Empowering Arctic Indigenous Scholars and Making Connections

Rosemary, Lisa, TheresaArctic Indigenous scholars have historically and continue to advance a variety of issues, such as food security, hunting and fishing rights, community resilience, climate change, biodiversity, and a number of other topics and disciplines. The information and understanding put forward by such scholars is invaluable. It is increasingly clear that the study of the Arctic depends upon successfully empowering Arctic Indigenous scholars with the opportunity to provide insight and expertise to those scientists studying the Arctic within the realm of academic research, often from urban-based settings. The objective of this opportunity, led by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) and the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Alaska, and supported by the National Science Foundation's Division of Arctic Sciences, is to create a space for Indigenous scholars to educate and inform policy- and decision-makers engaged in Arctic Issues from the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

What is an Indigenous Scholar?

We define a scholar as an expert within their own knowledge system. This includes hunters, fishers, and gatherers; those that process and store food; health aides; and others. It includes youth, elders, and adults. Your education may have come from the land, the water, or a classroom.

The application period for the 2019 opportunity is now closed

Please check back in February to learn about our selected scholars for 2019!

For any questions regarding the project or application process, please contact Lisa Sheffield Guy at lisa [at] arcus.org or 907-474-1600.

2018 Indigenous Scholars - Rosemary Ahtuangaruak and Theresa Arevgaq John

Congratulations to the two Indigenous scholars for 2018 selected by our five-member volunteer selection committee, Rosemary Ahtuangaruak and Theresa Arevgaq John! We received many excellent applications for this opportunity and hope to continue it in the future. Theresa and Rosemary traveled to Washington D.C. in May 2018 where they met with leaders and policy-makers to discuss issues important to their communities. We are grateful to those who took time to meet with the scholars, including: The National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency - Office of International and Tribal Affairs, The Department of State offices of International Health & Biodefense and Environment & Global Change, The Smithsonian Institution's Arctic Studies Center, Senator Lisa Murkowski and staff, The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the Department of Interior for hosting a multi-agency meeting at their headquarters.

Rosemary Ahtuangaruak

Rosemary Ahtuangaruak is an Inupiaq activist. She is a graduate of the University of Washington Medex Northwest Physician Assistant Program. She has fought tirelessly for the health and protection of her people and of the Arctic’s unparalleled wilderness that has sustained her culture for thousands of years. Rosemary is a former mayor of Nuiqsut and currently serves on the board of the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, the regional tribal government for the North Slope, and is an executive council member of the Alaska Inter–Tribal Council. She received the 2009 Voice of the Wild Award from the Alaska Wilderness League. She is a founding board member of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands).


Theresa John

Theresa Arevgaq John is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cross-cultural Studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has authored numerous academic articles and a co-author of a book Yupiit Yuraryarait: Yup’ik Ways of Dancing and has presented her work at dozens of local, national, and international professional conferences. Dr. John currently serves on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education and the International Indigenous Women’s Forum. She is a former member of the Alaskan State Council Arts and the former Chair of the Traditional Native Arts Panel. She is also the recipient of the Governor's Distinguished Humanities Educator Award and Alaska State Library Award. Dr. John received her B.S., M.Ed., and Ph.D. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

As an advocate for Native education, she is highly involved in various organizations and projects that promote traditional Native culture, history, spirituality, language and education. Among John's many affiliations, she is involved in the University Alaska Native and Language Committee, Alaska Native Education and Computer Assisted Language Learning project. She is a member of the National Indian Education Association and a former member of the Statewide Bilingual Multicultural Education Council, Alaska Association for Bilingual Education, Alaska Native Heritage Center Project, Qayaqs and Canoes, Paddling into the Millennium Selection Committee, and Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative. John has extensive performing experience, including several Yup'ik Traditional Dance Groups and her one woman show Yup'ik Arnaq. She is the founder of the Nunarpak Dancers at Alaska Pacific University, the Annual Cama-i Dance Festival in Bethel, the Inu-Yupiaq student Dancer Group at University of Alaska, Fairbanks, co-founder of the Tuma Theatre, and participated in the development of the Festival of Native Arts. John has performed all over the world, in festivals in Greenland, Greece, France, Russia, the Far East and Peru

Cultural Adaptation and Resilience in Arctic Climate Change

Arctic Research Seminar by Dr. Theresa Arevgaq John

Rosemary will also provide a seminar as part of the ARCUS Arctic Research Seminar Series in the near future.

Project Personnel

Project Co-leads:
Carolina Behe, Indigenous Knowledge/Science Advisor, Inuit Circumpolar Council Alaska
Helen Wiggins, Director of Programs, Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.

Project Manager:
Lisa Sheffield Guy, Project Manager, Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.

2018 Volunteer Selection Committee

Percy Ballot, Maniilaq Association, Buckland, AK
Alicia Bell-Sheeter, USDA Forest Service Office of Tribal Relations, Washington D.C.
Raychelle Daniel, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington, D.C.
Dalee Sambo Dorough, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
Gay Sheffield, Alaska Sea Grant, Nome, AK