The Alaska Historical Commission will now have a representative from Kodiak to help form policy when it comes to Alaska’s history.
Alisha Drabek is the Senior Vice President of Community and Government Affairs at the Afognak Native Corporation, and Governor Bill Walker recently appointed her to fill the indigenous seat on the Alaska Historical Commission after the last holder of the seat retired.
Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott chairs the commission and Drabek explains it oversees any kind of historic preservation planning for the state.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity. I think that I’ll have a lot to contribute. I understand that the commission reviews Alaska historical publications, they make decisions about monuments or historical regulations, and I feel that my work in indigenous studies, Alaska Native language and culture is [valuable], and I can contribute that to this group.”
The commission also helps determine appropriate names for geographic features in Alaska, which has been a contentious issue in the last year.
Drabek says she first applied for the position in March, when she was executive director of the Alutiiq Museum, and found out about her acceptance a few weeks ago. She says she feels she’s able to represent Alaska and be mindful of the indigenous peoples throughout the state.
“There are 21 major language groups in our state – Alaska Native languages – and I think that I have a lot of connections across the state, so that when I am exposed to something for review, I would have knowledge of which tribal group or individual scholars that we might want to reach out to, and so I think I bring that breadth of knowledge and experience throughout the state.”
Drabek says her term runs between January of this year and July 1, 2018.