Kaylene Johnson-Sullivan


Bringing Native Values to Work Sophie Minich and Sheri Buretta were both little girls in Alaska when, 51 years ago, on December 18, 1971, President Richard Nixon signed the landmark Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). The act was the first of its kind in the United States’ long history of settlements with Native Americans. ANCSA created 12 Native regional economic development corporations in which the stockholders are the Native people who traditionally lived in these regions. The corporations were formed to provide economic, educational, social service, and cultural benefits to their shareholders. Today, Minich and Buretta lead two of these Native corporations. Buretta is the chairman of the board for Chugach Alaska Corporation. Minich is the president and CEO of Cook Inlet Region Inc. (CIRI). Sheri Buretta Growing up between Tatitlek and Anchorage, Sheri Buretta and her family drove from Anchorage, where she lived, to Valdez, where an uncle…

Salads at locally owned Turkey Red in Palmer are just one healthy, delicious menu item. Other dishes include grilled polenta, chicken with figs, moussaka, cioppino, soups, hot and cold sandwiches, pizza, and an array of desserts. Photo by Kaylene Johnson-Sullivan. Alex Papasavas did not set out to become a chef much less the owner of one of the most popular restaurants in Palmer, Alaska. In the early 1990s, she worked for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) as a horse packer at the Three Peaks Ranch in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. When the ranch cook had to leave for a family emergency, Alex agreed to fill in. “I thought, my gosh, I don’t know anything about cooking,” Alex said. Her saving grace was a 1984 book, Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee. “It just opened the door for me.” Since then,…

Alaska fruit growers are a generous bunch. Ira Edwards is known around Alaska as an avid outdoorsman who fishes, hunts, cycles, and skis—these days from a wheelchair or other adaptive gear. What people may not know is that he’s also an avid gardener and fruit grower. Edwards believes in community and among his many passions, he teaches kids with disabilities to ski and is establishing apple orchards at local schools. Through an Alaska Community Forestry Program grant, he grafted 100 baby trees two years ago and then partnered with the Trailside Elementary PTA in Anchorage to plant the trees on school grounds last year. “The end goal is apples for kids and then apples for everyone,” Edwards said. The apple harvest, still 10 years down the road, will be donated to local food banks.