Caleb Lumen Pungowiyi grew up with the traditions of his St. Lawrence Island Yupik heritage.
Raised in his home of Savoonga, Alaska, Caleb was imbued with the marine traditions of conservation by use—protecting marine habitats through subsistence lifeways.
In his career life, Caleb passionately advocated for sustaining Arctic cultures and peoples.
A humble man, Caleb cultivated relationships between indigenous peoples, conservationists, modern scientists, and governing agencies at a time when such relationships had yet to exist.
As his leadership roles continued to grow, Caleb served on myriad boards and commissions, offering incomparable wisdom between traditional and modern communities.
Among his many roles were President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, where he negotiated full access for Arctic Indigenous People to fully participate in meetings of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy.
Caleb served on the Advisory Committees of the National Science Foundation, the Marine Mammal Commission, the Alaska Native Science Commission, and the world’s largest marine-advocacy organization, Oceana. Caleb served as the President of Kawerak, Inc., the tribal consortium improving social, cultural, economic, and political conditions in the Bering Strait region.”
The impact of Caleb’s legacy and leadership lives on through collaborative relationships between leaders in Arctic and marine conservation.
Caleb is survived by his wife, Gladys, his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and the many colleagues and friends who remain inspired by his work to make positive impacts across Arctic ecosystems.
Caleb’s wish for a marine-focused Scholars Program is borne out of the recognition that the Arctic’s indigenous people have a unique place in the modern, niche field of marine conservation.
The Program supports young people to carry on this legacy through their pursuits to engage in marine-related issues facing the Arctic—now, and into the future.
Hear an interview with Caleb on KNOM’s “Elder Voices” archives here: http://www.knom.org/wp/blog/2017/06/06/elder-voices-caleb-pungowiyi/