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Kiana woman named new VP of AFN

Carey Restino | Bristol Bay Times

Maude Blair, formerly with NANA Development Corp., is the new vice president of the Alaska Federation of Natives, one of the most powerful voices in the Alaska Native community.

AFN president Julie Kitka made the announcement this week, saying the organization was looking forward to welcoming her. "Maude is extremely talented and will bring valuable knowledge and experience to the staff leadership of AFN," Kitka said in a release.

Blair most recently served as a staff attorney at NANA, where she provided legal support to the NANA Regional Corp. Board of Directors and senior management, including advising on corporate governance, Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and general business issues. At NANA she worked with both internal and external stakeholders on issues ranging from corporate structure to shareholder relations. Blair also created the NANA Elders' Settlement Trust.

In the late 1990s, she was reporter and also served as the Kellog/NARF education grant coordinator for Alaska with the Native American Rights Fund.

According to the AFN job description, Blair's responsibilities will include helping to steer budget, programs, policies and procedures for the corporation.

She will also help staff to coordinate the annual convention, annual report and convention resolutions.

Blair replaces longtime AFN vice president Nelson Angapak, who has been with the federation since 1975. Angapak will be the keynote speaker for the 2013 AFN Convention, scheduled for Oct. 24 through Oct. 26 in Fairbanks. The this year theme is "Traditional Family Values."

Blair is originally from Kiana and went to high school in Kotzebue.

"Maude was selected from an extensive list of very qualified applicants. Her hard work, dedication and legal background and experience will continue to be an asset to the Native community and AFN, Kitka said. "We welcome her to the AFN team."

This story first appeared in The Bristol Bay Times-Dutch Harbor Fisherman.