Henry Ivanoff, of Alaska, died unexpectidly after a brief illness this week.
Henry was the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Bering Straights Native Corporation.
In March 2021, the Board of Directors at Bering Straights mandated the COVID Vaccine for all employees.
“COVID-19 vaccination is a necessary step toward ending the pandemic. The health and safety of BSNC employees, shareholders and the communities in which we work and live remains BSNC’s top priority. Therefore, the BSNC Board of Directors took the strong step of mandating that all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 once the vaccine is available. I applaud the BSNC Board of Directors for making this ground-breaking decision. Many other Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) are considering this mandate.”
Spokeswoman Miriam Aarons said that as an Alaska Native corporation, BSNC made the decision with both its history of the 1918 Flu Pandemic and company values in mind.
“Unlike the flu that devastated Seward Peninsula a century ago, COVID-19 can be controlled. At Bering Straits, we believe that the best way to protect the health and lives of our people and honor our Elders and ancestors is by supporting widespread vaccination efforts.”
“Countless children were left orphaned without ties and family to learn from and pass along traditions, culture, heritage… that pandemic left a very painful scar on our region and negatively affected our Native customs traditions in ways that endure to this very day.”
Aarons was referring to the 1918 Spanish-flu pandemic, which some estimate may have taken the lives of 40% or more of Alaska Native people living on the Seward Peninsula.
-Miriam Aarons, Communications Director for Bering Straits Native Corporation
His death was announced yesterday by the President and CEO of Bering Straights.
May he rest in peace and may his family find comfort in this difficult time.