Juneau – The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) mourns the passing of former Senator Albert Kookesh, a prodigious supporter of Native rights across Southeast. The loss will be felt in communities and tribal organizations across the state.
“Few people are able to impact a region as significantly as Albert did,” said SEARHC President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Clement. “Mr. Kookesh dedicated his life to the betterment of Native people across not only Southeast but the entire State of Alaska. SEARHC staff are appreciative for his contributions to Alaska Native People, and our thoughts go out to his family and the community of Angoon.”
Kookesh was a member of the Sealaska Board of Directors for the past 45 years, and his tenure included stints as Board Chair, a member of both the Shareholders Relations Committee and Haa Aaní, LLC and a Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) Trustee. At SHI, Albert was integral in efforts towards the preservation of Native language and culture, the expansion of the scholarship program and the creation of biennial festivities known as Celebration.
“You will not meet a bigger champion for rural community causes than Mr. Kookesh,” said SEARHC Board Chair Kimberley Strong. “He was a constant source of support for SEARHC and our organization’s endeavors, and he will be missed.”
Albert served eight-year terms in both the state House and Senate, as well as working directly under the Governor of Alaska as a Policy and Program Specialist. Kookesh was a ranking member for numerous Alaska Native entities over the years, including the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) and the First Alaskans Institute.