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Director Ethel Lund retires from Sealaska board

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JUNEAU, Alaska – Sealaska Corporation announces that Director Ethel Lund will not seek re-election to the Sealaska board of directors at the 2009 annual meeting.

“On behalf of the Sealaska board of directors, we extend our appreciation for Ethel’s commitment and contribution to Sealaska over the past 21 years,” said Sealaska Board Chair Albert Kookesh. “Ethel has been a passionate advocate for our tribal member shareholders in all facets of her life and we will miss her insight and leadership in the board room.”

“Ethel has always been an inspiration to me,” said Tate London, Sealaska director. “She conducts herself with poise and grace but has the wisdom of a warrior. Her contribution to the Native community is extensive and I know she will continue to impact our lives in positive ways.”

During her 21 years of service to Sealaska, Lund served on a variety of board committees and on the boards of several of Sealaska’s subsidiaries. Lund resides in Juneau, Alaska and will continue to serve on the board of trustees for the Sealaska Heritage Institute. She was born and raised in Wrangell, Alaska and credits her grandparents, Tom and Josephine Ukas, for giving her the charge to serve Native people. Lund is president emeritus of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. In February 2008, SEARHC’s Juneau Medical Center was renamed the SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center in honor of her dedication and accomplishment with its organization.

Lund’s decision was effective April 1; her term would have expired at the annual meeting June 27. Per Sealaska Corporation bylaws, the board appointed a successor when Lund announced her departure to serve the remainder of her term. The board unanimously appointed Sealaska tribal member shareholder and Alaska State Representative Bill Thomas to fill the vacancy.

“Bill is an effective legislator who has been looking out for the best interest of all of the Southeast Alaska villages. He knows our people, our communities and our local challenges as well as anyone,” Kookesh said. “This is a critical time in Sealaska history to bring on an established leader. Bill and all of the other Sealaska directors have the Southeast economy, especially our subsistence and village economies, on the front of their minds. I am looking forward to his service to Sealaska.”

Thomas represents House District 5 in the Alaska State Legislature and is a commercial fisherman. He and his wife live in Haines, Alaska and have five children. Thomas’ distinguished career includes military service in the United States Army and several political and governmental positions. He has served as former CEO and chair of Klukwan, Inc. and on the Haines School Board and Haines Borough Assembly. Thomas has committed his time to service organizations such as the United Fishermen of Alaska, American Legion, Chilkoot Indian Association, and the Southeast Alaska Fisherman’s Alliance, where he served on the board of directors.

The Sealaska board of directors has also authorized the appointment of a youth advisor to the board. The board will appoint a young Sealaska tribal member shareholder to serve in a non-voting, advisory capacity for a term of one year. The youth advisor must be at least 18 years of age and own voting shares of stock in Sealaska Corporation.

“Sealaska has encouraged youth development for years through scholarship and internship programs, and Sealaska Heritage Institute Latseen Leadership camps,” said Joe Nelson, Sealaska director. “Leadership development is an important skill to impart on our youth and derives from ancient cultural values like Haa Latseen and Haa Shagoon. The youth advisor position will give the board a youth perspective and provide the advisor with significant experience in business, Native advocacy and leadership.”

There will be an application available on Sealaska’s Web site for this position with a posted deadline for submittal. Applications will be accepted all year but there will be a deadline each year for selection for upcoming terms. The application will contain all necessary instructions for completion to be considered for selection as a youth advisor. The first youth advisor will begin service at the 2009 annual meeting, until the one-year term is complete and Sealaska’s board of directors selects another youth advisor.

Sealaska is an Alaska Native corporation strengthening business with culture for the benefit of tribal member shareholders, the communities it operates in and the environment. Formed under federal law in 1971, Sealaska is owned by more than 20,000 tribal member shareholders of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian descent.