The Howard Rock & Ted Stevens Smokehouse Gala

Saturday, November 23, 7 p.m.

Hotel Captain Cook
Downtown Anchorage


First Alaskans Institute Young Native Leader Awardee:

Dr. Pearl Kiyawn Nageak Brower (Iñupiaq/Chippewa/Armenian)

This young leader has shown through dedication they are working to help Native peoples and our community with significant and profound purpose.

Pearl holds a Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Leadership and a master’s degree in Alaska Native and Rural Development from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has been with Iḷisaġvik, Alaska’s first tribal college, since 2007, and has served as its President since 2012. Prior to working for Iḷisaġvik, she managed an education and culture grant for the North Slope Borough and served as the Museum Curator of the Iñupiat Heritage Center.


Howard Rock Alaska Native Leader Awardee:


Nelson Angapak (Yup’ik) 

This person has shown through their quality of character and effort to be a leader of distinct caliber because they put their community and people before themselves.

After attending Wrangell Institute, Nelson graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe in 1965 and earned a bachelor’s degree in Math in 1969. An Army veteran, he earned a master’s degree in Land and Natural Resources in 1978 and a degree in theology in 2002. He served as former Chairman of the Board, Alaska Federation of Natives (1979-1981); Chairman of the Board, Calista Corporation, (1978-1984) and President of Calista and retired in 2013 as a senior vice president of the Alaska Federation of Natives. After advocating tirelessly for many years to ensure Alaska Native Vietnam veterans could select their 160-acre Native allotments, the United States Congress passed a lands bill this March which included these settlements.


Friends of First Alaskans Ted Stevens Awardee:

Governor Walker

Governor Bill Walker

This award is given to a person that has shown through their support of Native issues and partnership with our common cause that they are friends of the Alaska Native community.

Governor Bill Walker served as the 11th governor of Alaska from 2014 to 2018. Born in Fairbanks and raised in Delta Junction and Valdez, Governor Walker is the second governor born in Alaska. A dedicated public servant, he previously served as mayor, city councilor, and city attorney for the City of Valdez, and as general counsel for the Alaska Gasline Port Authority. As Governor, he worked to heal and strengthen relationships with Alaska’s Tribes and Alaska Native people through establishing the Governor’s Tribal Advisory Council and signing the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact in 2017. Governor Walker also directed the Attorney General to provide guidance about tribal sovereignty – resulting in the AG Opinion that articulated to the State the legal status of tribal governments in Alaska. He also signed Administrative Order 300 declaring an emergency for Alaska Native languages. Near the end of his term, Governor Walker, provided a historic apology to Alaska Native peoples for the State policies, including boarding school removals, and more, that contributed to language and cultural loss, which caused intergenerational trauma. Governor Walker acknowledged that this apology was a first step in working to repair and rectify the State’s role and its ongoing relationship with Alaska Tribes and Native peoples of Alaska.



The Howard Rock & Ted Stevens Smokehouse Gala pays tribute to two men who exemplify commitment to Alaska and the First Peoples of this land.  Their legacies provide a pathway for understanding the critical importance of indigenous ways of life, our connections across this great land and the role of our friendships in helping steward our Native peoples and Alaska into the next 10,000 years...  Please watch this video to learn more about the men this gala is proudly named after.






Indigenous Chef

Nikki Graham

Nikki Graham (Yup’ik/Blackfoot Indian)

Originally from Homer, Nikki Graham is a lifelong Alaskan of Yup’ik, Blackfoot Indian and Dutch descent. She is a Cook Inlet Region Incorporated (CIRI) shareholder and is enrolled in the Ninilchik Village Tribe. Nikki earned her associate degree in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles, California and completed the Alaska Native Executive Leadership Program at Alaska Pacific University. After graduating from culinary school, Nikki gained invaluable experience working under one of California’s esteemed chefs Davie Lefevre. Today, Nikki has a passion for how food brings people together. Nikki cooks for private events and focuses on using locally sourced, organic and sustainable ingredients.
Nikki serves as the Director of Alaska’s People for Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) where she connects people to opportunities. Nikki is a champion of transformational change and an advocate for Alaska Native and American Indian people. She contributes to the creation and implementation of innovative approaches to workforce development needed to advance employment and career development opportunities.


To volunteer at the Gala, contact

For volunteer opportunities click here.


Proceeds from the Gala benefit First Alaskans Institute, a registered 501c3 organization.

EIN 92-017-4854. A portion of your contribution may be tax deductible. Donate Now.