CIRI Shareholder of the Year: Mary Lou Bottorff

CIRI selected Mary Lou Bottorff as its 2010 Shareholder of the Year. CIRI President and Chief Executive Officer Margie Brown presented Bottorff with an award plaque and an Athabascan chief ‘s necklace at CIRI’s Anchorage friendship potlatch on Oct. 30 in Anchorage.

Mary Lou opened The Roots Digger Museum in 2007 after retiring from a 30-year career as housing director for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe. Mary Lou feels that is it important that young people are familiar with the diversity of Alaska Native cultures. Mary Lou encourages classroom visits and gives free tours to school children throughout the year.

“Mary Lou’s commitment to sharing her knowledge of Alaska Native cultures through the free classroom visits and tours she gives to youth is a key reason why CIRI selected her for this award,” said Brown. Her single-handed effort is inspiring and it personifies the spirit of giving, which is an Alaska Native value. I have come to know what a special person Mary Lou is by watching how she cares for her granddaughter who is recovering from a severe injury.”

Mary Lou has served as treasurer of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe for the past four years.