Kenaitze Executive Director resigns

After 10 years as executive director of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, Jaylene Peterson-Nyren has resigned.

Peterson-Nyren resigned effective June 16, according to a statement issued Friday by the Tribal Council. The Tribal Council will conduct a nationwide search for the next executive director, with the goal of working toward the tribe’s mission of assuring “Kahtnuht’ana Dena’ina thrive forever and to ensure the success of the Dena’ina Wellness Center and the tribe’s strategic plan,” according to the statement.

In the meantime, Director of Operations DeeDee Fowler will work with the Tribal Council and the tribal leadership to ensure a smooth transition, according to the statement.

Peterson-Nyren led a number of initiatives for the tribe, including the construction of the 52,000-square-foot Dena’ina Wellness Center in Old Town Kenai and the 6,500-square-foot Tyotkas Elder Center, expanding the tribe’s footprint in Old Town. Peterson-Nyren also headed up the tribe’s initiative to start the Henu’ Community Wellness Court, an experimental therapeutic court under the joint jurisdiction of the state and the tribe.

The Kenaitze Indian Tribe’s next executive director will take on overseeing the tribe’s daily operations, including about 300 full-time and part-time staff members, the tribe’s health care operations, justice system, early childhood education center, elder center, housing program and numerous events throughout the year, as well as other tribal services.

“Working closely with the Tribal council and staff, Jaylene helped to accomplish many things for the betterment of the health and wellness of our tribal community,” the Tribal Council wrote in the statement.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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