Shareholder of the Year
Dr. Maria Williams
CIRI annually bestows the Shareholder of the Year Award on a shareholder who has demonstrated exemplary dedication to Alaska Native culture, heritage and communities. The 2016 Shareholder of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Maria Williams, a CIRI shareholder of Tlingit descent who earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of California Los Angeles, both with specializations in the ethnomusicology of Alaska Native people. Dr. Williams currently serves as the director of the Alaska Native Studies Program and teaches Alaska Native and world music at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Throughout her career, Dr. Williams has fostered cultural awareness and preservation through music, language and storytelling. Her dedicated advocacy and leadership has promoted and strengthened education programs to support Alaska Native students.
Elder of the Year
The Elder Shareholder of the Year Award honors shareholders whose contributions have benefited their community, and who are recognized as leaders, educators and preservers of Alaska Native culture and traditions. This year’s award recognized CIRI Elder Fiocla Wilson. At the time of her passing, Ms. Wilson was the oldest living CIRI shareholder. You can read more about her life and accomplishments on page 06.
Youth Recognition Award
CIRI’s Youth Recognition Award was developed to recognize CIRI shareholders and descendants 12 to 17 years of age for superior academic achievements, demonstrated leadership qualities, dedication to Alaska Native culture and heritage, outstanding contributions to community and family, and exceptional determination and stamina in overcoming significant life challenges. Parker Pickett, the recipient of CIRI’s 2016 Youth Recognition Award, is a 16-year-old CIRI descendant of Athabascan, Iñupiaq and Yup’ik descent from Gambell, Alaska. He attends Steller Secondary School in Anchorage and was selected by his school to participate in the Alaska Federation of Natives Youth and Elders Conference. Parker is active in the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, winning the program’s “Power of One” award; served as a CIRI Shareholder Participation Committee youth representative; and enthusiastically volunteers and mentors children, including teaching English to children in a small village in the mountains of Nicaragua. He plans to attend college as an engineering major with an emphasis on renewable energy.