Karla Gatgyedm Hana’ax Booth (Ts’msyen) is the Indigenous Leadership Continuum Director at First Alaskans Institute. She is from the Raven clan and is the daughter of Clarissa Booth of Metlakatla and Glenn Somerville of Wisconsin. Gatgyedm Hana’ax is the granddaughter of the late Violet and Billy Booth of Metlakatla. She was raised in the neighborhoods of Seattle, and on the beaches and muskeg of Kake and Metlakatla. Gatgyedm Hana’ax enjoys being a mother and being a dancer with Lepquinm Gumilgit Gagoadim Tsimshian Dancers of Anchorage. She enjoys studying Sm’algyax (Tsimshian language), weaving cedar bark, sewing, exploring family genealogy, and serving the Alaska Native community.
Gatgyedm Hana’ax is responsible for leading and strengthening the Indigenous Leadership Continuum initiative at First Alaskans Institute which includes our annual Statewide Elders & Youth Conference, Summer Internship Program, Rural Governance Fellowship, Public Policy Fellowship, Al Adams Young Political Leader Fellowship, First Nations’ Futures Program, amongst many other exciting leadership focused endeavors. These programs advance Alaska Native self-determination and embolden leadership to engage in critical thinking, action, and discourse. They advance our ways of life by growing thriving knowledge bearers and practitioners who steward opportunities to learn and share their knowledge with others.
Gatgyedm Hana’ax moved to Anchorage in 2000 to attend the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in Alaska Native Literature and a minor in Alaska Native Studies. From 2004-2017, she had the honor of supporting the transition of and serving as an advocate for Alaska Native, Native American, and rural students as the UAA Alaska Native & Rural Outreach Program Coordinator and Cama-i Room Coordinator. While there she was able to support the advancement of young leaders by supporting their wellness and academic achievement, balanced with maintaining connection to their community and culture and strengthening their advocacy voice.