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President - Profile

Richard (Chalyee Éesh) Peterson is Tlingit from the Kaagwaantaan clan. He grew up in Kasaan, Alaska and is a life long Alaska Native resident of Southeast Alaska. Prior to being elected as President of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council) in 2014, Richard served as Chief Executive Officer of Prince of Wales Tribal Enterprise Consortium, LLC (POWTEC), president of the Organized Village of Kasaan (OVK), mayor/city council member for the City of Kasaan, and member of the Southeast Island School District Board of Education.

Richard has developed the skills necessary to effectively represent and communicate the needs of Southeast Alaska Native people. He is adept at negotiating and team building and has worked to continually build lasting relationships that prove to be mutually beneficial to all stakeholders. Richard believes in a proactive approach to achieve win-win scenarios and continues to shape the future of the economic and social well-being of our tribal citizens through collaborative efforts and local economic development initiatives.

Economic Development. Partnership. Tribal Sovereignty. Community Sustainability. These are all words that describe Richard's mission as President of the largest regional tribe in Alaska. His ability to bring culture and business values together through collaborative and proactive partnerships with federal, state, tribal, and municipal governments has gained him national recognition.

As a founding member of one of the first tribally-owned 8(a) corporations in Alaska, Prince of Wales Tribal Enterprise Consortium (POWTEC), Richard has helped shape the future of the economic and social wellbeing of Alaska Native people by promoting self-sufficiency in rural Alaska. Through innovative business strategies, he earned millions of dollars of revenue for POWTEC; his village tribe, the OVK; and is on a fast track to do the same for Central Council.

In less than three years as Central Council’s President, Richard has already laid the foundation for developing a cultural immersion park, language immersion day care, secured 8(a) certification for the Tlingit Haida Tribal Business Corporation, and acquired a multi-million dollar government contracting company. He has received numerous awards for his leadership and outstanding dedication to preserving culture and community, including the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s Native American 40 Under 40 award.

Richard stated, “Credit can never belong to one person. I work with an Executive Council comprised of true leaders and have aligned a strong management team. We work hard to uphold the mission of the Tribe and our true strength is in our vision for tribal self-governance."

Richard was unanimously re-elected to a second term as President in 2016 by over 100 Delegates that make up Central Council's governing body. He currently serves on the Native American Rights Fund board, Alaska Federation of Natives board, Alaska Governor’s Tribal Advisory Committee, and in various other appointed positions to represent tribal interest on Alaska Native issues.