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Petersburg Indian Association welcomes back administrator

Petersburg Indian Association’s tribal council welcomed administrator Bruce Jones back to the job Monday, after rehiring the former manager of the city of Petersburg and the Inter-Island Ferry Authority. The council also heard about plans for the local celebration of Elizabeth Peratrovich Day and endorsed a grant application for archiving and sharing of Tlingit culture in the community.

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Jones was fired by the tribal council in October and rehired late last month. His first full day back on the job was Monday, and he took part in Monday’s meeting of the tribal council.

“First of all Mr. Bruce Jones I would like to welcome you to PIA,” said council chair Tina Sakamoto, as council members clapped.

Jones gave a brief report and said he would start advertising this week for applicants for two jobs at the PIA.  Jones said the grant writer’s job would be changed to a grants compliance officer, “Whose duties will be to research, apply for, attain grants, and once we have new grants that person will also make sure we are in compliance with them, making sure the reports are in on time, the money’s used properly and all that kind of work. So it’s gone from a 20 hour a week to a 40 hour a week job.”

The council decided to fire the organization’s grant writer at the same time it re-hired Jones. The tribal administrator also plans to seek a full-time on-site financial officer and human resources manager.  This person will replace a chief financial officer who worked for the PIA from Anchorage. Jones told the council he will have people working on an interim basis in both those positions until he hires someone permanently.

In other updates, the council heard about Tlingit cultural grant programs involving the PIA and the Petersburg Public Library. A $150,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services has funded a project locally called “Many Voices, One Community,” with cultural education for library programs and the schools along with community dialogue. Library employee Jessica Ieremia is the grant’s cultural and education coordinator. She sought PIA support to apply for another $150,000 grant from the same source to continue the programs funded in the first grant. Ieremia said the new project would be called “Rekindling Our Heritage, Awakening Our Future” and will focus on three different areas identified by tribal members.

“One of them is to develop and launch a digital archive for all, for the public, for everybody to access. We would like to put photographs, video, audio, information on there,” Ieremia said. “To do this would be able to allow anybody to have access to tribal information. Everybody we talked to said this was incredibly important.”

Ieremia said the other areas of focus identified by tribal members are cultural programming, or sharing Tlingit cultural knowledge and experience. The third area is rediscovery of the Tlingit culture and roots in the community.

Tribal council member Jeannette Ness commended Ieremia and the library staff for their work on the current grant. “It’s great that the whole community has an opportunity to learn about the Tlingit culture and you made efforts to sort of go outside the box and to include projects that might not have been done before,” Ness said. “So I really appreciate what you guys are doing. And I hope you’re able to continue all of those.”

The council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the new grant application in partnership with the public library. Council members Chris Lopez and Mary Ann Rainey were not at the meeting.

In other business, the council members also heard about plans for the upcoming celebration of Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, February 16. Dancers from Kake will be visiting and taking part, according to organizer Brenda Louise. “This year we hope to have you know instead of marching from Trading Union to Scandia House singing “Onward Christian Solders” we’re gonna interrupt it and have the Kake Tribal dancers perform in the center and actually kinda draw more attention” Louise said. “But we really would like to get much more communication out to our tribal members to bring regalia and bring hats and coogeinas and participate and really make this an even bigger celebration than last year.”

The parade is planned for Saturday, February 16 at 4 p.m. A potluck will follow at 5:30 at the ANB/ANS Hall.

The tribal council plans to hold future monthly meetings on the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m. in the conference room at the Hallingstad-Peratrovich building.

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