Bea Kristovich, first woman traditional chief of Association of Village Council Presidents, has died

Bea Kristovich is the first woman Traditional Chief of AVCP. (Photo by Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK)

Bethel and Napaimute elder Bea Kristovich died Thursday at the age of 83. The Association of Village Council Presidents elected Kristovich as their first woman traditional chief in 2015. Kristovich spoke with KYUK the day of that historic election.

“Women were always left out over the years,” Kristovich said. “The men were the leaders. But over the years, there’s been more people, or more ladies, more women getting more active, going into active roles as leaders from the villages. And they’re still silent. But I think being the first one, it will show these other younger generations that they can do it.”

That day Kristovich shared her vision for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta tribes.

“I want them to be united,” Kristovich said. “You know, there’s 56 villages, and they’re still separated by Yukon, Kuskokwim, and our area. And I think if we were all united, we’d be so strong. We could stick together and fight for issues that are very important for our people and our villages. It would work.”

Kristovich wanted younger people to lead the region. She resigned as traditional chief after one year.

Kristovich was Athabascan and a member of the Native Village of Napaimute. She was born in Napaimute and lived most of her life in Bethel. During her multiple careers, she worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Alaska Court System, and the Lower Kuskokwim School District.

Her family said that Kristovich died in Anchorage at the Alaska Native Medical Center following a long illness. The family will hold a viewing in Anchorage, a Catholic funeral in Bethel, and then a burial for the former traditional chief in Napaimute.

KYUK - Bethel

KYUK is our partner station in Bethel. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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