June 24, 2021 (Anchorage, AK) – Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy today announced funding distribution totaling $3 million to the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) and Tanana Chiefs Conference utilizing federal CARES Act funds to assist with COVID-19 related costs.
“Alaska Natives have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Dunleavy. “The cooperation from local, tribal, corporate, and umbrella organizations, like AFN, helped Alaska defy the odds when a public health threat emerged in March of last year.”
Rural communities are far more secluded from the main stream, larger inner cities, of Alaska. Therefore, with COVID-19 supply chain delays, declines in the tourism, oil and gas, and cargo shipping industries impacting Alaska, the governor has directed $2.5 million to AFN to assist with Alaska Native organizations with managing the incurred costs of protecting their elders and communities. Founded in 1966, AFN is Alaska’s largest statewide Native organization, representing over 227 federally recognized tribes and 140,000 Alaska Natives.
“AFN thanks Governor Dunleavy for his hard work during this pandemic, the result is saved lives,” said Julie Kitka, president of Alaska Federation of Natives. “We welcome the opportunity to set up a navigator program to help connect our communities to federal opportunities. Working together will help us all come out of this pandemic as strong as possible.”
Additionally, Governor Dunleavy directed $500,000 in CARES funding to the Tanana Chiefs Conference Fairbanks Sobering Center. The Interior’s sole provider for Alaskans seeking brief and immediate respite while inebriated, the funding insures continued assistance for individuals battling the disease. The Fairbanks Sobering Center has been the recipient of an operating grant from the Alaska Division of Behavioral Health, which will end on June 30, 2021.