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Clare Swan

Photo of Clare Swan
Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Native Issues, Political Activism


Born and raised on the Kenai Peninsula, Clare Swan worked for decades to preserve and protect the subsistence fishing rights of the Kenaitze Indians following passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA) in 1971.  She had the foresight to realize the significant impact of ANCSA on future generations of Alaska Native people.  She spent two decades immersed in research and litigation, culminating in the Kenaitze Indian Tribe receiving State regulations and rights on the eve of open fishing in June 1989.  That decision has had long reaching legal ramifications, extending to Indian grazing rights in Southwest America.

In the late 1970s Clare worked to establish the Cook Inlet Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.  While serving as Chair of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe she helped establish the Dena’ina Health Clinic and youth and community agricultural programs.  She served on the Board of Directors for Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) 1998, the latter as Chair since 2000.  In her “spare time”, Clare has advocated for women and children through the Indian Child Welfare Act, worked and supported the Women’s Crisis Center in Kenai, and volunteered with the court system.

In 2009 Clare was honored with the Alaska Federation of Natives President’s Award for Elder of the Year. She is most thankful to her husband of 60 years “who has supported me as person.”

Induction ceremony acceptance speech