June 10, 2014

Calista Corporation Announces Shareholder Awardees

(Anchorage, Alaska) –

Calista Corporation is excited to announce the honorees of the 2014 Calista Corporation Shareholder Awards. Nominated by fellow Shareholders and Descendants, the awardees exemplify cultural excellence and we are proud to have them as part of our corporation.

  • Calista Culture Bearer: Edna R. Patgulria Mathlaw. Edna is a talented and creative artist who tells buyers about the culture behind every art piece. For years, Edna has been sewing beautiful kuspaks, weaving intricate grass baskets, skin-sewing fur parkas and designing many more cultural pieces of art. Edna is committed to using traditional methods to make each piece. She was awarded the culture bearer award for her lifetime of creating beautiful artwork, and desire and passion for sharing her culture.
  • Axel C. Johnson Distinguished Shareholder: Melanie Coffee. During a time of great tragedy, Melanie managed to have the strength to save lives despite dealing with the death of her child. In November 2013, Melanie was on a plane that crashed outside of Saint Mary’s and Mountain Village. After surviving the crash, Melanie used a cellphone to call for help and then walked three-quarters of a mile to guide search crews to the wreckage to save the other survivors. Melanie is a true hero.
  • Raymond C. Christiansen Community Service Award: Saint Mary’s and Mountain Village. When a plane crashed outside the villages in November 2013, concerned residents came to the rescue. About 50 people set out on foot, snowmachines and ATVs to search for the plane when residents noticed it flying low. Working together and with survivor Melanie Coffee, they located the wreckage and carried the survivors through rough terrain to safety. Paramedics and Alaska State Troopers have said the actions of these individuals saved lives.
  • Calista Elder of the Year: Fred and Dunia Holmberg. Fred and Dunia Holmberg have been married for 56 years and exemplify our culture through their kindness, hard work and family values. Fred, 84, is a trapper, fisherman, hunter, firefighter, pilot, mechanic, plumber and much more. Dunia, 79, has worked as a post master, coffee shop clerk, election judge and parent advisory member. The couple has seven children, 25 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. They work has a team, and their marriage and subsistence lifestyle makes them role models for their family and community.
  • Calista Youth/Educator of the Year: Muriel Nussaalar Amos. Throughout Muriel’s 26-year career as a teacher she has demonstrated a strong commitment to improving cultural education. She has assisted in writing and publishing a Cup’ig Eskimo dictionary, revitalizing Eskimo dancing on Nunivak and has been awarded a number of grants that have benefited schools in Mekoryuk. Muriel is a role model who exemplifies preservation education.
  • Calista Business of the Year: Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association (YDFDA). YDFDA is a homegrown business that provides jobs and income for YK Delta residents. The company takes its role in the Community Development Quota program seriously and has invested resources for long-term economic development in the Calista Region. The company supports the port in Emmonak and has been hosting visiting legislative elected officials and safe, testifying at hearings and is willing to provide its own funds in support of the project.

“We are honored to have people with such a heart for service and the Region as a part of our corporation,” said Calista Corporation President/CEO Andrew Guy. “Our Shareholder Awardees demonstrate bravery, leadership determination and passion in moments of need and in their everyday lives.”

Calista will honor the recipients at the 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Kalskag on July 12. Each honoree or designated individual will receive a plaque, jacket and financial award.


The second largest of the original 13 Alaska Native Corporations, Calista Corporation was established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 and represents more than 12,000 Shareholders. The Calista region encompasses more than 6.5 million acres and includes 56 villages, which are incorporated into 46 individual village corporations. Since 1994, Calista has provided more than $3.5 million in scholarships and since inception more than $27.6 million in dividends and Elders’ Benefit Program distributions to its Shareholders and Descendants.

Calista Corporation is the parent company of more than 35 subsidiaries in the following industries: military defense contracting, construction, communications, real estate, environmental and natural resource development, and information technology and media services. Calista can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo caption (above): “Fred and Dunia Holmberg, 2014 Calista Elders of the Year, celebrate more than 50 years of marriage. This photo taken at their home in Kalskag, Alaska.”