CIRI hosted its SPC members Oct. 23-24 at the Fireweed Business Center in Anchorage. Members helped the corporation identify areas in which it is doing well and where it has room to improve. Photos by Joel Irwin and Charlene Juliussen.

The goal of the Shareholder Participation Committees (SPCs) is to increase two-way communication between CIRI and its shareholders. SPC members do this through identifying issues of immediate and long-term importance to shareholders and descendants, and assisting CIRI in educating shareholders and descendants on the corporation’s mission and values, business operations, corporate policies, shareholder and descendant opportunities and other matters.

Over the years, the SPCs have addressed a range of matters, from ways to increase and enhance shareholder and descendant outreach and opportunities, to the establishment of an Elders’ settlement trust. They’ve also raised funds to help purchase a new easy-to-use washer and dryer for a Cook Inlet Housing Elder facility in Anchorage, solicited money and raised membership awareness for the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and initiated a book drive focused on Alaska Native cultural themes for the Chief Leschi School in Puyallup, Wash., where CIRI holds a number of events, including the Northwest Potlatch, which became an annual event at the behest of shareholders who raised the possibility with SPC members. To date, 10 former SPC members have gone on to serve on the CIRI Board of Directors.

The SPCs are comprised of three subcommittees – the Anchorage Committee; the Alaska Committee, made up of shareholders who live in Alaska outside of Anchorage; and the Lower 48 and Hawaii Committee. There are youth representative positions as well, selected via an application process from CIRI shareholders or confirmed descendants 13 to 17 years of age.

Most recently, CIRI hosted its SPC members Oct. 23-24 at the Fireweed Business Center, the company’s corporate headquarters in Anchorage. The two-day meeting covered a range of topics and issues, including an overview of how CIRI uses technology to manage its lands; a discussion of youth opportunities, including a potential youth leadership summit; and a discussion of cultural awareness led by Loren Anderson, director of cultural programs at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. CIRI President and CEO Sophie Minich also met with members to provide a brief update on CIRI’s business operations and answer questions.

Also on the agenda was a visit to the Nat’uh Service Center, where members learned about Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s youth programs and toured CITC’s “fab lab”; heard from Susan Anderson, a CIRI shareholder and the CEO of The CIRI Foundation, about scholarship and grant programs; and discussed Alaska Natives’ unmet needs regarding the Alaska civil and criminal justice system with Tammy Ashley, a CIRI shareholder and director of program operations for the Alaska Native Justice Center.

“Not only is serving on the SPCs a way to learn more about CIRI, but members often gain deeper insight into the services and opportunities available through CIRI’s affiliated non-profit organizations,” said CIRI’s betsy Peratrovich, senior director, Shareholder Relations. “CIRI’s executive team and its Board of Directors rely on the SPCs to help them identify areas in which the company is doing well, and to offer feedback and ideas in areas in which it has room to improve. For shareholders who are interested, the SPCs are a great way to get more involved with the company.”

For more information on the SPCs, including how to apply, visit