Native non-profit seeks space to hold convention
The Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood is requesting donated space in the parks and rec community gym to host its Grand Camp convention in early October.
Ross Nannauck III, ANB Camp 16 president, said between 200 to 400 people will attend, including delegates from Oregon to Anchorage.
“It’s a very big thing,” Nannauck said. “The last time we had a convention here was in 1971…it’s been awhile and something we’ve been working towards for a long time.”
In a letter to assembly members ANB and ANS officials wrote, “We plan to work with all B&B’s, hotels, PIA and the USFS to help house delegates, work with schools to have students attend convention business. We also plan to coordinate with local businesses for advertising and for discount coupons to encourage local shopping and use of local services.”
The borough assembly must approve the request but members didn’t feel comfortable granting the space just yet.
“I’m torn on what to do with this because this is a fine organization but others are going to come forward and also claim to be benefiting the community,” assembly member John Hoag said. “Where do we have some consistency?”
The space has never been donated before and other assembly members felt ANB/ANS officials needed to discuss in more detail their plans with Parks and Recreation director Donnie Hayes.
Hayes responded to the ANB/ANS letter with a memo to the assembly. In it, he relates concerns about costs to the borough and the precedent the assembly would set by donating the space.
“I’ve never made that exemption for anybody,” Hayes said reporting to the assembly.
The Salvation Army had its convention in Petersburg and parks and rec charges other groups who use the facility such as the Viking Swim Club and the Ragnarok Rollers.
The assembly unanimously voted to wait for Grand Camp officials to discuss plans more thoroughly with Hayes before making any recommendations.