Citizens of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska have elected their first female chair. Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election have given KathyHope Erickson the top Tribal job with 109 votes.

Photo courtesy of KathyHope Erickson.

Erickson is the current director of STA’s Language and Education Department. She plans to retire this year.

Erickson says she wants to use her new position to ensure that the tribe hears a diversity of voices.

“I believe that keeping government as transparent as possible is paramount.  I also believe in being as inclusive as possible – inviting all of our citizens, including our elders and our young people, to have a voice in our government workings as members of STA committees.”

Erickson ran against the STA’s current chair Michael Baines and former chair Lawrence “Woody” Widmark. Tribal citizens cast 70 votes for Widmark and 45 for Baines. Write-in candidate Rachel Moreno received 7 votes at Tuesday’s election.

There were also four open seats on the Tribal Council. Michael Miller and Bob Sam were reelected, while Wilbur Brown and Nancy Douglas were newly elected to the council.

A total of 234 tribal citizens cast ballots in this year’s election, including 14 absentee and nine question ballots.

The tribal election results are unofficial until the next council meeting  Wednesday, November 16. Members of the newly elected council begin their terms of office on December 1.

Breakdown of votes:

Michael Baines- 45
KathyHope Erickson- 109
Lawrence Widmark-  70
Write in: Rachel Moreno- 7

Wilbur Brown- 152
Nancy Douglas- 171
Wilfred Hanbury- 122
Michael Miller- 157
Robert Sam- 164
Write in: Rachel Moreno- 13