From Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson <[email protected]>
Subject Elvi's Updates- November Newsletter
Date November 2, 2023 1:00 AM
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From Juneau to You! Dear Friends, National Native American Heritage Month, observed annually in November, holds special significance here in Alaska. As home to hundreds of Native tribes and the highest percentage of Indigenous people of any state, Alaska has deep ancestral and cultural ties to Native lands and traditions. For over 10,000 years, Alaska Natives have called this vast landscape home and stewarded its natural resources. Tribes across the state, from Inupiat in the north to Tlingit and Haida in the southeast, developed complex societies and languages that celebrated their close relationship with the environment. Even today, subsistence activities like fishing and hunting remain integral to Native identities and ways of life. During National Native American Heritage Month, we reflect on the immense contributions of Alaska's Native peoples, historically and today. We honor the resilience of tribes that have persevered despite immense hardships, maintaining their cultural practices and passing down traditional knowledge through generations. And we recognize the vital role Native languages, arts, and governance structures play in Alaska's present and future. Most of all, this month is an opportunity to educate ourselves on the rich diversity of Native cultures across our state and beyond. By learning more about our indigenous roots, we can better understand and appreciate Alaska's Native place names, foods, stories, and artistic traditions woven into the fabric of our communities. This heritage deserves to be celebrated and nurtured for generations to come. Alaska Native Heritage Month is officially recognized in Alaska through state law. In 2019, the Alaska State Legislature unanimously passed House Bill 126, which created Alaska Statute 44.12.157 to designate November as Alaska Native Heritage Month. This statute honors the essential role Indigenous peoples have played in shaping Alaska's history and culture. It recognizes Native tribes as the original inhabitants and caretakers of this land for millennia before Western contact. By establishing Alaska Native eritage Month through legislation, the state formally pays tribute to the enduring contributions of Alaska's Native peoples. The statute encourages all Alaskans to reflect on traditional Native knowledge and practices. It also promotes continued appreciation and understanding of Indigenous heritage throughout the month of November each year. The passage of this law demonstrates Alaska's commitment to celebrating the profound history and vibrant contemporary cultures of its First Peoples. It is an important acknowledgment of Native sovereignty and resilience. Welcome to the Team Tasha Hotch, Jáx Kóoste, is Tlingit from Klukwan, in Southeast Alaska. She currently resides in Mountain View with her son Patrick and her two dogs: Bella and Coco. Tasha has a variety of lived experiences from stevedoring and heavy-duty mechanics to human resources trainer, health care professionals, and softball coaches. She went back to school as a non-traditional student while working full time and obtained her BS in Technical Management, then MBA with a focus in Project Management, and a Certificate in Alaska Native Executive Leadership. Tasha has been recognized as an Alaska top 40 under 40 and was the 2021 Alaksa State Fair Cultural Ambassador. Her hobbies include cooking, playing cards, fantasy football, and volunteering in her community. Fun fact: When growing up Tasha’s family used to settle disputes by arm wrestling---this continues to be an option for “winning” an argument. In the Community Recognizing the shortage of attainable housing in all areas of the Municipality, the Anchorage Assembly has made Housing Action one of its top priorities in 2023. The talk kicks off Housing Action Week, a series of community events and discussions on the topic of the future of housing in Anchorage, which culminates in the Community Housing Action Summit on Friday, November 3. I had the honor of attending the initial event at the Anchorage Chamber's Make it Monday event. This weekend, I joined several people for a celebration of Filipino culture and heritage. Journalist Shayne Nuesca, documentarian Joshua Albeza Branstetter and community builder Tasha Elizarde, presented Mana at the Anchorage Museum as an audio-visual archive honoring Alaska’s Filipino elders through photos and stories sourced from Filipinos across Alaska. Alaska Federation of Natives estimates 6,000 attended the annual event. The event was open and free to the public, a highlight for many was the Arts and Crafts/Exhibitors on the first floor everyone from Alaska Native Artists, Universities, Alaska Native Corporations to the US Census made up the 261 tables. Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the Anchorage Turnagain Social Club. Turnagain Social Club is an adult day center that provides therapeutic activities, personal care, supervision, nursing services, transportation, and meals, for those who are disabled or seniors that are ages 55 and older. It is located in the former Alaska Club building on Tudor Road. October 25th, is African-American Soldiers’ Contribution to Building the Alaska Highway Day. This long overdue recognition came 75 years after the African-American soldiers heroically completed building of the highway. Their efforts led to desegregation of the U.S .Army first, and then the entire US military. It’s for this reason the Alaska Highway is also called “the road to civil rights” and is a piece of history we should all know and celebrate. Help Needed  The Alaska State Senate is looking for interested individuals to serve as Senate floor staff for the 2nd session of the 33rd Alaska State Legislature. These are full-time, seasonal, salaried positions. They run from approximately January 8, 2024 until early to mid-May, with an option to stay on for any special sessions. All full-time employees receive medical, retirement, and leave benefits. Salaried employees do not receive compensatory time or overtime and are on call seven days per week. Starting pay is range 13A ($1,838.40 bi-weekly / $22.98 hour). Housing accommodations are not provided, and each employee must secure his/her own accommodations in Juneau. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and hold an Alaska Driver's License. Floor staff are on call in the Senate Chamber each day of the legislative session to provide non-partisan services and support to legislative members, including: • Supervising access to the Chamber and galleries. • Document distribution • Maintenance of Chamber materials and other documents. • Preparing committee rooms for legislative hearings. • Building tours. • Driving the legislative vehicles as requested. Interested individuals should send a resume and Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles driving record to the Senate Sergeant at Arms. Email resume and driving record to: Matt Simpson Senate Sergeant at Arms [email protected] If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to my office at: Besse Odom Chief of Staff 907-269-0174 Tasha Hotch Legislative Aide 907-269-0155  Jeff Stepp Legislative Council Aide 907-465-4930 Send us an Email Follow Me on Facebook Follow Me on Twitter I’m Senator Elvi, always..... "Listening and Representing Your Interests!” Alaska Senate Democrats | Capitol Building, 4th Avenue & Main Street, Juneau, AK 99801 Unsubscribe [email protected] Constant Contact Data Notice Sent by [email protected]
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