May 27, 2016

Calista Corporation Announces 2016 Shareholder Award Recipients

Recipients Live Cultural Values

(Anchorage, Alaska) – 

Calista Corporation is excited to announce the honorees of the 2016 Calista Corporation Shareholder Awards. Nominated by fellow Shareholders and Descendants, the recipients bring cultural values to life and we are proud to feature them as Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta regional leaders.

  • Calista Culture Bearer: Mike Williams, Sr. (Akiak). Mike is well known for two key missions in his life: sobriety and subsistence rights. He was the 2016 recipient of the Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation Community Spirit Award in recognition of his advocacy for these important issues. Mike is known as the “Sobriety Musher” and his voice is often recognized in state and national tribal gatherings.
  • Axel C. Johnson Distinguished Shareholder: Ronald Hoffman (Bethel). Ronald, born and raised in Aniak, began working for the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP) Regional Housing Authority in 1985, eventually becoming president and CEO in 2000. He has dedicated more than 30 years of his career to creating housing and housing programs for people in the AVCP region, including hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in wages and benefits helping families, businesses and the Region’s economy.
  • Raymond C. Christiansen Community Service Award: Aniak Youth Center (Aniak). Through the Aniak Traditional Council, the Aniak Youth Center works to create a positive atmosphere for the youth of the community in which they can socialize and learn cultural heritage, sports, music and crafts. The center’s efforts have brought attention to suicide prevention and awareness. They are successfully fundraising for a new youth center in Aniak.
  • Calista Youth/Educator of the Year: Byron Nicholai (Toksook Bay). Byron preserves his culture through music and drumming in his Native Yup’ik language. He has 20,000 followers on his Facebook page, “I Sing, You Dance,” an outlet for his music and a way for fans to share their own experiences. Byron has traveled the nation encouraging youth to explore their heritage through traditional music.
  • Calista Elder of the Year: Lucy Sparck (Chevak). Lucy was born in Qissunaq and grew up in Chevak. During her career, she was a teacher and a social worker and supervisor, and worked at AVCP as the director of Kinglianga Ciunerkaat. Lucy earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Mary Manse College and a Master of Social Work from the University of Utah. She currently conducts workshops and is working on getting her book published. Lucy is passionate about the Yup’ik/Cup’ik culture and hopes future generations stay connected by knowing their culture.
  • Calista Business of the Year: Walter S. Lovell, Sr. (Aniak). Walter began in the dental business after graduating high school and has owned his own business for over 13 years. His Native-owned business provides services that include making crowns, bridges, inlays, dentures and custom design teeth. Known for his strong work ethic and dedication to serving his community, Walter often works weekends to take care of clients and donates his services to those in need.

“Elders, teachers, leaders, and even future leaders, all contribute to the betterment of our individual lives and our community,” said Calista Corporation Chief Operating Officer Monica James. “These Shareholder award recipients enrich and inspire our Region, the state and the world. Calista is privileged to honor these worthy recipients and their accomplishments.”

Each honoree or designated individual will receive a plaque 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 approximately 13,000 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 $4 Million in scholarships and since inception more than $43.2 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.