I Work For the People

By Lydia Robart


My name is Lydia Robart and I am Vice President of the Village Council here in Port Graham; I am the second chief. Port Graham is a traditional council and it is recognized under the Federal Government. In this way we are able to get grants like the J.O.M. program, B.I.A. assistance, plus we get assistance from North Pacific Rim, which is a non-profit organization.


I am on the board of directors. I represent Port Graham. I also am a commissioner on the housing authority. The housing doesnít fall under the vice-presidency. It is under the North Pacific Rim and is called North Pacific Housing Authority and is recognized from the State of Alaska as commissioner.


In case the village president is out of the village, I take over his position. We have people coming in from the Rim and if the President isnít here then I show them what to do and where to go for the meetings! I take over the council, which consists of six members.


My position usually lasts about three years and then they are re-elected. This year we were supposed to have the election. Every election is on Tuesday till Nov., but we canít change the by-laws.


The by-laws in articles of traditional council are not official on the State, but through B.I.A. we are recognized as traditional council. Like for example, when I.R.A. council has something to do with some kind of a charter, and is recognized from the Federal Government, etcÖ Itís really government work, and I do enjoy it!


I work with people and II look for goals and objectives for the council or the governing body of Port Graham. I feel in the future we will work real hard. We have to, to get anywhere! We have this 14c municipality according to Land Claims Act.


Twelve hundred and eight acres are set aside for our kids (I hope so). It ells you in the act, saying that the village council, or traditional council, is entitled to 1,280 acres of land, thatís two sections, 640 acres each, ratherthatís two townships, not sections.So the village corporation will work together and municipalitize that area of land. I have a feeling development is starting so fast, that right to this point, all lots are taken, so we have to subdivide somewhere else and tat will probably fall under our deficiency area, and then we fall back to our profit making organization, the village corporation.


The difference between the Village Corporation and the Village Council is, the council is the non-profit governing body. The Corporation is the profit making organization and they are supposed to bring in money, profit investments, for our 101 stockholders of Port Graham Corp.


Port Graham is entitled to 93 thousand acres of land according to ANSCA, Alaska Native Settlement Claims Act, and we have three townships and deficiency areas which fall under 12B, and according to ANSCA, set aside some lands in Resurrection Bay Area, Delight Bay and Desire Bay, thatís our deficiency area.


I feel I am serving the people, and I feel that they put me in there to work for them and I feel I want to accomplish something for them.


At this point the Village Council brings in lots of grants. For example we have a fire truck coming and itís a 60 thousand dollar piece of equipment. We have to have a place to put it in case of a fire.We have eleven trained E.M.T.ís (Emergency Medical Technicians) in Port Graham that can qualify to help in any emergency.


I am a commissioner on the housing project board. I see 28 houses coming into Port Graham. I see development coming; better homes and itís going to be different. The houses will be in Port Graham in the spring of 1980. We have to meet with our executive director and our architect and meet with individuals on how they want the houses designed, how many rooms they want and how thick they want the walls, how many doors, or if they want basements.


I served in 1973 as a secretary and I felt that leadership was important in this community, and other than that I served on the interim board of the Chugach Natives in 1973. I was just getting started in getting to know the government bodies and finding the channels through different agencies.Then in 1976 I was elected as Vice President.

Lydia Robart

Port Graham Corporation


Copyright 1981,Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.All rights reserved

Volume 1