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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 & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) in 2014, Chalyee Éesh 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.

Chalyee Éesh 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. Chalyee Éesh 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. Meeting our Citizens Where They're At. Healthy Tribes Make Healthy Communities. These are all words that describe Chalyee Éesh'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), Chalyee Éesh 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 Tlingit & Haida.

In his first three years as Tlingit & Haida’s President, Chalyee Éesh laid the foundation for developing a 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 continues to promote economic development endeavors, and has launched several tribal enterprises to strengthen Tlingit & Haida's economic sovereignty and to generate unrestricted revenues to ultimately broaden the Tribe's reach and better serve our citizens wherever they may be.

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.

Chalyee Éesh 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."

Chalyee Éesh currently serves as Chair of the Alaska Tribal Unity, and on the Data for Indigenous Justice Advisory, Tlingit Haida Tribal Business Corporation board, United States Forest Service Alaska Tribal Leadership and Tongass Advisory committees, and in various other appointed positions to represent tribal interest on Alaska Native issues.