Mary Ann Mills works diligently for Kenaitze Indian Tribe as Tribal Council member serving on the Education Committee, the Elders Council, the Tribal Court Codes Committee, the Dena’ina Wellness Center Committee, and is former Chief Tribal Judge for the Kenaitze who fought for full faith and credit and comity to have the Tribal Court orders enforced and recognized by local law enforcement and by State judges. She developed the Wellness Court and determinedly reminded the Tribal Council that their values are Kenaitze’s law.
In her 40’s, she and her friend and fellow council member Bernadine were mentored by Peter Kalifornsky. He taught them the history of the Tribe, the laws and values of their Tribe, and Tribal relationships were based upon respect, love, reciprocity, honoring all life, correction and reconciliation for members who have made mistakes. He taught the stories and his childhood memories of being raised by Chief Chickalusian. Sarah Francis Lindgren taught Mary Ann and Bernadine medicine plants. Francis was recognized as the last traditionally trained Kenaitze medicine woman.
Mary Ann was also part of a group of people who worked on ensuring Tribal rights when corporations were new and money was changing people. Etok Edwardsen was a great friend and mentor. She was arrested for fishing. Etok designed her legal strategy and she won her case.
The beauty of Mary Ann Mills is her willingness to learn, to read, to take the time to understand, then to advocate in Washington DC, the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland for Aleuts, Athabaskans, Eyaks, Haidas, Inupiats, Sugpiats/Alutiiqs, Tsimshians, Tlingits, and Yupiits. She chaired the planning committee for the 2014 NCAI half yearly meeting to bring former United Nations Independant Expert Alfred de Zayas to hear Tribes from all corners of the United States testify about violations of by the United States of international law. He presented his findings to the United Nations General Assembly in August 2014.
Mary Ann is also a member of the inaugural Elders Council at Alaska Pacific University.