FAIRBANKS—The Alaska Federation of Natives has created the Council for the Advancement of Alaska Natives as an advisory panel to the organization’s full board of directors. The council’s mission is to advance opportunities for Alaska Natives, according to an announcement about the council.

CAAN will consist of leaders from the regional tribal consortia and Alaska Native non-profits, including First Alaskans, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the Alaska Native Justice Center, Rural Alaska Community Action Program, the Association of Alaska Native Housing Authorities and the Alaska Native Health Board. Kawerak President Melanie Bahnke and Tanana Chiefs Conference President Jerry Isaac will serve as co-chairs.

“CAAN’s structure will redefine AFN’s relationship with partners, communities, and tribes to better address the needs of Alaska Native Peoples,” Isaac said.

The decision came after two days of extensive discussion during the AFN Human Resource Committee strategic planning retreat about better ways to redirect energy and address the changing policies and priorities of the Alaska Native Community, according to a news release.

The council will replace the Human Resource Committee as the advisory committee to the full AFN board.   

The AFN holds its annual statewide convention in Fairbanks Oct. 24-26. The convention has most often been held in Anchorage but has been held in Fairbanks three times in recent years, in 2005, 2007 and 2010.

AFN is the state’s largest and most influential organization of Alaska Natives. Its annual convention draws appearances by the state’s top political leaders.

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