Author: Jessica Lee, Cultural Sovereignty Fellow
First published in the Association on American Indian Affairs News on Indian Affairs Spring/Summer 2019 edition.
For over sixty years, Alfred Ketzler, Sr., a former Board Member of the Association on American Indian Affairs, has served Native Country and the rights of Alaska Natives. In 2019, we honored Alfred by acknowledging the many extraordinary contributions he has made throughout his more than one-half-century-long tenure with the Association on American Indian Affairs.
Alfred was born and raised in the Athabascan village of Nenana. Alfred’s uncle was the famous Chief Thomas,(1) who was among the head Council of Chiefs that organized in 1915 to protect Alaska Native land rights. That same year the Chiefs held a meeting with government officials to protest the construction of the Alaska railroad through a burial ground in Nenana and to voice their concerns on other issues affecting Alaska Natives. The strength of their alliance and advocacy resulted in the railroad line avoiding the burial site in Nenana.(2)