JUNE 17, 1941

IÑUPIAK IGGIAGRUK (WILLIE HENSLEY) BORN– ALASKAN NATIVE RIGHTS ACTIVIST

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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