CIRI Shareholder and Descendant Awards

CIRI Seeks Nominations

Submit your 2021 nominations by Friday, July 9*

CIRI accepts nominations for its Shareholder of the Year, Elder Shareholder of the Year and Youth Recognition Awards year-round. The awards are presented annually at the fall CIRI and The CIRI Foundation Friendship Potlatches.

Please consider nominating a CIRI shareholder or descendant who you feel deserves recognition relevant to the selected award category. Award category descriptions and the names of prior recipients are listed below. To complete the online nomination form, click here. The deadline for CIRI to receive 2021 nominations is by 5 p.m. AKDT on Friday, July 9. For further information, please contact CIRI at (907) 274-8638, (800) 764-2474 or [email protected].

Nominate Candidate


  1. Fill out the nomination form completely. Please be detailed, specific and cite examples of the nominee’s efforts that support the respective award category that he or she is being nominated for. Attach additional sheets if necessary.
  2. If possible, attach documents further illustrating the nominee’s efforts, such as news articles, copies of commendations and/or letters of support from persons who have worked with the nominee and/or benefited from his or her work.
  3. Submit the nomination form online. Click here to print a PDF version of the nomination form. The completed form and supporting documents must be received by CIRI by 5 p.m. AKDT on Friday, July 9:

CIRI Corporate Communications
P.O. Box 93330
Anchorage, AK 99509-3330
Tel: (907) 274-8638; (800) 764-2474
Fax: (907) 274-8836
E-mail: [email protected]

*Changed from original deadline of June 7


The CIRI Elder of the Year Awards recognize shareholders who have shown dedication to Alaska Native culture, heritage and communities. The individual is recognized as a leader, an educator and preserver of Native culture whose contributions have benefited Native peoples throughout his or her life.

Prior Elder Shareholder of the Year recipients: Virginia Wolf, 2020; William “Bill” English Sr., 2019; Charles “Charlie” Toloff, 2018; Gemma Gaudio, 2017; Fiocla Wilson, 2016; Albert Harrison, 2015; Maxim “Max” Dolchok, 2014; Betty Gilcrist, 2013; Ernie “Big Bear” Berestoff, 2012; Marjorie Jordan, Edna Linderman and Virginia Trenton, 2011.


The CIRI Shareholder of the Year Awards recognize shareholders who have shown dedication to Alaska Native culture, heritage and communities. The individual is recognized for his or her accomplishments and contributions to Alaska Native people.

Prior Shareholder of the Year recipients: Tammy Ashley, 2020; Chief Gary Harrison, 2019; William Dean Kvasnikoff Jr., 2018; Richard “Greg” Encelewski, 2017; Dr. Maria Williams, 2016; Dr. Tamara Pickett, 2015; Aaron Leggett, 2014; Clare Swan, 2013; B. Agnes Brown, 2012; Connie Wirz, 2011; Mary Lou Bottorff, 2010; Bob Juliussen, 2009; Jon Ross, 2008; Dr. James L. Simpson, 2007; Donita Peter, 2006; James Segura Sr., 2005; Alberta Stephan, 2004; Sava Stephan Sr. and Feodoria Kallander Pennington, 2003; Katie Wade, 2002; Lillian Lapp, 2001; Daisy Demientieff, 2000; Emil Dolchok, 1999; Janie Leask, 1998; Joseph Oskolkoff, 1997; Howard Wilson, 1996; Daisy Demienteiff, 1995; Kathy Johnson, 1993; Greg Nothstine, 1992; Sophie Chase, 1991; Peter Kalifornsky, 1990; Shem Pete, 1989.


The Youth Recognition Award recognizes a youth for his or her 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.

CIRI shareholders or descendants who are 12 to 17 years of age may be nominated for this award.

Prior Youth Recognition Award recipients: Aleshanee Nikita, 2020; Kiona Kuhn, 2019; Samuel “Sam” Schimmel, 2018; Julianne Wilson, 2017; Parker Pickett, 2016; Ryan Gump, 2015; Trinity Standifer, 2014; Amiel Crandall and Autumn Ridley, 2013.


In 2014, CIRI posthumously honored shareholder Donald Wright with a special Legacy Award in recognition of his efforts to significantly improve the livelihood of Alaska Native people. The Legacy Award was given in honor of Wright’s tireless efforts to settle Alaska Native land claims and for the central role he played in negotiating the best and the fairest settlement possible for Alaska Native people under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). Please note, CIRI is not accepting nominations for this special recognition.