The packets are on their way to Calista Corporation shareholders. Calista Director of Communications Thom Leonard says that information for the annual meeting in July will go in the mail Friday, May 22, and arrive in electronic mailboxes that afternoon.
“About 2,000 shareholders have opted to get the information by e-mail, so look for your email this Friday around noon," Leonard said.
Originally planned to be held Tuluksak on July 3, this year’s annual meeting for the regional Native corporation is going on as scheduled, but not in the village. Due to the pandemic, it is taking place on the website CalistaVote.com. The packets sent out to shareholders have information on how to use their individual personal identifications, or PINS, to both vote and use the computer to watch and participate in the annual meeting, which begins at 1 p.m. on July 3. The virtual meeting will be able to accommodate more shareholders than the 200 to 300 that normally attend Calista’s annual shareholder’s meeting.
“By having the meeting this year on CalistaVote.com, theoretically hundreds, or possibly even thousands of shareholders will tune in," Leonard said.
Calista does not have plans to provide a conventional phone link to the annual meeting due to the difficulty of limiting that participation to shareholders. Leonard said that the corporation is trying to figure out how to provide people without internet a way to access the meeting, but has not found a solution yet. For now, it’s the internet or nothing. That may be tough for many shareholders who live in the bush with limited connectivity.
Voting on the resolutions and new board members will take place electronically and by mail at the annual meeting. Leonard said that very few people ever vote in person at Calista’s annual meetings. There will be no real-tme voting, however, because of the contraints doing the meeting online.
“Just to give an example, nearly 10,000 shareholders voted last year, and the number of people voting in person, less than 20," Leonard said.
Those shareholders who don’t want to vote on the web can send their proxy ballots in the mail, but they have to do it soon. The ballot has to physically arrive at Calista before June 29 to be counted.
Calista has also been exploring the idea of working to create a new federally recognized regional tribal organization. Leonard told KYUK that the corporation is responding to a request from some of its shareholders.
“This effort that some shareholders have asked us to support in having a meeting and a vote is different than the Nunavut effort. So those are two different efforts that we’re talking about," Leonard said.
Nunavut is an aspiring regional tribal government which has been operating in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta with few financial resources and scattered support. Leonard said that Calista has not rescheduled the meeting to discuss the idea after it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly said there will be real-time voting during Calista's annual shareholder meeting.