MARY JANE (Evans) FATE
MARY JANE (Evans) FATE
Mary Jane Fate, a Koyukon Athabascan born in Rampart, labored tirelessly to improve all aspects of Alaska Native people’s lives. As one of the original Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act lobbyists, she worked with others to convince the White House and Congress of the fairness and justice in conveying 40 million acres and $1 billion to Alaska Natives through the passage of the Native claims act in 1971.
After graduating from Mt. Edgecumbe boarding high school in 1952 she became one of the first Native women to attend college at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Because of her numerous accomplishments, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from UAF in 1992.
Fate was recognized for her leadership abilities by becoming the first woman co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives. She served on her Alaska Native village corporation board since its inception in 1972 until recently and was its president for many years. She is a founding member of the North American Indian Women’s Association and in 1975 was its third national president.
As co-chairs of the Alaska Natives Commission Fate and Perry Eaton led a two-year study which produced a report designed to serve as a blueprint for change regarding the way the federal and state governments are to deal with Alaska Native issues.
Appointed at the end of 2001 by President George H.W. Bush, Fate served as the only indigenous member on the U.S. Arctic Research Commission for a little more than four years with her last meeting held in June 2006, USARC’s 80th meeting, which was held in Barrow, Alaska.
In 2003 President George W. Bush appointed her as a member of the U.S. Census Advisory Committee on American Indian and Alaska Native Populations.
In 2012 Fate was honored by her Native regional corporation, Doyon, with their most prestigious award, Citizen of the Year: “for her leadership, strong commitment, competence and sensitivity in the educational and cultural survival of Alaska Natives.”
Her achievements do not stop at serving only her people. Fate was among four prominent Americans chosen to receive Cancer Awareness awards in 1998. She served as director on the Alaska Airlines board for 25 years, the first 23 years as the only woman to do so, and in 1981 she was the first woman and Alaska Native appointed to the Alaska Judicial Council. She was a Regent for the University of Alaska from 1993 through 2001. Until recently she was a member of the board for the Breast Cancer Detection Center in Fairbanks which she helped found in the l970s with Nancy Murkowski.