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Willie "Qassayuli " Kasayulie
Willie Qassayuli Kasayulie is Yup'ik and was born on June 1, 1951 to Tom and Elsie (Wassilie) Kasayulie in Fairbanks, Alaska. Willie was raised in Akiachak, Alaska, and attended boarding schools in Wrangell, Alaska and Oregon. He was seen as a promising student at Oregon’s Chemawa Indian School and was selected to attend a high school in Vermont for his final years. Willie returned to Alaska in 1971 the same year the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was passed and he soon was drawn into leadership roles. He served in the Alaska National Guard for seven years, and has worked for both the Akiachak Native Community and Akiachak Limited. He also has been involved in many Alaska Native organizations, such as the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), the Association of Village Council Presidents, Calista Corporation, and the Regional School Board, serving as board chairman for AFN, Calista Corporation, Akiachak Limited, and the Regional School Board, and as a regional board member for Calista Corporation and AFN. In the 1980's, Willie was involved in the dissolution of Akiachak's city government, which led to the Akiachak Native Community’s role as sole governing body for the village. In 2002, he became the Chief Executive Officer for Akiachak Limited, continuing in that capacity as of 2006. Willie was recognized as Citizen of the Year by AFN in the 1980's and in 1994 was chosen to represent national tribal leaders at a meeting with President Bill Clinton. Willie is married to Sophie (George) Kasayuli and together they have raised five children. Willie's greatest interest in life involves helping Native people to become recognized in the nation, to become self-sufficient, and to have better living conditions. In recent years, Willie has been of a member of Alaska Pacific University’s Elder’s Council because he believes that education is important, that younger generations are our most essential resources, and by allowing students the opportunity for higher education it will help build generations to come.
Biography written by Sophie Kasayulie of the Yupiit School District.