Community Perspective

Community involvement vital for AFN convention

The earth makes another revolution around our sun and Alaskans become more aware of cooling weather and the sheer beauty of this time of year in Alaska. It is also time for the largest annual gathering of indigenous people in the United States, set to take place here in Fairbanks — the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention.

The convention will take place Thursday through Saturday at the Carlson Center. It serves as the principal forum and voice for the Alaska Native community in addressing critical issues of public policy and government. The convention assembles thousands of participants from across the state and provides a place for the Alaska Native culture and history to be shared through stories of resilience, experiences, strengths, knowledge and hope for the future.

Explore Fairbanks has assembled a team of amazing and dedicated individuals who are committed to providing AFN delegates the best Fairbanks has to offer. The Fairbanks Native Leadership and Community Committee been busy preparing for this event for over a year with numerous committees.

Many volunteer hours have already been dedicated to this event, but there is still a need and opportunity for the Fairbanks Community to participate. Visit bit.ly/2BdxTXc for information on the many volunteer opportunities.

The Fairbanks community understands that this is not only an important business event but it is also a time for the convention delegates to hear important messages from tribal leaders and keynote speakers and to hear reports from federal, state and local elected officials on matters of importance to the indigenous people across the state.

In addition to hearing about the important decisions that are made during the convention, I look forward to the opportunity to appreciate and participate in the cultural performances of Quyana and visiting the exhibitors and artists in the Customary Native Arts show.

I am proud of the work that our community committees have done to plan for this important convention and encourage community members to sign up to help volunteer and participate in the public events. We look forward to welcoming Alaska Native leadership, convention delegates, and special guests to the Fairbanks community for the 53rd Annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention.

Mayor Bryce J. Ward was elected mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough in 2018.

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