A Message from the President & CEO
Winter is a great time of the year. Our traditions, which include ice fishing, celebrating holidays and spending precious time with family, make the season special and memorable. As we approach a new decade, we have much to be thankful for. We are especially thankful for our Elders and shareholders who provided strong support to the Board and management as we worked to grow BSNC and our subsidiary operations.
BSNC held its 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Nome on October 5. On behalf of BSNC, I am pleased to welcome Cindy Towarak Massie to the BSNC Board of Directors. Cindy has demonstrated exceptional devotion to the advancement of BSNC’s shareholders and descendants through her and her husband’s philanthropic support of the Bering Straits Foundation. Cindy’s business experience and perspective will provide a valuable perspective to BSNC and the Board of Directors.
BSNC has already funded the BSNC Beringia Settlement Trust in the amount of $37,781,857, and issued a record-high dividend distribution via direct deposit and check on November 25, two weeks earlier than the 2018 dividend distribution. The dividend was declared by the BSNC Board of Directors in August and is paid through the BSNC Beringia Settlement Trust. Because the dividend was paid through the Settlement Trust, it is tax-free to all shareholders. In addition, an Elder dividend distribution of $1,500 was sent to all original BSNC shareholders who were 65 years of age or older on November 4, 2019, the date of record.
Many shareholders commented on social media that they received their dividends sooner than expected. This was because BSNC now offers direct deposit through the new MyBSNC Shareholder Portal. There are many benefits to signing up for direct deposit, including earlier receipt of dividend payments and other distributions from the Settlement Trust. MyBSNC also gives shareholders quick access to their shareholder information, the ability to conveniently update address and contact preferences, and view dividends and distributions made by BSNC. I encourage all shareholders to sign up for MyBSNC through the BSNC website.
There were many inquiries at the Annual Meeting about the Alaska Native Veterans Allotment Act. If you or your family member(s) served in Vietnam between August 5, 1964 and December 31, 1971, please contact Kawerak Land Management Services so that Kawerak can assist qualified veterans or their surviving family members in applying for a Native Allotment. BSNC thanks and honors our Nation’s military veterans for their service.
Subsistence remains critical to our Shareholders’ survival and cultural identity. We all know that Alaska Native people have a special connection to the land. With that in mind, we have been tracking the efforts of IPOP, LLC, a mining company that has announced plans to explore for gold in the Safety Sound, Bonanza Channel and Golovin Lagoon. They hope to produce a TV show based upon their exploration and development efforts. We stand ready to assist our villages which would be impacted by this ill-conceived project by working with our Congressional Delegation and other regional entities to oppose this effort.
I have been privileged to participate with AFN and other entities in a series of presentations about the Arctic through the Alaska Command Arctic Symposium. It is clear that the Arctic has been recognized as a critical and strategic location as climate change opens the region to increased marine and aviation traffic. I continue to advocate for an Arctic policy that supports strengthening national security and defense in the BSNC region, while ensuring that our way of life is not dramatically and adversely impacted.
BSNC is blessed to be able to provide enhanced benefits to our shareholders and descendants, and fulfill our mission to improve the quality of life of Our People through economic development while protecting our land and preserving our culture and heritage. I thank you for your continued support. I hope everyone enjoys the winter season
Gail R. Schubert
BSNC President & CEO