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1963 - Griffen Park, Fairbanks
Fairbanks Native Association booth

Founding of the FNA : A "Social" Organization

The Fairbanks Native Association began as a modest association whose members were interested in improving life for Alaska Native peoples in Fairbanks.

The first meeting of the FNA was held on 29 March 1963, and Fairbanksan Ralph Perdue took on the role of President. The FNA was incorporated as a non-profit corporation 25 January 1967.

According to Ralph Perdue, the FNA was originally concerned with the treatment of Native peoples in Fairbanks. Starting in the 1950s the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) had been encouraging Alaska Native peoples from around the state to move to the urban centres such as Fairbanks for jobs. Unfortunately, there was little support in the city for newcomers. Perdue noted that the FNA was a "social organization" aimed at helping people. Over the years the FNA expanded to take over many BIA programs, "serving the people more efficiently than what was being done before" (tape H91-24).

Richard Frank, who served as FNA President in 1968, noted that FNA quickly became a place for people to gather locally: "a local Native government to help people with health, education, employment..." (tape H92-05-03).

Jules Wright emphasized that the FNA was not just for Fairbanks, but rather was a voice for people from the villages who had little influence in the city (tape H92-05-24).

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