Spring 2019

A Message from the President & CEO

The longer days we are now seeing are a welcome and telltale sign of spring. This past winter produced record snow for some of our villages, and several others experienced a complete loss of shorefast and winter ice coverage more than once during this time. The sun’s reappearance brings renewed energy, an increase in time spent outdoors and once again, the annual return of our traditional subsistence activities, including harvesting migratory birds and their eggs, marine mammals, and greens. We are hopeful that the changing weather and ice conditions does not negatively impact our spring subsistence activities.

I am pleased to share an update regarding BSNC’s Beringia Settlement Trust, which was created after shareholders overwhelmingly voted to approve a resolution establishing the Trust at the 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. A permanent fund has been created within the Beringia Settlement Trust to grow assets and generate investment returns into perpetuity for the benefit of our shareholders and descendants. The Settlement Trust also serves to protect the continuity of existing benefits, including Elder distributions, bereavement benefits, and education. BSNC recently contributed cash and other assets of almost $30 million to the Trust as an initial funding.

As a reminder, Settlement Trusts are intended to benefit shareholders, descendants and Alaska Native people. Revenue generated from Settlement Trusts can be used to provide dividends, scholarships, bereavement benefits, and support cultural programs. As BSNC contributes cash and other assets to the Settlement Trust, we are able to reduce our current and future federal income tax liability. Because BSNC distributed the special Elders dividend in November and the shareholder dividend in December from the Settlement Trust, these distributions are not subject to federal income tax by our shareholders.

I am also excited to share information about a great career opportunity for BSNC shareholders and descendants. BSNC is offering qualified shareholders and descendants a one-time scholarship for up to $2,000 to be used to pay for training required for a career opportunity with Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO). The scholarship will help qualified candidates obtain prerequisite TWIC and U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariners certificates, and pay for air travel to ECO’s training facility in Louisiana. Meals and lodging will be provided to successful candidate applicants by ECO.

Once hired, training will start immediately. The classroom training lasts two weeks, followed by three months of on-the-job training in the Gulf of Mexico. Whether you are an entry-level candidate or an experienced mariner, each candidate will have an individual development plan to work toward higher U.S. Coast Guard licenses and pay. ECO’s state-of-the-art training center is one of the most advanced in the world. Staffed by U.S. Coast Guard- Certified Instructors, the ECO training staff will provide Alaska Native hires with the training and qualifications needed to build a successful career in the maritime industry. I encourage anyone interested in this opportunity to contact Brent Lirette at (907) 562-2136 or brent.lirette@chouest.com.

As May is rapidly approaching, on behalf of the BSNC Board of Directors and staff, I extend congratulations to our shareholders and descendants who are graduating from high school, college, and graduate school. We are all proud of your accomplishments and wish you well in your future endeavors. In closing, I want to acknowledge the lifelong commitment to BSNC of our former Director and President & CEO Tim Towarak, who recently passed away. I thank his family, and especially his wife Rose, for the many years that Tim worked on behalf of our People, resulting in much time spent away from them. Quyaana, and may Tim’s memory be eternal.

Gail R. Schubert
BSNC President & CEO

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