From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
Make room, Anchorage. This year's Alaska Federation of Natives convention is just a week away.
The Oct. 18-20 meeting returns to the Dena’ina Civic & Convention Center with a calendar of events listed online at www.nativefederation.org. AFN today announced U.S. Assistant Interior Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn and Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka among the featured speakers.
Akaka -- a Democrat, like fellow Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye -- joined the Senate in 1990 but chose not to run for re-election this year. He is the first and only Senator of Native Hawaiian ancestry, according to AFN. Washburn is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma.
The annual convention is expected to draw about 4,000 to 5,000 people to Anchorage in the largest annual gathering of Alaska Natives in the state. A luncheon honoring Akaka is scheduled for noon, Oct. 18, at the Downtown Marriott Hotel.
The 2012 convention theme is “Success Beyond Barriers.”
“It’s about our peoples’ repeated success at overcoming barriers and finding ways to thrive beyond the challenges that persist, especially in rural Alaska,” AFN president Julie Kitka said a written statement.