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Village Voice Meets
Thousands of Alaskan Natives gathered in Anchorage the week of October 17 for the annual Alaska Federation of Natives Convention or AFN, including several members of the Village Voice Board.
In 2007 Shell agreed to invest funds in the Alaska Community Foundation to support a pilot project to help develop the capacity of the eight villages which make up the North Slope Borough, specifically when it came to industrial development in their region. The project was later called Village Voice.
"The basic idea was that representatives from the villages wanted to make their voices heard," said Dennis McMillian.
McMillian runs the Foraker Group and facilitates the Village Voice Board. He says this year’s meeting was well attended and productive.
"The board had 80% attendance, discussed the year's objectives which include governance and finance training for all the villages and continued work on building relationships with other North Slope nonprofits.
This year McMillian leveraged some of the initial funding from Shell to partner with the United States Department of Agriculture to provide financial training in the villages. McMillian went on to say that since the meeting 3 villages have been scheduling training and one has put in a request for local funding for community projects.
Village Voice is now the longest standing social sector effort on the Slope not managed in some way by ASRC or the borough
The Board is expected to meet again sometime next summer.