“…Another Caleb Scholar had told me how much he stressed the idea of unity. This really resonated with me because successful movements and communities need a strong, unified core.”
Inupiaq, Nome Eskimo Community
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Bachelors in Political Science & Ethnic Studies
Class of May 2017
What drew you to the Caleb Scholars Program?
I admired Caleb’s dedication to marine conservation and his work for wider issues concerning Arctic communities. I was especially drawn to the program as his love for his culture and protection of our Native ways of life was a major driving force in his work. As I share this quality, and many from our communities do as well, I was determined to apply for the Caleb Scholars Program. I believe the program offers an amazing opportunity to facilitate our passion into action to preserve Caleb’s legacy.
What does marine conservation mean to you? How do you engage with marine conservation at school and/or at home?
From my understanding of traditional Iñupiaq knowledge, marine conservation is apart of our holistic lifestyle. Meaning, marine conservation is a part of every aspect of our way of life that it is integral to our being. It is our traditional values, subsistence hunting and gathering, nature-based spirituality, and knowledge of our environment we are so closely apart of. I engage with marine conservation at home by fishing and gathering sustainably, taking only what’s needed for myself and my family, appreciating the land and waters, and learning all I can from elders about our culture then passing it down to children. Away from home, I have had the opportunity to advocate for the protections of our land and marine waters from further Arctic drilling.
What are your future educational and career goals? What are the top three things that are moving you toward those goals?
I will be applying for a Masters Degree in Indigenous Politics with a Decolonial Futures focus. Within my career, I strive to restore authority to Native Alaskans to decide how to teach our children and care for our people, land, water and resources. A major goal within that is to establish an immersion school in Nome, as a way to inspire future generations to care for our rich culture, language, and environment. The top three motivators for achieving these goals are my responsibility to tribe (nation), my family, and passion for cultural perpetuation.
Do you have a story about a personal connection to Caleb or his legacy?
I am deeply inspired by his life-long dedication to preserving our subsistence way of life by utilizing traditional knowledge, and how far his passion extended into different facets of cultural perpetuation. Another Caleb Scholar had told me how much he stressed the idea of unity. This really resonated with me because successful movements and communities need a strong, unified core. In order to achieve that, people with different backgrounds, experiences, and education all are valued and cooperatively utilize their strengths to move towards a similar goal. It is a great honor to be selected as a Scholar to work together with others to carry out Caleb’s legacy of marine conservation.
Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
I have traveled to 11 countries by studying abroad!
Thank you for your commitment to marine conservation and continuing the legacy of Caleb Lumen Pungowiyi!