Metlakatla elected a new mayor, Tribal Council members and other senior officials Tuesday.
Albert Smith won a two-year term as Metlakatla Indian Community’s mayor. He’ll replace incumbent Reginald Atkinson, who did not seek another term as the reserve’s elected leader.
In an interview Wednesday morning, Smith said he believes he can make his hometown a better place.
“I’d like to build on the successes of previous mayors and councils, work with the council to develop an economic development strategy to bring more good paying jobs and strengthen our island economy, (and) find creative solutions to difficult challenges while maintaining financial discipline and living within our means,” Smith said.
It was a close race: Smith defeated challenger Keolani Booth by just 22 votes — that’s a margin of less than 4 percentage points. He thanked the community for their support.
Judith Eaton will remain secretary after besting a challenger. Darcy Booth defeated incumbent Nathan Fawcett for treasurer.
Six Tribal Council seats were up this year. Desi King, Joseph Ridley, Mark Gunyah, David R. Boxley, Zachary Mills and Christina Martinez emerged victorious from a field of 11.
It’s a markedly younger group set to govern Alaska’s only native reserve. Outgoing mayor Atkinson is 73. Mayor-elect Smith is three decades younger — just 43.
“I think our generation has heard the call. It’s our turn to step up, and I’m very proud to say that our generation has,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with them, and I think we’re going to do great things for our town.”
The newly-elected tribal officials take office next month. Officials say just shy of 600 of Metlakatla’s 2,000-plus tribal citizens voted in the election.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the winner of the race for treasurer. Darcy Booth defeated incumbent Nathan Fawcett.