Speakers address participants in the Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood’s 109th Grand Camp Convention at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Oct. 8, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Speakers address participants in the Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood’s 109th Grand Camp Convention at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Oct. 8, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Alaska Native Brotherhood/Sisterhood Grand Camp Convention underway

The Grand Camp Convention returns (mostly) in-person after a year’s absence due to pandemic.

The Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood held the 109th Grand Camp Convent beginning on Oct. 7 and running through Saturday, the first Grand Camp since 2019.

The interruption was only the third time in history the convention was canceled, said Alaska Native Sisterhood grand secretary Carol Duis, with the other two being the influenza outbreak following World War 1 and all of World War 2.

“We worked this DOTS- Data on the Spot- team over the last month to try to set this up,” Duis said in an interview. “It’s tough holding everything on Zoom, though it’s necessary. Our camps range from Anchorage to Seattle to Portland.”

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There were some hiccups as the Grand Camp got used to the hybrid in-person and virtual format, Duis said. Only vaccinated people were able to attend in person at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall as a mitigation measure. Many delegates videoconferenced in from homes.

“It’s a challenge,” Duis said. “A majority are probably used to zoom, even for family meetings, but it’s difficult adapting to such large groups.”

The agenda for this year’s event includes panels, guest speakers and voting as delegates tackle perennial issues such as subsistence, landless villages, Southeast land allotment for veterans, missing and murdered Indigenous women, voting rights, civil rights and increasing youth membership, Duis said, as well as new ones such as the rapidly growing issue of the legacy of the legacy of the boarding school system.

“There’s different resolutions that Camp 2 has submitted for consideration,” said ANS Camp 2 vice president Jamiann Hasselquist in an interview. “The two resolutions we’ve submitted are to support the Truth and Healing Act. The second resolution that we created for submission is Transforming Schools Alaska — to have a trauma-engaged approach to education all over the state.”

The act would establish a commission in the U.S. to investigate, document and acknowledge past injustices of the Indian Boarding School Policy. The bill was introduced by then-Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, in 2020.

Guest speakers include Juneau Police Department Chief Ed Mercer, Sealaska Heritage Institute President Rosita Worl, CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition Christine Diindiisi McCleave, and head of Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s Juvenile Justice Program Renee Tl’aagunk Culp.

People can view the live stream of the 109th Grand Camp Convention at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20iiOfkoqx8. The

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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