JUNE 17, 1941


Born in Kotzebue, Alaska (AK), his family lived by hunting, fishing and trapping.  Attending boarding school in Tennessee, he was football co-captain & class president.  Hensley earned a Bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and from 1966-68, studied law at the Universities of AK (UAK), New Mexico & California, while co-founding the AK Federation of Natives (1966).  He then served in both the AK House of Representatives (1966-70) and Senate (1972-76, 1987).  At UAK, he began involvement with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA).  After ANCSA, Hensley helped found NANA Regional Corporation and served 20+ years as its director and president.  In 1994, the governor appointed him Commissioner of Commerce & Economic Development.  Founder of Maniilaq, a regional non-profit representing the tribes in the Kotzebue region, he also is a director for Koahnic Broadcasting, and trustee for both Charter College and the First Alaskans Foundation. 

Source:  “William L. Hensley,” wwwAlaskool.org.  Retrieved 5/14/2020, http://www.alaskool.org/projects/biography/WHensley-bio.htm
Photo:  Andrew Parodi, 2013.  Public Domain. 

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