CIRI shareholders recognized by AFN

During the 2013 Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention held in Fairbanks, Alaska, two CIRI shareholders, Dr. Shari Huhndorf and Charles Akers, received AFN President’s Awards. Huhndorf was awarded the Eileen Panigeo MacLean Education Award, while the Health Award went to Akers.

Dr. Shari Huhndorf, Yup’ik

Courtesy of Dr. Shari Huhndorf.
Courtesy of Dr. Shari Huhndorf.

The Eileen Panigeo MacLean Education Award recognizes an Alaska Native who has demonstrated strong commitment, competence and sensitivity in the education field and whose accomplishments have improved educational opportunities for Alaska Native people.

An author and university professor, Dr. Huhndorf has dedicated her professional career to enlightening others about the history of Alaska Native and American Indian people.

According to Southcentral Foundation President and CEO Katherine Gottlieb, “It has been said that Dr. Shari Huhndorf – through her extensive writing, lecturing and speaking appearances – has helped the nation come to recognize its past, how the past shapes the world we live in today, and perhaps become a better nation for it – helping Americans find a conscience through education.”

Huhndorf is the author of two books: Going Native: Indians in the American Cultural Imagination and Mapping the Americas: The Transnational Politics of Contemporary Native Culture, and a co-editor of Indigenous Women and Feminism: Politics, Activism, Culture, which won the Canadian Women’s Studies Association prize for Outstanding Scholarship.

Huhndorf is currently a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She has also served on the board of The CIRI Foundation. She is of Yup’ik descent and the daughter of CIRI Board Member Roy Huhndorf and Charlene Huhndorf.

Charles Akers, Yup’ik 

Charles Akers.  Couresty of SCF.
Charles Akers. Couresty of SCF.

The Health Award recognizes an Alaska Native who has demonstrated strong commitment, competence and sensitivity in the health fields, and whose accomplishments have improved health care for Alaska Natives.

If you have enjoyed the health services provided by Southcentral Foundation or the newBenteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center in Wasilla, you have experienced some of the contributions of Charles Akers.

Akers, who grew up in McGrath, Alaska, began his health career in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman. After the military, he spent 12 years as executive director of the Alaska Rural Development Council where he was involved in the technology that came to be known as telemedicine.

Akers spent five years on the board of Southcentral Foundation and was involved in the Nuka System of Care Conference, which reinforces the power of relationship building in the health care setting and everyday life. He is a director on the board overseeing the Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center and helped to ensure the center opened ahead of schedule.

“He lives to take care of anyone and everyone in his path,” said Akers’ daughter Kate Beeman. “His joy is to see others’ needs met and he makes sacrifices with no mention of his efforts to anyone. He really does live to serve.”