Governor Walker Names 2016 Shirley Demientieff Award Recipient at AFN Convention
Faith Peters of Tanana teaches cultural preservation at spirit camp
FAIRBANKS – Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott presented the 2016 Shirley Demientieff Award to Faith Peters of Tanana today. They made the announcement at the 50th annual Alaska Federation of Natives Convention in Fairbanks.
“I am deeply honored to present this year’s Shirley Demientieff Award to Faith Peters,” said Governor Walker. “For over 20 years, Faith has been a mentor and positive role model to children in her community and other communities along the Yukon River. Faith’s teachings have connected younger generations with the heritage and traditions of the Koyukon Athabascan people.”
Since the early 1990’s, Faith Peters has organized a spirit camp on the Upper Yukon River, bringing together children from villages along the Yukon River to learn from their elders. The camp provides a safe venue for kids to discover traditional activities such as storytelling, fishing, net setting, smoking salmon, singing, dancing, and sewing. Today the camp is held at 16 Mile Island on the Yukon River with the help of Ms. Peters and her support staff.
Faith Peters was nominated for this year’s Shirley Demientieff Award by Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten. Lt. Governor Mallott and Commissioner Cotten visited the spirit camp this summer, and were both moved by Ms. Peters’ work.
“When I met Faith Peters this summer, I was struck by the tireless work she is doing to better her village and the villages around her,” said Lt. Governor Mallott. “Faith’s positive spirit and sense of giving make her an outstanding leader and a superb role model to the children she works with. I congratulate Faith Peters for this well-deserved recognition.”
"I had the opportunity to travel on the Yukon River this summer with the Lt. Governor and visit the spirit camp. We met Faith and the kids on the beach cutting salmon,” Commissioner Cotten said. “I was very impressed with the spirit camp and the large number of young people who were enjoying learning, and with Faith for her skills and dedication to the mission of the camp. Faith and the many others who make the spirit camp a success deserve thanks from all of us."
Presented by the Governor each year at AFN, the Shirley Demientieff Award recognizes an individual or organization for work to improve the lives of Alaska Native women and children.
Past honorees include:
2015 Poldine Carlo, Fairbanks
2014 Gloria O’Neill, Naknek
2013 Sally Smith, Dillingham
2012 Mary Jane Fate, Rampart
2011 Ethel Lund, Wrangell
2010 Group - Family Wellness Warriors
2009 Lena Andree, Bristol Bay
2008 Rep. Mary Nelson, Bethel