A leader and beloved elder who spent his life advocating for the rights of Ahtna people and protecting Alaska Native hunting and fishing rights has died. 

Tuesday evening, Ahtna, Inc. spokesperson Shannon Blue sent a release stating that Ahtna leader and elder Roy S. Ewan died at the Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage-- just days before his eighty-third birthday.

Ewan was the first Ahtna, Inc. employee who later served as the company's president/CEO from 1984 to 1990 and 1993 to 1996. He was heavily involved in the community as a board member of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alaska Federation of Natives and the Resource Development Council. Additionally, he was instrumental in the passing of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). 

According to the release, Nick Jackson, chairman of the Ahtna, Inc. Board of Directors, shared, “Roy’s heart was always for the people. Roy was orphaned at a young age and sent away but he later returned to become a respected and beloved leader of the Ahtna people.”

Ewan passed away Tuesday while holding the hand of his wife of 60 years, Glenda Ewan; surrounded by their daughter Jackie Johnny, son-in-law Patrick Johnny, grandchildren Ryan and Jolenda Johnny, and family and friends at his bedside.

"His final message was to love one another, work together and always take care of each other," the release said. 

Ewan was born on Feb. 25, 1935, in Kluti-Kaah, Alaska.

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