What does Inuit-led environmental conservation mean to you?
To me, Inuit-led conservation advocacy represents a profound commitment to preserving and protecting the environment and cultural heritage of the Inuit people. It embodies a holistic approach that respects the delicate balance between humans and nature, recognizing the interconnectedness of all living beings. As an Inupiaq individual with roots in Barrow, Alaska, this cause is deeply personal to me, as I’ve witnessed firsthand the profound impact of climate change and industrialization on our ancestral lands and traditional way of life.
How do you engage with environmental conservation in school and/ or at home?
My education enables me to build connections and collaborate with like-minded individuals, organizations, and policymakers dedicated to environmental preservation. Through community engagement, and activism, I aim to bridge the gap between indigenous and contemporary conservation efforts. I aspire to become a motivation for change, leveraging my academic background to advocate for sustainable practices, policy reform, and recognition of indigenous rights in environmental decision-making.
What are your educational and career goals? How do your goals relate to environmental conservation?
I aspire to be an advocate for my community, serving as a role model and encouraging students and younger generations to embrace a lifelong commitment to learning. It is my firm belief that education is a transformative tool that can empower individuals and communities, enabling them to thrive in a rapidly evolving world. Ultimately, my goal is to work for one of my village corporations, specifically in the field of shareholder relations. I find immense inspiration and fulfillment in assisting students on their educational journeys and helping them access the training and resources they need to succeed.
Please share a reflection of when you have felt a connection to the ocean or the land.
During the invocation before the start of our Nalukataq feast, as we gather in circle alongside the whaling crews, I’ve always felt a presence of our family generations before us. Standing proudly beside us, content that we are still standing here today upholding our ancestral way of life. Passing down our traditions to our younger community, and instilling our Inupiaq values. Sharing our history, niqipiaq, and way of life brings countless levels of emotions to me. Being able to take part in preparing and serving our community is something that has always kept me connected with our people and the land. Whaling is a part of our life and who we are in my community, and I hope with our future generations there will continue to be efforts to carry on this tradition.