Alongside many shareholders and friends, many of us still grieve the loss of our Board Chairman Henry Ivanoff Sr. Henry was the longest-serving board member and Chair in BSNC’s history. He experienced the downturns in our financial history, leading the Board and staff through difficult times.
He didn’t let financial setbacks define BSNC and its history. Instead, he rallied the Board and management to work hard and think creatively to find the means to move BSNC forward. His close friendships and the mutual respect that our Congressional Delegation and Chairman Ivanoff had for each other enabled both parties to work together to find ways to recapitalize BSNC. Because of his leadership and dedication to our region and its people, BSNC was able to move forward and build the capacity to better serve and benefit Our People.
As the daylight returns to the Arctic, spring is a reawakening time in our region. Migratory birds will journey northward, seals will be turned into dried meat while the blubber is rendered into seal oil, and soon herring and spring greens will be ready for harvest. I am thankful for all that our lands and seas provide, and proud of the continuation of our tradition of sharing our bountiful subsistence harvests with our Elders.
BSNC also mourns the passing of U.S. Congressman Don Young, the longest-serving Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives in history. Congressman Young was truly Alaska’s Congressman for life, and he leaves a remarkable legacy. He was a friend and tireless supporter of Alaska Native people, and championed many congressional actions that directly benefited our many shareholders and communities.
Congressman Young worked hard to help BSNC fulfill its ANCSA land entitlement by championing two significant congressional actions: The Salmon Lake Lands Consolidation Act of 2012 and the Conveyance of Port Clarence/Point Spencer through the 2016 Coast Guard Reauthorization Act. Congressman Young will be missed by many Alaskans spanning multiple generations. We thank the Congressman for his many decades of service to Alaska and its Native peoples.
Recently, many shareholders have expressed concern regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Our region is geographically situated near Russia, with just 2.5 miles separating Little Diomede and Big Diomede. During the Cold War, Indigenous people, many of whom were close family members, resided on the two islands, subsequently becoming separated by a geopolitical wall. Many of our shareholders and descendants have relatives in Russia, and they remain in our thoughts.
I am in alignment with the Alaska Delegation’s statements regarding holding Russia accountable for its aggressions, strengthening our military, and most importantly, our commitment to our Nation’s democratic values. While Russia’s buildup of military activity in the Arctic is evident, U.S. intelligence thus far indicates that Russia is not interested in invading surrounding Arctic nations. However, BSNC is taking this situation seriously and is engaged in dialogue with other Arctic Nations.
I thank all shareholders who took the time to complete the 2021 BSNC Shareholder Survey. We appreciate your important feedback as it helps inform BSNC on what matters to our shareholders.
As always, quyaana for your continued support and involvement in your corporation. I hope everyone has a safe and productive spring.
Gail R. Schubert
BSNC President & CEO