MARCH 12, 1939

FORMER GWICH’IN GRAND CHIEF CLARENCE LEE ALEXANDER BORN

Alexander was raised about 20 miles north of Fort Yukon, Alaska.  Former Grand Chief of Gwich’in peoples, he also was the first Chief of Fort Yukon (1980-94).  Alexander co-founded and was chairman of the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments and co-founder of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council–a group of 60 First Nations and Tribal Governments protecting Yukon River Watershed.  A former Chairman of the Gwichyaa Zhee Corporation, the local ANCSA village corporation, he also founded Gwandak radio, KZPA 900 am, which broadcasts from Fort Yukon.  He helped his wife, Virginia, author the Gwich’in To English Dictionary.  Alexander received the 2004 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award for advocating for environmental justice, tribal rights, and protection of the Yukon River Watershed.  In 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Barack Obama.

Sources:   “2004 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award, Awardee: Clarence Alexander,” Ecotrust.  Retrieved 6/24/2019, http://archive.ecotrust.org/indigenousleaders/2004/clarence_alexander.htmlLen Anderson, “Fort Yukon Man Receives Presidential Honor,” Alaska Public Media, 10/21/2011  Retrieved 6/24/2019,.   https://www.alaskapublic.org/2011/10/21/fort-yukon-man-receives-presidential-honor/
Photo:   White House, 10/20/2011.   Public Domain.  Photograph taken by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.

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