Sally Smith Receives Shirley Demientieff Award
October 24, 2013, Fairbanks, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today presented the 2013 Shirley Demientieff Award to H. Sally Smith at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention in Fairbanks. The award, presented each year at AFN, is given by the governor for advocacy on behalf of Alaska Native women and children.
A Yu’pik from Dillingham, Smith has served as a health care advocate and leader for 45 years. Born in Clark’s Point, Smith has worked tirelessly in Alaska and across the world to improve the health of Alaska Natives and Native Americans. She has dedicated her life to establishing culturally and scientifically appropriate cancer clinical research for Alaska Native people.
Smith serves on the board of directors for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and has previously chaired the National Indian Health Board of Directors.
“Stories of Sally caring for Alaskans abound,” Governor Parnell said. “Yet she will not let me recount them. That’s because, I think, she believes kindness and charity are found throughout the Alaska Native community, and she knows of many in this very room who stand in defense of the weak, shelter the needy, and feed the hungry.
“She knows of many in this room who share her courage to speak against injustice - many who recognize hope and redemption in the soul of a person, where others might only find hopelessness. She honors that and does not want her good deeds singled out.”
Smith’s son, Jack, accepted the award on his mother’s behalf.