In August, representatives from Kinross’ leadership team including Mike Sylvestre, Senior Vice-President, Americas and Terence Watungwa, Vice-President and General Manager, Alaska, met with Tetlin Chief Michael Sam and members of the Manh Choh project team to finalize an agreement to establish an elders’ home in the community.
The agreement comes after months of discussions between Kinross Alaska leadership and the Tetlin Village Council on infrastructure needs for the community. The council discussed ideas with village elders and came up with the proposition for an elders’ home that would be located on traditional land, with access to cultural foods and traditions and in close proximity to family and friends.
At this time, members of the elder community must travel outside of rural Alaska to receive the medical care and support needed at elders’ homes – a challenging task for most, who have only known life on tribal land and are moved a far distance from family and friends.
The home will be constructed at the conclusion of mining and will hold up to 35 beds for elder community members in Tetlin and surrounding local areas.
“The signing of the Elders Home Agreement with Kinross Manh Choh was a significant milestone for our native people, and it will benefit and serve many communities in this region,” said Tetlin Chief Michael Sam. “This is a tremendous start in serving and providing for our elders by keeping them closer to family and friends. When they asked us about the infrastructure needs in our community we knew, after some reflection, what was most needed and they have worked with us to make this a reality”.
“We recognize the importance of having elders present in the community to see their children and grandchildren grow up,” said Terence. “This landmark agreement is a product of our ongoing dialogue with Tetlin community stakeholders and demonstrates our long-term commitment to creating positive economic and social benefits in our host communities.”
At the conclusion of the signing, attendees visited the peak of Manh Choh to gain an appreciation for the land and to receive an update from the project team on the ongoing progress of Manh Choh.