Sullivan Honors Alaskan of the Week: AlexAnna Salmon

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) this week spoke on the Senate floor in recognition of AlexAnna Salmon, of Igiugig, a leader and advocate for pioneering new efforts to better her community and ensure access to a sustainable supply of food and energy. Salmon was recognized as part of Senator Sullivan’s series, “Alaskan of the Week.”

The following is the statement submitted to the Congressional Record:


Madam President, these past few weeks I have had the opportunity to come to the floor to recognize truly exceptional Alaskans—those who dedicate their time, energy and talent to strengthening our communities and making Alaska a truly extraordinary place to call home. 

My colleagues here, those in the gallery, and those watching on TV might know Alaska for its natural wonders. We certainly have those in spades. We want you all to come visit. It will be a life changing experience, I promise.

But for those of us who live there, community is everything. Living in one of the most magnificent places on Earth also has challenges. We depend on each other, our traditional knowledge, our ingenuity and our determination to overcome those challenges, particularly as a community.

Madam President, today, I’d like to transport you to the village of Igiugig in Southwest Alaska and introduce you to an amazing young woman who is truly making a difference in her community: AlexAnna Salmon, who is our Alaskan of the Week.

First, a little bit about where she lives: Rich in Alaska Native traditions, her village is home to around 70 year-round residents, growing to more than 200 in the summer months.

The name “Igiugig” comes from a Yupik word meaning “like a throat that swallows water.” It’s referring to the location of the village, which sits where the Kvichak River meets Lake Iliamna.

Western Alaska has been home to thriving, sustainable communities for millennia. But rising energy costs and overregulation have put the future of many of these communities at risk.

In fact, many of these communities, particularly in rural Alaska, face some of the highest energy costs in the country. This is a bit of a cruel irony given how resource-rich Alaska is.  

But in typical Alaska fashion, this village, facing these energy challenges, comes together as a community to embrace new technologies and new ways to address these challenges. 

And at the forefront of this rural revolution in sustainable communities is our Alaskan of the Week, AlexAnna Salmon.

Raised in Igiugig, AlexAnna has emerged as a leader in her community and now serves as the Village Council President.

She’s had that position since just after graduating cum laude from Dartmouth College in 2008 with a double major in Native American Studies and Anthropology.

While at Dartmouth, she won a prestigious writing award for her senior thesis on life in her village.

When she was done with college, she, along with her sister, came back to her village to raise her family. In her words, “I felt that I had the greatest childhood here in Igiugig. This is where our kids need to be raised.” She wants their childhood experiences to be as great, or even better, and meaningful as hers.

To keep her community thriving, particularly with these energy challenges, and to make it an even better place for the next generation—she encourages healthy lifestyles, helps improve local infrastructure and works tirelessly toward ensuring that the people in her village have a sustainable source of food and energy. 

AlexAnna has overseen the establishment of community farms and gardens, wind turbines, solar collectors, centralized recycling, building upgrades, weatherization and, most recently, helped launch a very exciting hydro project.

For her dedication to the well-being of her community—and to all Alaskans—and for tackling unique challenges with both creativity and determination, for making the impossible in some of the most extreme parts of our country in terms of rural living seem possible, AlexAnna Salmon is the Alaskan of the Week.

Congratulations, AlexAnna, and thank you. Your dedication epitomizes what it means to be an Alaskan, honoring the traditions of our past and seizing the opportunities here and now to provide for a bright future.

Madam President, I yield the floor.