‘The Journey Left a Lasting Impression’

gloria o neill
Gloria O'Neill

For me, the beauty and spirit of the holiday season lies in family, and spending time with those we cherish most in our lives. The holidays also serve as a time for rekindling our connections with friends, our community, and our culture.

At Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) in Anchorage, we hold a high regard for this sense of family and the tenets that define the same. Our core values at CITC foster a sense of connection and community—the values of being resilient and interdependent; of being both accountable and respectful.

My trip this year to Ireland revealed a Donegal reflecting many of these same values. The journey left a lasting impression. With its stunning coastline, rich heritage and cultural traditions, Donegal’s rugged beauty is not unlike Alaska’s own, and my time there held a sense of homecoming for me.

Donegal understands the importance of being connected—through education and heritage, and the importance of family and culture in building identity and a sense of belonging.

It is this same sense of belonging that defines the holiday season for me personally, and reinforces the values I hold near my heart. It is the foundation upon which we intentionally build through our daily efforts and the responsibility we have to each other.

Whether in Alaska, or Donegal, or elsewhere this holiday season, our collective story is one of more than words. It is one of purpose, and is reflected in every interaction with each other and the things we do as well as the things we say. It tells the story of our belief, values, and vision.

It’s the story of who we are, what we do, and why it matters.

I wish everyone in Donegal—and all of Ireland and beyond—the very best of the holiday season …

Warmest regards,

Gloria O’Neill