2014 NANA Shareholder Award Winners

Every year NANA honors four members of our NANA family with awards that recognize their contributions to the Iñupiat of Northwest Alaska, our communities and our corporation. The following are the 2014 NANA Shareholder Award winners:



The Elder of the Year is a respected Elder who models and practices the Iñupiat Ilitqusiat, stays active in teaching our language and culture and demonstrates leadership among our people. The 2014 Elder of the Year Award goes to Mamaaq Emma Ramoth.

Emma Mamaaq Ramoth, from Selawik, Alaska, has spent her life caring for people of the NANA region. She began as a health aide when still a teenager and continued to serve in this capacity for forty years, traveling the region by snow machine and small plane. After retiring, Mamaaq turned her attention to the mental health field, working as a counselor at the “Spud Farm” mental health facility near Selawik. She did this with the grace and energy.

Mamaaq exemplifies the Iñupiaq Iḷitqusiat values, showing others kindness and the value of hard work. She raised seven children, showing them how to live a subsistence life and to be a responsible, engaged member of the community. She opened her heart and her home to many other children in need of care and love. Today, she has 40 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

As a member of the Regional Elders Council, she uses her wisdom and experience to help provide Elder perspectives on events and issues of the NANA region. Her inexhaustible commitment to the people of Northwest Alaska is an inspiration.

Congratulations to Mamaaq Emma Ramoth the 2014 NANA Elder of the Year.



The NANA Shareholder of the Year award is given to a shareholder who shows leadership within the community and the NANA region and helps preserve Iñupiaq culture and heritage. This year’s Shareholder of the Year is Qatii Edward Coffin, III of Noorvik, Alaska.

Qatii is known for his dedication to sharing with others. His uncles taught him to hunt at a young age and he uses his skills to travel out into the country and bring home food to share.  If he doesn’t have a four-wheeler or snowmobile to use for hunting, he will walk for miles to provide for Elders, family and friends.

Qatii and his wife, Margaret, are raising their own five children plus two that they have welcomed into their home and family. He is the son of Alfred Coffin and Cora Brown.

Congratulations to Qatii Edward Coffin III, the 2014 Shareholder of the Year.



The Youth of the Year award is given to a young person who demonstrates leadership, models Iñupiat values, excels academically, and contributes to the benefit of all NANA youth. The 2014 Youth of the Year award winner is Aluqtuq Tamara Wells from Noorvik, Alaska.

Throughout her young life Aluqtuq has shown tremendous leadership in her community. She is the head of the Youth Leader Program in Noorvik and has traveled to Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks for Youth Leader training. She makes her parents, Shirleen Wells and Homer Wells Sr., very proud.

Aluqtuq is a senior at Noorvik High School, and attends meetings where she discusses bullying and suicide prevention with other students. Elders view her as a strong role model for the teens in the region.

Congratulations to the 2014 Youth of the Year, Aluqtuq Tamara Wells.



The Richard A. Baenen award showcases a non-shareholder who shows an untiring commitment to the Iñupiat of Northwest Alaska and works hard to make a difference in the region. This year’s 2014 Richard A. Baenen Award goes to Naataq John Rense.

Since John joined NANA in 1985 he has taken on many different roles. He recently served as acting President of NMS, the largest employer of shareholders among our NANA companies.

When he first joined NANA, Red Dog Mine was just a dream. He was hired to focus on Red Dog and was asked to help manage the Land Department.  Along with the rest of the NANA team, John helped secure Red Dog lands and participated in the forming of the Northwest Arctic Borough. His efforts helped complete NANA land selection and build NANA businesses.

John spent many years with NANA and the Iñupiaq values and understands the importance of listening. He has the ability to work with people to accomplish shared goals.

Congratulations to Naataq John Rense, the recipient of the 2014 Richard A. Baenen award.