WAINWRIGHT, AK — At the 47th Annual Meeting of Shareholders, on June 13, 2020, Olgoonik Corporation Chairman Joseph Ahmaogak named the Shareholder of the Year award winners. Each year, nominations for the Shareholder of the Year Awards are open to shareholders and community members who want to recognize outstanding shareholders for their contributions to the community. This year’s winners were able to choose between $400 gift certificate to the OC Store or a $400 Tango card, which can be redeemed at several major retailers online.
Shareholder Youth of the Year: Preston Aguvluk
For our Youth of the Year, we honor a shareholder or descendant 25 years of age or younger who has exhibited strong leadership for the “younger generation” as an outstanding role model.
The son of Eunice Ahvakana and Harris Aguvluk, Edna Bodfish and Vincent Bodfish, he is also the grandson of Clara and Winford Ahvakana and Raymond and Lizzie Aguvluk. This youth was nominated as an outstanding role model for the younger generation, for his dedication and commitment to our communities and to Olgoonik. He received three nominations for Shareholder Youth of the Year. It’s an outstanding testament to his dedication and service to the community.
He is the youngest active Search & Rescue member, helping to prepare vehicles and helping on missions. During Wainwright’s recent big storm that knocked power out in the community, he delivered essentials to keep homes heated, delivered water, and checked on residents to ensure their safety. No matter how late it is, he is always a helping hand for Search & Rescue. He balances his dedication to the community, his involvement in his whaling crew, his commitment to his volleyball and basketball teams, and his dedication to completing his education. He will be a senior in high school this coming fall.
Congratulations, Preston Aguvluk, our 2020 Shareholder Youth of the Year.
Shareholder Leader of the Year: Cordelia Qiġñaaq Kellie
For our Shareholder Leader of the Year, we honor a shareholder or descendant who is an outstanding role model that exhibits strong leadership and commitment to our communities, Olgoonik and Iñupiat culture.
She is the daughter of Aggie Tagarook-Kellie and John Kellie. She is the granddaughter of Eva James, Felton Segevan, Gregg Tagarook, Jr. and Edith Tagarook of Wainwright and the granddaughter of Willard and Betty Kellie and Lola Medres of Washington. She was nominated as an outstanding role model for shareholders and Iñupiat of all ages who wish to learn their language, for her dedication to our culture, traditions, and language, and for her commitment to our communities and the Iñupiat people across Alaska.
As the co-founder of Iḷisaqativut, a two-week Iñupiat language intensive she supports individuals who seek to learn and re-learn the Iñupiat language in an open, caring, and supportive environment with the support and guidance of our elders. Her commitment to language learning and revitalization inspired her to co-create the Alaska Native Languages Digest, Alaska’s only regular publication sharing updates of the Native languages revitalization movement across Alaska and to found and co-facilitate the statewide Alaska Native Languages Summit. She’s an Iñupiaq language instructor with the Urban Eskimo Language Revitalization Program at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, was a Cultural Ambassador alongside other Iñupiaq leaders and elders for the “Never Alone” video game based on our culture and stories, and has been featured in several publications on PBS, The Arctic Sounder, and First Alaskans Magazine.
A recipient of the Olgoonik Foundation scholarship, she earned her Bachelor’s in English Language and Rhetoric from UAA and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Rural Development from UAF. As External Affairs Manager for Iḷisaġvik College, she works daily to strengthen the Arctic and Iñupiat Nunaat, while splitting her time between Anchorage and Utqiaġvik and her travels to Iñupiat communities across Alaska.
Congratulations, Cordelia Qiġñaaq Kellie, our 2020 Shareholder Leader of the Year.
Shareholder Elder of the Year: Geraldine “Bummie” Ningeok
For our Elder of the Year, we honor a shareholder 60 years or older who is an outstanding role model and exemplifies the Iñupiat values guiding our corporation.
Our corporation and our communities are blessed to have so many strong, knowledgeable, and loving elders to guide us. The daughter of Felton and Ella Segevan, this elder was nominated as an outstanding role model, for her long-term dedication & commitment to our communities, and for living the Iñupiat values guiding our corporation, including love & respect for our elders and one another, compassion, and of course, humor.
Having just retired from the Wainwright clinic after 25 years of dedicated service as a Community Health Practitioner, she is more than deserving of the Elder of the Year Award for her long-term dedication to caring for our people and community. Known for being honest, direct, and knowledgeable, she is equally acknowledged for the care and kindness she shows to grieving families who are at the clinic preparing their loved ones for their funerals. She has always been active, whether in keeping up with her trainings and certifications, active at community meetings, events, and games, hunting, or in raising her children and her beloved grandchildren.
Through her hard work and dedication, her encouragement and her persistence in that encouragement, she has inspired and helped others to also become health aides to serve and care for their community as she has done for so many years. She is an example to follow, demonstrating her willingness to be there for and to help anyone and everyone. The outpouring she received online for her retirement is a testament to her years of dedication and the gratefulness of the community.
Aarigaa to be blessed with our elders, to learn from them, and to be able to honor them. Congratulations, Bummie Ningeok, our 2020 Shareholder Elder of the Year.