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Neal Foster Resigns from Sitnasuak Board

Polar bear in front of Sitnasuak Native Corporation building in Nome.
Detail of the Sitnasuak Native Corporation building on Front Street in Nome. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM file.

Representative Neal Foster stepped down from the Sitnasuak Board of Directors last month. In a letter to shareholders announcing the resignation, he cited a need to focus on his duties in the Alaska House of Representatives.

Foster has served on the Sitnasuak board of directors for 14 years. The Nome-based native corporation is accepting applications from shareholders to fill the vacancy through Monday, March 26th.

Foster’s departure is the latest development in an eventful year for Sitnasuak. In December, director Mark Allred announced his resignation from the board of directors. The corporation called for applications for his replacement. However, a week later Allred rescinded his resignation, and he continues to serve on the board.

Sitnasuak has been unable to hold board elections at a meeting of its shareholders since 2016.

The corporation sued to remove three of its directors last August. The case is still in pretrial proceedings in Alaska Superior Court. Following the recommendation of the court, Sitnasuak postponed the 44th annual shareholder meeting and director elections until the case could be resolved.

Originally scheduled for last summer, that meeting has not yet been rescheduled.

However, according to Vice President of Corporate Affairs Ukallaysaaq Okleasik, the board has been able to continue its work, including making charitable contributions.

Sitnasuak donated $166,477 in 2017, mostly to organizations in Nome, as well as to hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, where the corporation owns a military uniform manufacturing company.

Until the shareholder meeting takes place, Sitnasuak shareholders can continue to cast their proxies. They can request a new proxy card to change their vote at any time.

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