The 2020 annual convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives will go virtual out of safety concerns over coronavirus. The decision was announced Aug. 5, 2020 in a news release from AFN.
“It was a really tough decision, but the health and safety of our delegates, participants, and attendees comes first,” said AFN president Julie Kitka in a statement. “The high risk factors of holding a large, indoor meeting, with lots of Elders and delegates coming in from across Alaska, far outweigh the benefits of gathering in person.”
According the news release, the virtual convention will be scheduled for Oct. 15 and 16. There will be no in-person portion this year, but the virtual convention will include live presentations and pre-recorded videos from Native leaders and state and federal officials. Alaska House Speaker Bryce Edgmon will deliver the keynote address.
Later in the release, Kitka wrote, “Never has the need for responsive, transparent governance been more apparent than this year, with the COVID-19 global pandemic continuing to impact all Alaska communities.”
The theme for the 2020 convention is “Good Government, Alaskans Decide,” a nod toward the 2020 Census and the upcoming elections.