Quannah Chasinghorse speaks at Tanana Chiefs Conference Annual Convention

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 9:42 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The first day of the Tanana Chiefs Conference Annual Convention took place at the Westmark Hotel in Fairbanks on Monday, March 15.

Hundreds of Alaska Natives from over a dozen villages in the interior gather to debate actions and speak about development impacting their communities.

Quannah Chasinghorse, an Alaska Native model and activist, was the keynote speaker at the convention.

Leaders from the borough spoke at the conference and later on debated about the developments of Ambler Road. While many perspectives were provided, some expressed strong opposition to the road. “Any development will have its impact,” said Steve Ginnis, the Executive Director of the Fairbanks Native Association. He compared potential consequences of the project to impacts faced by communities in the Yukon Flats and said the construction of roads in the area has allowed for a decline in moose populations.

Chasinghorse echoed similar thoughts in her own speech.

Quannah Chasinghorse who was raised in Eagle, Alaska and has heritage from other Native American tribes talked about activism, racism and subsistence difficulties as key notes in her speech. She spoke about challenges she has faced due to her ethnicity and how her career has helped her grow her activism platform.

“It’s a huge honor,” said Chasinghorse when asked about being the keynote speaker. She continued to explain that she feels “very blessed to have these opportunities.” She said she did not take for granted her ability to share her voice in the fashion industry or in front of her own people.

After Chasinghorse completed her speech, she was honored with gifts, song and dance.

She said the Tanana Chiefs Conference is very important to her due to her history of living in the interior and she praised the work they have done “leading” conversations and solutions.