November 2008

Vol. 3 No. 8 — November 26, 2008

President's Perspective: Thankful

Helvi SandvikAs a child growing up, my parents taught me to be thankful not just for what we had, but also for the people we had around us. It is the relationships in our lives that matter the most. When we turn to our memories, it is not the physical things that we remember, but rather the fond memories of people we shared our lives with.

Today’s business world seems large and out-of-control, with national debt numbers too large to fathom and complicated legislation that holds our country’s economic future in the balance. There is a great deal of bad news in the press of late about the economy, and there is plenty to be worried about as we gather our families around the Thanksgiving tables this year. But, there is so much more for which to be thankful.

Perhaps tougher times make us step back and take stock of all the things that really matter in our lives. As I read the paper and I listen to and watch the news, I hear Americans from all walks of life talk about how they are just going to focus on each other this holiday season and not necessarily on what to buy. In one radio story, a young woman was asked by the reporter if she was stressed about not being able to buy more for her family. She laughed a little then said that she wasn’t, because really, the bad economy was kind of a gift in a way–it was making her focus more on making things for and spending time with her family, and that felt good.

As I reflect on the past year, and all of the NANA employees who commit their talents to help our company succeed, I am mindful that for many of us the holiday season is a challenge. Some have lost loved ones this past year, and the pain of that loss is even more severe during the holiday season. Yet still, we are thankful that we were blessed with the presence of our loved ones in our lives, and the memories we have of the time we spent together. Some are approaching the holidays celebrating new additions to their families, thankful for the opportunity to cherish new memories in the future.

Every employee of our companies all around the world is a part of the NANA family. We at NANA are thinking of all of you. We share your pain and your joy. As I prepare for Thanksgiving dinner with my family, I just wanted to let you all know how very thankful I am for you.


Helvi K. Sandvik

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NANA Greetings from Around the World

Team Akima, ArizonaMcMurdo StationTeam Akima, FloridaAkima Polar Team

Akima, Hawaii

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An Interview with Willie Hensley

By Carol Richards

Fifty Miles from TomorrowWillie Hensley, the first president of NANA Development Corporation, was a strong voice in organizing the Alaska Federation of Natives, the fight for aboriginal land rights, and a co-founder, with John Schaeffer and Robert Newlin, of the Northwest Alaska Native Association, the precursor of NANA.

"I'm not a writer," claims Willie Hensley.Yet his book, Fifty Miles from Tomorrow, A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in December.

"I had never seen myself as a writer," Willie said. Yet some 42 years ago, while at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Willie wrote a groundbreaking paper for a constitutional law course taught by Judge Jay Rabinowitz. "Researching my paper, What Rights to Land Have the Alaska Natives: the Primary Issue, gave me an understanding of law, history and potential solutions for securing rights to our land." That year, 1966, Willie started to organize meetings to discuss the land situation. (He goes into more detail in the book.)

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NANA Family Gives Back for the Holidays

Carolyn Smith stands next to the campaign goal sign

Congratulations to all who generously donated to the NANA United Way campaign. As of this post 11/25/2008, we have exceeded our NDC company goal of $225,000 by roughly $500! You have made many holidays happy this year! Thank you for your generosity!


Shareholder Spotlight: The Loss of Words

Former NANA Shareholder of the Year, Ruthie SampsonThis month, the NANA Family lost a person who helped the Inupiat of Northwest Alaska find their voice – through their language. Shungnak resident Ruthie Lee Tatqavin (Ramoth) Sampson, wife of NANA Board Chair, Luke Sampson, age 54, died of a massive stroke on Nov. 16, 2008, at Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.

Read the Anchorage Daily News Article.

Ruthie was born Oct. 18, 1954, in Selawik. She was a professional linguist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She earned an Associate of Arts degree at Ellensburg College in Ellensburg, Wash. She worked for the NANA Regional Corp. at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Chukchi Campus for the Northwest Arctic Borough School District and KOTZ Radio.

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