2021 CIRI Shareholder, Elder and Youth Awards

Elder of the Year: Penny Carty
Anchorage, Alaska

CIRI is pleased to posthumously honor original CIRI enrollee Penny Carty (Aleut) for her many accomplishments during her lifetime, especially for her fierce and thoughtful advocacy of the advancement of Alaska Native people, particularly among original Salamatof shareholders, the Salamatof Traditional Council, the Salamatof Native Association, and CIRI shareholders and descendants.

From 2005 to 2017, Carty served on the CIRI Board of Directors. In addition to her service on the CIRI Board, she was a long-time board member of Cook Inlet Housing Authority (2004-2021), most recently serving as its vice chair. Over the years she served on many other boards and committees, including Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Kenaitze/Salamatof Housing Authority, Salamatof Tribal Council and The CIRI Foundation.

Carty served on the board of Salamatof Native Association (SNA) prior to her tenure as its president and CEO, where she worked to ensure that the mission, vision and values of the original SNA board were the basis for operations. She was instrumental in ensuring that Salamatof became a federally recognized Tribe and that all 129 original Salamatof shareholders were allotted land selections.

Carty passed away April 14, 2021, in Anchorage at the age of 72.

Shareholder of the Year: Ivan Encelewski
Ninilchik, Alaska

CIRI shareholder Ivan Encelewski (Dena’ina Athabascan) currently serves as executive director of the Ninilchik Village Tribe/Ninilchik Traditional Council, overseeing the Tribe’s operations, including its health clinic, environmental activities, housing programs, tribal services, resource-management activities and educational assistance. He has helped significantly grow the Tribe’s membership, led community-improvement initiatives, spearheaded the opening of the Ninilchik Traditional Council Community Clinic and expanded housing resources.

A strong supporter of subsistence rights, Encelewski has fought for the rights of Alaska Native people to set a community gill net in the Kenai River and to self-regulate their own fisheries. He currently chairs the boards of both Cook Inlet Tribal Council and Get Out the Native Vote; serves on the board of the Alaska Native Justice Center; and acts as the Ninilchik village representative to the Cook Inlet Treaty Tribes.

Through years of dedicated leadership, Encelewski has positively affected his community and Alaska Native people. He has successfully brought communities together and fostered relationships between regional and village corporations, Tribes, and Native and non-Native communities.

Youth Recognition Award: Grace Carlson
Las Vegas, Nevada

Grace Carlson (Athabascan, Inuit and Yup’ik) recently graduated from Northwest Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas as her school’s valedictorian with a 5.6 GPA. Her many extracurricular activities included speech and debate clubs, the Health Occupations Students of America Club, National Honor Society, the Distributive Education Clubs of America and serving as a peer tutor.

Carlson is connected to CIRI through her grandfather, original CIRI enrollee Otto Thiele Jr., and her great-grandparents, original CIRI enrollees Otto Thiele Sr. and Flora Meehan Thiele. She participated in the inaugural CIRI C3 Experience in 2018 and has received several CIRI Youth Educational Incentive awards.

Described by her teachers as intelligent, professional, dependable and mature, Carlson’s career goals include becoming a veterinarian and serving Alaska Native communities.