Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative earns highest honors and national recognition from Harvard Honoring Nations

October 21, 2016

The Harvard Honoring Nations awarded the Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative (ARUC) with its highest award on Wednesday, Oct. 12 during a special presentation at the National Congress of American Indians conference in Phoenix, Arizona. ARUC was one of six semifinalists from Tribal programs across the country, out of an original field of 87 applicants. Harvard Honoring Nations is an award of The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, a project of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. According to The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, “Honoring Nations identifies, celebrates and shares excellence in American Indian tribal governance. At the heart of Honoring Nations are the principles that tribes themselves hold the key to generating social, political, and economic prosperity and that self-governance plays a crucial role in building and sustaining strong, healthy Indian Nations.” In August, Harvard Honoring Nations committee members came to Alaska for a site visit of the ARUC office and Goodnews Bay to learn more about the program and see the unique challenges that Alaska Tribal communities face. “The Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative demonstrates the power of cooperation and the significant payoffs when small communities can take advantage of economies of scale. It’s a model that not only strengthens tribal governments’ ability to sustain quality water and sewer systems, but also increases people’s support – and willingness to pay for – for fundamental public services,” said Andrew Lee, Honoring Nations Board of Governors member, during the award presentation. ARUC is an ANTHC program that was created to manage, operate and maintain water/sewer systems in rural Alaska. Currently, there are 27 member communities in the program who receive assisted billing support, engineering and project management support, and utility and grants management. For more information about ARUC, visit For more information about Honoring Nations visit  

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