Our nine member Traditional Council / Tribal Government, currently operates seven (7) departments: Health and Social Services, Housing, Education, Environmental Stewardship, Justice, Transportation, and Accounting/Administration, to serve the needs of our Tribal citizens and another estimated 2,373 Alaska Natives and Native American Peoples living in our service area, as well as the non-native community members living in Glacier View, Chickaloon, Sutton, Palmer, and Butte.
From left to right: Rick Harrison-Vice Chairman, Jennifer Harrison-Executive Director, Doug Wade-Elder Member, Albert Harrison-Treasurer/Elder Member, Burt Shaginoff-Elder Member, Penny Westing-Secretary, Larry Wade-Elder Member, Tah Jimsi Carmen-Harrison-Executive Assistant, Chief Gary Harrison-Traditional Chief and Chairman. (picture taken prior to 2011)
Albert Harrison, Treasurer, Elder: He was seated on the Traditional Council in 2007, and in 2008 he was elected Treasurer. Albert has been a constant support, mentor, teacher and volunteer for CNV since 1990 when he returned home after many years outside. While outside, Albert lived mostly in California with his wife and worked as an electrician. Albert currently lives in Sutton, close to all CNV activities and offices. Albert is a very active Council Member; never missing a council meeting, community gathering, or Elder lunch. Frequently, Albert can be seen visiting each department quizzing staff about their current projects.
Burt Shaginoff, Elder: He was seated on the Traditional Council in 1995. Burt, though known for his sense of humor and his quick-wit has always taken his job as Council Member very seriously. Burt is usually the first to question a new program or project’s connection to preserving our culture or rejuvenating our traditional life ways. Burt has a terrific memory and remembers many of the ways and stories, and can often be found sharing with tribal citizens and staff over coffee. In 2005, Burt took a leadership role in ensuring that the four-season community greenhouse was built. Burt volunteered 8 hours a day for more than 4 months, offering tools, building skill instruction and much of the physical labor necessary to complete the building project.
Larry Wade, Elder: He was seated on the Traditional Council in 2004. Larry, with his big smile, calm personality, and his strong sense of ethics, has been a welcomed presence on the Traditional Council. Larry is the “go to” person for many of the departments in the village. Whether it’s a human resources issue, design assistance with a building project, or advice on how to move forward with a project, Larry is always happy to help. The oldest son of Clan Grandmother Katherine Wade, Larry too holds a strong connection to ensuring our life ways are passed on; especially when it comes to conservation and stewardship of the land and its inhabitants.
Lisa Wade, Member: She was temporarily seated on the Traditional Council in September 2012 until the next election. She is the newest Council member. She has also been working for the Tribal government as the Health and Social Services Director since 2007. With her team, Lisa successfully re-openned our small clinic as a community health clinic in 2011. Elders hold a special place in her heart and she works tirelessly to ensure that we keep the Elders Lunch Program going each week and that they receive the culturally-appropriate medical care that they need. She previously served as the Council’s Treasurer in the 1990′s.
Penny Westing, Secretary: She was seated on the Traditional Council in 1996. Penny is the Council Secretary, and she is also a long-time staff member. Penny has worked for the Tribal government since we were federally recognized in 1996 wearing many hats; Tribal Administrator, Bureau of Indian Affairs Project Director, Tribal Enrollment Officer, Education Department Administrator, Health Department Office Manager and currently, Penny has been the Program Manager of our Indian Child Welfare Program for the past nine years. Penny is a tireless advocate on behalf Alaska Native Children and Families and was nominated for the annual Light of Hope Award in 2008 and won the award in 2009. This award is given to those who work tirelessly to educate and heal families and when necessary rescue children at risk. Penny’s wisdom, spirituality and sense of justice make her an invaluable council member.
Shawna Larson, Member: She was temporarily seated on the Traditional Council in 2011 until the next election. Shawna is the Alaska Program Director with Pacific Environment (PE) and she has been with PE since 2009. She is Ahtna Athabascan from Chickaloon Village on her father’s side, and Supiaq from the village of Port Graham on her mother’s side. Shawna’s previous experience includes spending nine years with Alaska Community Action on Toxics working on the Stockholm Convention, which is an international treaty that focuses on banning some of the world’s most toxic chemicals, also known as Persistent Organic Pollutants. Previously she served four years on the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council and was selected by the Utne Reader magazine as a young visionary. She has worked extensively in community organizing at an international, national and local level.
Doug Wade, Elder: He was seated on the Traditional Council in 2002 and was the Council Chairman 2004 – 2012. Doug is also a member of the Finance Committee. Doug leads with confidence, charisma, and a fantastic sense of humor. Doug spent much of his life working as an electrician on large and small projects and as a heavy equipment operator, experience that frequently sends the staff his way, when they are in need of advice on a construction/building project. Doug cares deeply for all the staff, Tribal and non-Tribal, and makes the time in his busy schedule to check in with all of them about their work on a regular basis. Doug has also been instrumental in helping to streamline council meetings so more work is accomplished in less time.
Gary Harrison, Traditional Chief and Chairman: Chief Gary was elected to the Traditional Council in 1984 and was named Traditional Chief in 1994. Chief Gary is the longest standing member of the Council. For the past 25 years Chief Gary has been an amazing and courageous leader. It is because of his foundational work on behalf of Chickaloon Native Village that we have come so far as a Tribal Government and that we are considered role models for other indigenous communities around the world. Gary has served on Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Tribal Justice Advisory Group, Office of Justice Programs, Justice Programs Council on Native American Affairs, Organization Of The American States, Arctic Athabascan Council, Indigenous Peoples Secretariat, Arctic Council, the Sovereignty Network, United Tribes of Alaska and the International Environmental Network. As a Council Member, Chief brings a passion and enthusiasm for promoting quality health services for all Alaska Natives, advocating for community and economic development projects that benefit the communities of Sutton and Chickaloon, and ensuring that our Tribal Government is recognized as a sovereign Nation.
Rick Harrison, Vice Chairman: was seated on the Traditional Council in 2004. Rick is also on the Board of Directors for Cook Inlet Tribal Council, a non-profit subsidiary of Cook Inlet Region Incorporated, providing a range of social and behavioral health services, substance abuse treatment, education, and job training services to Alaska Native and American Indians living in the Municipality of Anchorage and other Cook Inlet communities. Rick is also an alternate Board Member for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Rick is the youngest member of the Traditional Council and is also a member of the Finance Committee.