KODIAK — The Alaska Federation of Natives conference last week honored three members of the Kodiak community for their service to Native people. The honorees — Margaret Agnguarta Roberts, Carl Marrs and Jim Dillard — have served the Alutiiq community with distinction and supported the Alutiiq Museum’s work, a news release stated.
Margaret Agnguarta Roberts received the Hanna Paul Solomon “Woman of Courage” award for her lifetime commitment to heritage preservation. Roberts is a founder of the Kodiak Alutiiq dancers and was a member of the culture committee that first envisioned the Alutiiq Museum.
The Alutiiq Museum is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and culture of the Alutiiq, an Alaska Native tribal people. Representatives of Kodiak Alutiiq organizations govern the museum with funding from charitable contributions, memberships, grants, contracts and sales.
Roberts has devoted more than thirty years to promoting cultural education and preservation, as a dancer and through her service to numerous organizations. Roberts is currently the chair of the Alutiiq Heritage Foundation, the organization that governs the Alutiiq Museum. She was born and raised in Kodiak.
AFN named Carl Marrs, the chief executive officer of the Old Harbor Native Corporation, its citizen of the year. The award honored Marrs’ successful efforts to change federal tax law in ways that allow Native Corporations to better serve their shareholders with dividends and services. He was also applauded for mentoring nonprofit leaders. Marrs was born in Seldovia and attended school in Kodiak. The award was his second recognition as citizen of the year by AFN. He was first honored in 2001.
The Denali award, which recognizes the service of a non-Native individual to the Alaska Native community, went to Jim Dillard. A retired educator, Dillard taught cultural arts in Port Lions and Kodiak beginning in the 1980s. He was one of the first classroom teachers connect students with Alutiiq heritage. His efforts helped to revitalize Alutiiq carving traditions.
“We congratulate these three leaders for their well-deserved awards and thank you for their outstanding service to our community,” the news release stated.