At its annual convention last week, the Association of Village Council Presidents gave out awards to members of the 56 tribes it represents. AVCP models these awards on similar ones given out during the Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention.
Two people won Elder of The Year: James Charles from Tuntutuliak and Evan Polty Sr. from Pilot Station. Charles spent years on committees and councils to guide fishing and hunting regulations. Polty Sr. served in Vietnam, serves in his Russian Orthodox church, and travels to communities to help families who have lost family members.
The Public Service Award went to Martin B. Moore Sr. from Emmonak. He has spent years advocating for rural Alaskan communities, including the federal Head Start program, and for subsistence.
Haley O’Brien of Bethel took home the Youth Leadership award. She is finishing up her senior year at Stanford in California, where she focuses on human biology. She hopes to return to Bethel and work in the public health sector.
The Culture Bearer Award went to two people: Scott Sakar of Aniak and Julia Sipary of Napaskiak. Fourteen-year-old Sakar sings with the Angyaraq Dance Group and is a trapper. He is described as an "Elder in a young man’s body.” Julia Sipary teaches in Napaskiak and advocates for the Yup’ik language, culture, and dance.
Juanita Treat of Bethel received the Healing Hands Award. She worked as an interpreter in hospitals for 52 years.
And finally, Ulric and Mary Ulroan from Chevak took home the award for Parents of the Year. They are raising seven children with a fierce love for the Yup’ik and Cup’ik culture and the ability to use subsistence skills.