CIRI President and CEO Sophie Minich
CIRI President and CEO Sophie Minich

As the days become cooler and shorter, most of us start to prepare for winter. The chill in the air also means it’s time, once again, for CIRI and The CIRI Foundation’s annual Friendship Potlatches. First held in 1985, the Friendship Potlatches offer CIRI shareholders the opportunity to socialize and celebrate important cultural traditions with family and friends. To best serve our shareholders, we offer three opportunities to attend – Oct. 8 in Kenai, Oct. 16 in Anchorage and Nov. 5 in Puyallup, Wash.

Next month, you have the power to shape our future – but only if you vote! Tuesday, Nov. 8 is Election Day, when we vote to elect the U.S. president and vice president, U.S. senators, U.S. representatives, state senators and state representatives.

According to information provided by Get Out The Native Vote (GOTNV), a non-partisan effort to mobilize Alaska Native and American Indian voters, it is estimated that Alaska Native people constitute 14 percent of the statewide adult population.

According to GOTNV, if all Native people voted during a normal turnout year (in which 55 percent of non-Natives voted), approximately 25 percent of the electorate at the polls would be Native. One vote really can make all the difference!

On Alaska ballots will also appear Ballot Measure 1, known as the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) automatic voter registration initiative. The initiative would allow eligible Alaska residents to register to vote when they sign up to receive the PFD. CIRI supports Ballot Measure 1, which has the potential to significantly improve the overall voter registration rate in Alaska, including the number of Alaska Native people registered to vote, as well as the accuracy of Alaska’s voter rolls.

Ballot Measure 1 has no impact on the PFD amount and includes an opt-out feature so that a PFD applicant may decline to be registered to vote via his/her PFD. For more information, visit

For those whose families plan to participate in Halloween trick-or-treating, I encourage you to take measures to stay safe. As your children go door to door, keep in mind these safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.

I wish you all a wonderful fall!

Sophie Minich