The Tlingit Haida Central Council held a community fair in Wrangell Saturday. The event gave tribal members a chance to get info on programs and to get new enhanced tribal IDs.

Savaannah Smith, Jade Balansag and Laura Helegeson being honored by Lou Knapp

Savaannah Smith, Laura Helgeson and Jade Balansag being honored by WCA member Lou Knapp. (Aaron Bolton, KSTK News)

Family Services Program Director Francine Jones said the IDs can be used for border crossings but also provide the tribe with a better count of its members.

“Some of our programs federally are based on population so it’s important that we get our children enrolled so we can make sure we increase that count,” said Jones. “Some of our programs, if the tribal enrollment is higher than what the feds obtain in their census, they will accept the tribal enrollment. That’s important for not only Tlingit Haida but probably for Wrangell also.”

The Council represented several of its 37 member programs such as family, employment and child care services. Wrangell Cooperative Association Administrator Aaron Angerman said this opportunity allows a face to be placed on those programs.

“So while if you’re in Juneau, you can speak with them and you can get them on the phone, to actually sit down in person with them is usually an annual opportunity that we only get once,” he said.

Angerman was also on hand for WCA members to provide info on a tribal housing assessment conducted this summer. The data was needed to seek funding for senior and other Native housing needs.

“We were able to get 133 Alaska Native or American Indian homes to submit the survey which gives a 95 percent confidence rate in the results,” said Angerman.

He said WCA is also partnering with the Tlingit Haida Regional Housing Authority to conduct energy audits this winter in order to obtain funding for energy assistance.

Three Wrangell middle school students were also honored during a WCA meeting at the fair. Savaannah Smith, Jade Balansag and Laura Helegeson helped start the district’s new Tlingit cultural and language class. Four high school and 16 middle schoolers are enrolled in that class.

The fair made a stop in Haines last week and will head to several Prince of Wales communities in November.