Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
When I made the decision to mark my return to wellness after cancer with my traditional tavluġun (chin tattoo),
I decided I would do it myself. With the support of my children and sisters, I tattoed my markings through a
beautiful women’s ceremony that reminds me of the beauty of our people and traditions. I draw strength from
my tavluġun, and all it represents, every single day.
What drew you to the Caleb Scholars Program? Do you have a personal story about meeting Caleb, connection to his story, or family connection?
I believe that advocacy for and on behalf of our people and communities is our birthright – we have always
been fighters for our rights to perpetuate who we are as Alaska Native peoples. I am inspired by not only
the vision that Caleb set for his own advocacy, but the ways his vision has compelled others – including myself –
to strengthen our skills, knowledge and resolve to put them to work for our people.
What does marine conservation mean to you? How do you engage with marine conservation at school and/or at home?
“When outsiders first came to Alaska, they found the lands and waters teaming with fish and wildlife, and the lands
pristinely clean and undisturbed…an undeniable testament to the wisdom of our people as stewards.” – Ilarion Merculieff
There is no one with more depth, length, expertise or investment in ensuring that the land, water and animals within Alaska
are cared for in perpetuity than Alaska Native people. Our very health and well being depends on their thrival, and our efforts
to protect and conserve our precious ocean resources are paramount.
What are your future educational and career goals? What are the top three things that are moving you toward those goals?
My goals through work and school are to become the strongest, most effective advocate I can be for our people the rest of my
short time here on earth. I seek knowledge and wisdom from many sources; the most important being from our own knowledge
systems as indigenous peoples. The primary goals of my Western education are to expand my own thinking with perspectives
and worldviews from other communities that can help me to be more effective, and to think critically about the ways the system
can be used to repatriate our knowledge back to our communities.
Can you share a memorable story from your past when you felt a relationship to the ocean or waterways?
A two hour boatride up the Unalakleet River, nestled into the Whalebacks, is my grandparent’s camp… the place I grew up, where
I feel whole and at peace. The water tastes better than anywhere else, and our fish are healthy and strong – they have fed my family
for countless generations. Some of my favorite memories are from our river and all it provides.