DANSRD would like to congratulate former faculty member Barbara ‘Wáahlaal Gíidaak Blake on her successful bid for a seat on the Juneau Assembly. Barbara is a graduate of the RD MA (2013) and BA programs and taught for DANSRD 2013 through 2014. ‘Wáahlaal Gíidaak is of Haida, Tlingit and Ahtna Athabascan descent and belongs to the Káat nay-st/Yahkw ’Láanaas (Shark House/Middle Town People) Clan. She is the daughter of Sandra Demmert (Yahkw Jáanaas) and Kenneth Johnson (Naltsiina), and the granddaughter of Frances Demmert Peele (Yahkw Jáanaas), Franklin Demmert, Sr. (Teeyeeneidi), Irene Johnson (Naltsiina) Walter Johnson (Norwegian), and mother to two amazing kids. She currently serves as the Director of the Alaska Native Policy Center with First Alaskans Institute, where she promotes the self-determination of Alaska Native peoples through strengthening opportunities for indigenous voices to be at the forefront of leading, solving, confronting, and advocating for Indigenous communities. She will be a strong voice for equity and justice for all on the Assembly.
We are very proud of her achievements and hope that other RD and ANS graduates will follow in her footsteps to provide strong leadership for Alaska.