Sealaska shareholders vote to approve blood quantum change

    Sealaska President and CEO Anthony Mallot speaking at the annual meeting in centennial hall Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Sealaska.)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - During Sealaska corporation's annual meeting Saturday, a majority of shareholders voted in favor of a resolution seeking to remove the 1/4 Alaska Native blood quantum for descendant class shares.

    The resolution will extend eligibility for Class D descendant stock in Sealaska to lineal descendants of original shareholders without respect to their documented Alaska Native blood quantum.

    The blood quantum resolution was approved by a vote of 750,283 to 497,946, which represents 57% of shareholders in favor and 40% opposed.

    With the resolution's passage, Sealaska joins native corporations Calista and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation in not having blood quantum determine eligibility.

    In a release, Sealaska said that enrollment of new Class D shareholders begins immediately.

    “Elimination of the blood requirement is a monumental step in our healing journey. We, no doubt, have our share of challenges in our communities. This arbitrary rule will no longer be one of them organizationally,” said Sealaska board chair Joe Nelson. “I believe that most of our grandparents wanted to hold the door open for all their grandchildren, not just some of them. Whether or not the grandchildren walk through the door and enroll, that is up to them.”

    Meanwhile, Sealaska's board remains unchanged after Saturday’s meeting.

    Wáahlaal Gíidáak Barbara Blake, Tseiltin Jodi Mitchell, Tashee Richard Rinehart, and Daanawáak Michael “Mick” Beasley were re-elected to the board. Each of the newly elected directors will serve a three-year term.  

    Candidates received the following vote totals:

        Mitchell, 1,043,153
        Blake, 1,039,143
        Rinehart, 1,026,280
        Beasley, 1,008169
        Lekanoff, 444,021
        Roberts, 341,744

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