon runs because they are too distracted trying to suck up to the non-Native Democrats for some crazy reasons?

  • Governor Walker’s PFD theft was the beginning of the end for AFN. To show unity in strength, AFN was always scheduled for a couple of weeks after the mailing of the PFD and the Alaska Airlines specials on tickets.

    This year I’m not aware of a single person that actually paid for their own ticket to AFN from this Village of 650.

    AFN has in my opinion, become a radical gathering of liberal firebrands.

    AFN keeps on supporting the PFD thieving politicians and tax mongers. AFN and all the leeches-on-life nonprofits are doing their collective best to destroy Alaska.

    AFN would never have existed without North Slope oil and the northern Native corporations. Julie Kitka is way too quick to forget.

  • When the disrespect of our governor happened, I commented here, and also in KTUU that AFN was on it’s way to becoming history, as a house divided shall not stand.
    The 12 regional Native corp., and all of the IRA villages need to stand together, just to survive. We are always just one bankruptcy away from losing our 44 million acres and the decades of hard work building our businesses and social services.
    If it wasn’t for a generous Federal government, granting us the right to sell our NOL’s (Net Operating Losses) to corp., which needed a tax write-off, probably half of our corp. and villages wouldn’t be here today.

  • Imagine that. Working people (and their corporations) are walking away from extremist radical organizations that would put everyone back in the stone age except the elitists jetting around in their Lear jets. Time for all people to stand up to insist all public and corporate funding end. Boycott sponsors…yes! Remember the words of the head of the Sierra Club, who flew a private jet in for public comments: ‘Donlin Mine would destroy the ‘quaint’ lifestyle of people who live in the villages’. She meant that by providing jobs, it might lift them from poverty and off welfare, a travesty that Socialists might allow capitalists to possess the wealth of their labor. We need to cut off the Socialists money and insist that corporations do the same.

    • Perfectly said.

    • Spot on!!!

  • Good.
    It’s good to see that these corporations are not going to align themselves with people who are determined to bite the hand(s) that feed them, but instead are going to continue to work toward creating in state jobs for its shareholders.

  • I have worked for both ASRC and Doyon and I can say that proudly. Both of these companies are most heavily invested in the oilfields. Both companies have grown and their shareholders all have benefitted from these resources. It would have been hypocritical if either one of them stayed with AFN. Either Julia Kitka has lost control of the voice of AFN or she agrees with a very small minority of share holders on where the AFN is headed. Either way this is a blow to the political power base of AFN.
    After how they treated Governor Dunleavy at the last AFN convention, I just shook my head in shame for AFN. I am neither a Native nor related to one but was so disappointed on how the Governor and his wife were treated.
    It looks like the birds are finally coming home to roost.

  • If they don’t sever ties, the SJWs will eat them sooner. Organizations like AFN are practically made to be radicalized. I’m glad they’re putting up a fight.

  • SB21. Here we go again. In the 1985 hit “The Big Money,” the indie rock band Rush says it the way it is.

  • Get Woke. Go Broke.

    • Audible laugh on that one! Nice!

  • The revolution has begun! Thank God. Julie Kitka needs to go if AFN wants to survive. When she didn’t step up and immediately denounce the treatment of our Governor at the last convention, that was the last straw for me. It was then AFN became a radicalized native arts and crafts fair in my mind. The convention prior to that they didn’t even denounce one of their own, that toppled the administration – even while simultaneously sponsoring resolutions admonishing those that harm native women and children!
    .
    Julie’s ‘positive’ spin on the news was one of fear. It sounded like the nervous response of a person that knows their days are numbered. I believe ASRC’s move is just the boost the rest of the Corporation’s needed. Maybe it will get CIRI to pull its head out.

    The truth is, many shareholders of the corporations have no clue where the money is made. They demand jobs and checks. Some demand the latter without the former. If they took the time to look at the hundreds, if not thousands of various contracts held by these corporations around the world, they would see the myriad industries that make up the wealth of the Alaska Native Corporations. Everything the SJW’s protest – the ANC’s have a hand in to make money.
    .
    A great point is made by the author regarding AFN using the youth of rural AK to push an anti-business agenda. It’s their “Greta” moment.

  • Getting closer to ” circle the wagons” time for conservatives. A united front presented by conservatives would sure look nice about now. It will be a necessity in the near future. Actually, that time is already upon us, and then some.

    • The job of Conservatives is to lose. Diversity is their strength. There job is to be sufficiently woke enough to escape being labeled something horrific while hoping to be the last to go broke as they sell out.

      • To I ART LAUGHING: Why do you hang out on this site? Keeping your eye on the other side? If this was Facebook, I’d label you a troll. Especially since you won’t even use a real identity so we know who you are. “Anonymous” is a good synonym for coward in my playbook. I’ve got lots of acquaintances who are liberal, Democrat or whatever term you want to use and most of them are not seriously mean and nasty. YOU however….

        • He or she (you never know these days), is a very lonely angry entity and has nothing better to do but to try to anger conservatives in some way. But it takes more than that. Like I said, just a poor excuse for a human.

  • In the 80s and 90s AFN stood for self-determination. Perry Eaton led a complete study and effort for Alaska Natives to not be dependent upon others, specifically the state and federal government, for survival. But that has all changed now. The rise of the tribal movement, lead by Byron Mallott and villages, turned AFN and its members into a dependent state. I was reluctantly supporting AFN and it’s cultural developments and support for youth issues. But when the AFN leadership did nothing when Byron Mallott was clearly found to be making inappropriate gestures and comments towards women at the 2019 convention I deserted. Until AFN cleans up its act with regard to its leadership’s “old” ways, I’ll not support them.

    • The corporate and non-profit organizations out here have become so dependent on handouts for their survival, they not only applaud, but encourage and back the politicians that steal the PFD from the very poorest group of people in the State, their own membership.

  • Great article Suzanne. We love the truth. I would talk to the “Our Fair Share” people if you already haven’t. Not saying everything they have to say is valid, but they are worth a listen. Thanks.

  • Delighted! The number one role of Alaska’s Native Corporations is to increase shareholder wealth. AFN does not add value.

  • Wow! Maybe there is hope yet!

  • AFN has forgotten an important lesson: Don’t crap where you eat.

  • AFN has larger problems than this ASRC departure by itself reveals. Lackluster ANCSA corporations like Sealaska rely on 7i money from successful corporations to keep shareholders at bay. ASRC dividends keep Sealaska shareholders, and especially the soon to be shareholders from revolting. But tribal outfits like T-H are going entirely green, backing environmental extremist fund-raising issues like the Roadless Rule on the Tongass; even with the Roadless Rule lifted the Tongass NF will have large blocks and corridors between clearcuts and 1,000 foot and greater stream and lake buffers whereas Sealaska has much larger clearcuts with either no buffers or 66 foot buffers depending on the stream and the land classification (Trust lands are exempt from the state buffer requirement). The younger generation of ANCSA people have to wait a generation or longer for their shares and dividends so there is no downside to them following 16 year-olds from Sweden. Sealaska and its village corporations skinned off all their timber in half a generation while often giving lip service to deciding everything based upon look forward 7 generation. Senator Murkowski has been able to bring trades of more good Tongass timber for Sealaska clearcuts, but she has been unable to help the village corporations do the same (except for the Sitka corporation which has traded its stumpfarm for millions of dollars). The environmentalists and outdoors crew have drawn a line at establishing 5 new village corporations however, so Lisa cannot get that done. Meanwhile, corporations like Sealaska and Ahtna have been able to “sell” low value (below market) timber to BP as carbon credits, and carbon credits only exist because of oil drilling; no oil no purchase of carbon credits. Those two corporations alone may have sold $200 million by now, and their boards are eating off that income as the shareholders haven’t caught on to demanding it come to them as dividends. AFN avoids inter-generational issues, and that is why it had to allow the mess that was the convention in Fairbanks. The AFN convention next year falls in a big election year, but nothing came from the convention this year except a glaring lack of leadership. ASRC could form an alternative to AFN, and that would be best for shareholders and all Alaskans.

  • AFN President Julie Kitka and those who fallow her have only themselves to blame due to their radical liberal agendas.

  • When President Richard Nixon signed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, or ANCSA, into law in December, 1971 it was to be a settlement, but after accepting the deal Native changed their minds and wanted more and more and more. The radical left AFN will be the death of Alaska’s prosperity. ASRC and Doyon got it right!!!

  • They let Mallott slink out of a convention whose theme was sexual abuse awareness. They lost a chance to show they were relevant.

  • ASRC cares nothing for the environment or shareholders. They do not promote any job security to any shareholder, unless you are in the well known families. They promote only white people. This company only benefits non-native people. If you are brown ASRC does not want you. One of the top people stated I am a shareholder but I am thankful I do not look like one.. Petro Star Execs has frequently stated when he didn’t think anyone was listening, that only white people can run the refinery the natives just need to keep cleaning the toilets. Of course he denies that when the board visits the refinery. So AFN step up and look how natives are really treated by their corporations. Dividends to shareholders are pretty poor as well . 7000 per year is not improving any native persons life. I say follow the money ,the reason they left AFN.

    • Well, I don’t know how long you worked for them, but I never saw very many white people go beyond a local foreman, project supervisor, but I did see lots of shareholders hired, usually no questions asked, and they were given very good treatment. A shareholder could get away with a lot more in terms of getting disciplined, and allowed to come back, or just not getting disciplined at all where a white person might be. Overall, a pretty good company to work for and they paid comparative to other companies doing the same work. I’m white, and never felt mistreated. I understand the shareholder preference, and never had any issues with that. Why would they not do that? They were very good at taking kids who knew nothing and giving them a chance, and I always thought that was a good thing for them to do for their shareholders. I never felt discriminated against, or felt like i was passed over for a shareholder. Again, I believe that a Native corporation should give opportunities to its shareholder and would like not trust a corporation that didn’t do that. I generally had far more trouble from the white bosses than I ever did with others. They also had a nice match on 401K, gave out some bonuses, and their insurance was better than any other company I have worked for on the North Slope in the last 36 years, including one of the oil majors. I think ASRC has done a lot for its shareholders, and that is what they should do. I have heard good things about Doyon, and Calista. Also to some extent CIRI. I have heard most Doyon employees are very happy with their jobs, and that is how any company gets good contracts. Good and happy employees means they stay, and have experience, and therefore the company hiring them is more satisfied.

  • It appears easy to blame AFN for actions of ASRC. ASRC (or any other ANCSA corporation) would not exist were it not for AFN. Turning your back on the rest of Alaska Natives when you don’t get your way on one issue is totally wrong…particularly when your region benefited the most from ANCSA. I have seen regional delegates walk out of an AFN Convention when they lost a vote important to their region but they came back in recognition that Alaska Native unity in a state where urban communities reap most of the benefit from exploitation of rural resources. Disappointing but I understand the need to flaunt wealth!

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