CIRI shareholder Willy Templeton is many things to many people. He is a father, a mentor to students attending the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), where he works as director of Native Student Services, and a community organizer.
Last year, Templeton and a friend, Irene Rowan, decided over coffee that they would help promote public knowledge in advance of the fortieth anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) by facilitating the organization of a series of interactive and educational forums on various ANCSA-related topics.
This year, the forums are planned by an ad-hoc committee that represents a diverse group of Alaskans. A goal of the committee is to inform people, particularly young people, about the importance and meaning of the landmark ANCSA legislation and to gather stories, photographs and other historical documents for additional publications. The next forum is scheduled for April 8 and will focus on ANCSA and the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
“ANCSA is not perfect, but it empowers Alaska Native people and it needs to be protected,” said Templeton at a March 17 Alaska Native Professional Association luncheon. “We could lose the benefits of ANCSA if we are not careful.”
Templeton’s interest in education and community organizing suits him well for his position at UAA. He holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington and is committed to helping young Alaska Native people thrive in a challenging environment. UAA’s Native Student Services provides support services to Alaska Native students attending UAA. Its goal is to foster academic excellence, career development, leadership skills, personal growth, college-transitioning and a sense of belonging. The Native Student Services center provides a gathering place where students can study in a safe and affirmative environment.
Templeton is not shy, but prefers to redirect attention away from himself and toward causes he supports. He also frequently credits and thanks many others for his successes, including The CIRI Foundation for providing financial support for his education and the ad-hoc committee that plans the ANCSA @ 40 forum series and events.
Templeton’s future plans are to continue helping the ANCSA @ 40’s adhoc committee volunteers plan future forum series and events, working at UAA and “mining for memories on the Internet,” a favorite pastime of his that involves searching for photos and mementos of his mother’s childhood home, Haycock, Alaska. When his mother was a teenager, her father’s (and his grandfather’s) roadhouse was destroyed in a fire. The fire swallowed many valued family possessions, including family photographs, with it.
Learn more about the ANCSA @ 40 forum series at www.ancsaat40.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ANCSAat40.