Agga Chloe Naylor’s
Lu Young Youth Leadership Award
Leadership is not defined by age, it is defined by actions. Agga Chloe Naylor’s actions to help the community of Kivalina after their only store burnt to the ground on December 5, 2014, demonstrates the selfless work of leadership. This is one of the reasons why Naylor was presented with the Lu Young Youth Leadership Award at the 2015 AFN.
Raised in Kotzebue, Agga’s path to service began at a young age. At Nikaitchuat Ilsaġviat Iñupiaq immersion school, she gained a strong foundation in the Iñupiat Ilitqusiat values system. “She is complete immersed in the culture,” said Agnik Polly Schaeffer, Nikaitchuat Ilsaġviat's lead teacher. She recalled that Agga participated every way she could, from learning dances to subsistence harvesting.
When there is an opportunity to serve and improve the lives of others, Agga is there. She worked in the regional wellness movement, participating in several local and statewide conferences and training.
Alex Whiting of Kotzebue, Alaska, was honored with the Denali Award at the 2015 AFN gathering. The Denali Award is presented to a non-Native who demonstrates a strong commitment to the Alaska Native community and rural Alaska.
In his two decades of work for the Native Village of Kotzebue, Whiting conducted essential research on the ringed and bearded seals in Kotzebue Sound. This research has helped the world understand ringed seal behavior and protect them and their habitat.
More than all of this, he has led an Iñupiaq lifestyle and lives a life committed to the Iñupiaq values. Alex is a strong advocate for Native people, lobbying for culturally relevant wildlife hunting regulations from the Iñupiaq perspective. Through his work, he helps others cross a cultural bridge so those outside of Iñupiaq culture can better understand how to engage with the region and communities.
Katie John Hunter-Fisher Award
Clarence Wood of Ambler knows the meaning of giving. Often, when he returns after a hunt, he shares his catch with people in need. Wood passes on his knowledge on how to hunt, fish, and survive in the region to his children and grandchildren. Leading by example, he demonstrates the values of Hunter Success and Responsibility to Tribe to the younger generation. For these reasons and more, Clarence was honored with the Katie John Hunter-Fisher Award at the 2015 AFN convention.
Clarence is the son of the late Luke and Grace Wood of Ambler, Alaska. Today he lives with his wife, Hannah, in Ambler where much of his time is spent harvesting and gathering for his family and village. He was married to the late Marie Wood and together they raised 15 children. From a young age, Clarence and his siblings were raised knowing the Iñupiaq Ilitqusiat values.
Suuyuk Lena Hanna
Elder of the Year
Suuyuk is dedicated to her community, working with her Friends Church as a Sunday school teacher, the Kotzebue Elders Council, the Native Village of Kotzebue tribal council and cooking for many fundraisers. She is an outspoken Elders advocate, reminding others that Elders are suffering and the duty that Iñupiaq communities and families have to help. She takes leadership in tough discussions. She works with others to find possible solutions and takes the necessary action to get commitments to help address the problem. For these reasons and many others, she was presented with the Elder of the Year Award from AFN.
Suuyuk is fearless. After retiring from Maniilaq Association at the age of 65, she went back to college, living on campus in the dormitory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) with traditional students. She received her associate’s degree in Iñupiaq Studies and was named Student of the Year at her graduation for demonstrating to others that it is never too late to pursue their dreams.