Congratulations to the last oil symposium artists and speakers Allison Akootchook Warden and Brian Adams on being named 2018 Native Artist Fellows by the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation! [Read Online].
Brian Adams is an Iñupiaq editorial and commercial photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska, specializing in environmental portraiture and medium-format photography. His work has been featured in both national and international publications, and his work documenting Native Alaskan villages has been showcased in galleries across the United States. His first book of photography, I AM ALASKAN, was published in October 2013 by University of Alaska Press. His most recent book, I AM INUIT, was published in December 2017 by Benteli. For more information, visit his website and the IAMINUIT project.
Rosemary Ahtuangaruak is an Iñupiaq elder and environmental justice activist. She works as environmental manager for the Alaska Native Village of Nuiqsut. She has been a community health aide/physician assistant, tribal and city council member, a founding board member of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands), and has served on the board of the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope. In May 2017, Rosemary received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the Oberlin College.
Allison Akootchook Warden
Allison Akootchook Warden is an Iñupiaq interdisciplinary artist and a tribal member of the Native Village of Kaktovik, Alaska. What would a polar bear say if he could rap? Or a caribou, or a whale? What about if an Ancestor came back so far from the past that it actually circles around and becomes the future? Allison explores these themes and more in her music, bringing her training in theatre to the stage. Her one-woman show, “Calling All Polar Bears” focused on the push to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The show debuted at Pangea Theatre with Intermedia Arts in 2011, and subsequently performed in Anchorage and Homer in Alaska, and in Berlin and London in Europe. Her most recent work, “Unipkaaġusiksuġuvik (the place of the future/ancient)” debuted at the Anchorage Museum in October 2016. Allison has received several awards and fellowships, including an Alaska Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities for her work with youth across the state of Alaska. For more information, visit her website.
Cheyenne Antonio is Diné from Torreon/Pueblo Pintado, New Mexico. She received her BA in Native American Studies focusing in Native Nation Building. Her strength is focused around community outreach to address issues on violence against women and fracking happening in Eastern Navajo also known as the Greater Chaco Region.
Stephen Brown is Vice President of Shorebird conservation at Manomet. He received a Ph.D. from Cornell University, where he studied restoration of wetland bird habitats. Working with colleagues from federal and academic institutions, he founded and leads the Arctic Shorebird Demographics Network. Stephen’s Arctic research has also helped to determine potential impacts of oil development on nesting shorebirds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. He was the lead author of the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan, which brought together wildlife managers and policy makers from all 50 states to develop a coordinated strategy for restoring the declining populations of shorebirds. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan Council. Stephen has published dozens of peer-reviewed articles and edited Arctic Wings: Birds of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Victoria (Vicki) Clark
Vicki Clark practiced public interest environmental law for 22 years before stepping into her role as executive director of Trustees for Alaska in 2013. Trustees provides free legal services and support to protect and defend Alaska’s lands, waters, wildlife, and communities. From its beginning in 1974, Trustees has worked to defend and achieve wilderness protection for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Vicki has gained expertise on Arctic and other Alaska issues in over 14 years with Trustees, including as staff attorney and legal director. She graduated from Golden Gate University School of Law, and received certificates in Environmental Law and Public Interest Law. She leads a team of incredibly talented staff who represent clients on oil and gas issues in the Arctic.
Joel Clement is a scientist and policy expert with a background in resilience and climate adaptation, landscape-scale conservation and management, and Arctic social-ecological systems. As Director of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Policy Office he led a talented team of policy analysts and economists, provided advice and analysis for White House leadership and two Interior Secretaries, developed innovative policies to address landscape conservation needs, and was appointed as the Department of the Interior’s principal to the US Global Change Research Program. On behalf of the US Government he co-chaired the Arctic Council’s groundbreaking Arctic Resilience Report. Joel was awarded The Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage in September 2017, for blowing the whistle on the Trump Administration, and resigned from public service on October 6 of that year. Throughout his career, Joel has remained focused on bridging the critical gaps between science and policy.
Julie Decker, PhD, is the Director/CEO of the Anchorage Museum in Alaska, which is a leading center for scholarship, engagement, and investigation of Alaska and the North. Decker’s career has been focused on the people and environment of Northern places and building projects and initiatives that are in service to local and global communities. Before becoming Director/CEO, Decker served as the Museum’s Chief Curator. She has a doctorate in art history, a master’s degree in arts administration, and bachelor degrees in fine arts and journalism. She has curated and designed numerous exhibitions, taught classes, and authored and edited numerous publications on subjects ranging from contemporary art and architecture of the North, to many aspects of the Arctic environment and histories.
Bernadette Demientieff is First Nations Gwich’in from Fort Yukon Alaska. She is Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee and serves on the Advisory Board of the Native Movement Alaska. Bernadette stands firm on her commitment to protecting Mother Earth and ‘The Sacred Place Where Life Begins’ in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Her grandmother Marcis Moses is from Old Crow, Yukon Territory, Canada, and her grandfather Daniel Horace is from Fort Yukon, Alaska. “I am committed to bringing unity back to our people, to stand with honor and integrity in being proud of who we are,” Bernadette says.
Finis Dunaway is a professor of history at Trent University in Canada. He is the author of Natural Visions: The Power of Images in American Environmental Reform and of Seeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images, which received the John G. Cawelti Award from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, the History Division Book Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and the Robert K. Martin Book Prize from the Canadian Association for American Studies. Finis is currently researching the history of environmental and Indigenous campaigns to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He recently co-authored and co-organized with Subhankar Banerjee an open letter to the US Congress ‘Scholars for the Arctic Refuge’.
Nicholas (Nick) Estes
Nick Estes is Kul Wicasa from the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and holds a doctorate in American studies from the University of New Mexico. He is currently the American Democracy Fellow at Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center. He has two forthcoming books: #NoDAPL and Mni Wiconi: Reflections on Standing Rock (University of Minnesota Press 2019), co-edited with Jaskiran Dhillon, and Our History is the Future: Mni Wiconi and the Struggle for Native Liberation (Verso 2019). In 2014, Nick co-founded The Red Nation in Albuquerque, NM, an activist organization dedicated to Native liberation.
Nicole Whittington-Evans is the Alaska Regional Director of The Wilderness Society. In this capacity, she leads a team of six staff working to advance conservation measures in the Arctic, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the western Arctic’s National Petroleum Reserve, and the Arctic Ocean. Nicole partners with tribes, members of the public, conservation organizations and land managing agencies to achieve conservation outcomes. She has an MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana in Missoula, a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and has worked in environmental policy and advocacy in Alaska for over two decades. She is the 2017 recipient of the Alaska Conservation Foundation Olaus Murie Award for outstanding professional contributions.
Writer and field biologist Jeff Fair has spent many weeks in the Arctic through 24 years living in Alaska. He has visited most of the villages, the Arctic Refuge, and much of the National Petroleum Reserve-A, as a writer and field biologist, and as a writer/biologist in the schools. He has studied the Yellow-billed Loon, TUULIK, in the Western Arctic and Canada, and spent time in the 1002 Area of the Arctic Refuge and in Kaktovik observing a variety of species. His popular Arctic writings include chapters in Arctic Wings: Birds of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Arctic Voices; Resistance at the Tipping Point, and On Arctic Ground: Tracking Time Through Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, and articles in the Audubon magazine.
Petuuche Gilbert is from an indigenous community called Acoma (Haakuu) in New Mexico. He retired from the Acoma tribal government and where he served for ten years as a tribal councilman. He has participated in indigenous events, including the UNDRIP at the United Nations since 1986 and, also, he attended meetings with the Organization of American States work on the Inter-American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He is currently president of Indigenous World Association, an UNESCO NGO, and Vice President for the Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment. He is a member of the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment in the Grants Mining (Uranium) District. He remains engaged with the Acoma on community and environmental concerns. He is also on the Advisory Council for Native Organizers Alliance.
David Gutzler is Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of New Mexico. He and his students use observations and models to study the causes and impacts of climate variability and change, to advance the skill and application of climatic and hydrologic forecasts on seasonal and longer time scales. He earned degrees from the Uni
Sarah Agnes James
Sarah Agnes James is an Elder of the Gwich’in Nation. She lives in Arctic Village, Alaska. Sarah was raised in the Gwich’in way of life on the land—hunting, fishing and gathering, with traditional knowledge of air, water, land, life and fire. Gwich’in is her first language. Sarah has traveled widely from Arctic Village to Washington, D.C. and many countries, speaking out for the rights of indigenous peoples and about the importance of protecting Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit, the Sacred Place Where Life Begins—the caribou calving and nursery grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas development. She has received many awards in recognition of her decades of grassroots activism, including the Goldman Environmental Prize and was inducted in the inaugural Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
Jennifer Marley is from the San Ildefonso Pueblo and is a student at the University of New Mexico pursuing her bachelor’s degree In Native American Studies. She is the Vice President of University of New Mexico’s Kiva Club and a lead organizer with The Red Nation.
Debbie S. Miller
Alaska author Debbie S. Miller has explored the Arctic and its great wilderness over the past 40 years. Her rich experiences, wildlife studies, discoveries and adventures are the foundation for many books including, On Arctic Ground: Tracking Time Through Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve and Midnight Wilderness: Journeys in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Braided River). A former Arctic Village teacher, and one of the founders of the Alaska Wilderness League, Debbie is a passionate advocate for protecting the Arctic Refuge from oil development and other special areas in the Arctic.
Pamela (Pam) A. Miller
Pamela A. Miller runs Arctic Connections in Fairbanks, Alaska, a small business focused on Arctic oil impact research and policy analysis, wilderness guiding and logistics. She has been a passionate advocate for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge protection ever since studying tundra birds in summer field camps and monitoring winter seismic exploration on the Coastal Plain for “1002” studies in the 1980’s as a Fish & Wildlife Service biologist in a political era much like today. Over the past 30 years she evaluated development proposals and cumulative infrastructure and debunked myths of of oil and gas development (see Broken Promises: The Reality of Big Oil in America’s Arctic published by The Wilderness Society and updated in Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point). Pam chaired the nationwide Alaska Coalition and served in various capacities at The Wilderness Society and the National Wildlife Federation, and most recently at the Northern Alaska Environmental Center in Fairbanks focusing on tribal and grassroots outreach. Pam has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from The Evergreen State College and M.S. in Journalism from the University of Oregon where she studied press coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. She was honored with the Wilburforce Conservation Leadership Award.
Marek Ranis (PL/USA) is an Associate Professor of Art at the College of Art and Architecture, UNC Charlotte, and a multi-media environmental artist. Through film, installation, sculpture, photography, paintings and social practice projects Ranis has been exploring a dramatically changing polar environment, climate migration and the experiences of Arctic Indigenous communities, as well as growing cultural diversity in the Northern regions. He is a recipient of numerous grants, fellowships and residencies, including UNESCO Aschberg Fellowship, American-Scandinavian Foundation Grant and NC Artist Fellowship Award. Ranis presented his work in more than hundred individual and group shows nationally and internationally. His work was recently recognized by United States State Department: his essay about his Arctic experience was included in the book Our Arctic Nation as a voice representing North Carolina. Marek is continuing his work in Alaska and Arctic Norway as an artist and a researcher, and was recently named a Curator-at-Large at the Anchorage Museum, Alaska.
As Director of Outreach at the Alaska Wilderness League, Monica develops and manages volunteer efforts for all the various campaigns across the lower 48 states and coordinates efforts among partner organizations. Monica joined Alaska Wilderness League in January of 2007 as a field organizer and later started the Alaska Wild Educator Network, growing it to over 1000 educators across the country. Prior to working at the League, she worked at the League of Conservation Voters and for Representative Dingell. She has a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Behavior from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Widener University.
Melanie A. Smith
Melanie Smith is an Arctic spatial ecologist. As the Director of Conservation Science for Audubon Alaska, she leads geospatial analysis and mapping to identify and protect key conservation areas for Alaska’s wildlife. She has 15+ years of professional experience in large-landscape conservation science, planning, and policy. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Prescott College, and a Master’s Degree in Geography from the University of Montana. She is also certified in Sustainable Energy and Permaculture Design through the University of Alaska Fairbanks. When not working she can be found birding, hiking, fishing, or skijoring around Alaska.
I am from Fort Yukon in Alaska and the son of the late Traditional Chief of Yukon Flats, Jonathan P. Solomon Sr. My mother is Hanna Jonathan Solomon. I grew up in Fort Yukon in the 1950’s and 60’s, learning a subsistence way of life. In 1975, I attended a meeting of the Alaska federation of natives in Anchorage and began to learn about native issues in Alaska. In 2004, I was elected to the Gwich’in Steering Committee and began traveling to Washington, DC. My dad and I joined other Gwich’in and the Alaska Wilderness League to lobby members of Congress to protect the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling. In 2006, after my father, Jonathan passed away, I continued to travel to DC with my Uncle Peter who had taken over the leadership of the Gwich’in steering committee. When Peter passed away in 2010 I stood up to fill the Solomon shoes. I remember when my dad told me they would never drill on Gwich’in land in his lifetime and, they didn’t. Uncle Peter made the same pledge. I have to make sure their vision to permanently protect the sacred Porcupine caribou calving grounds and nesting grounds of millions of migratory birds in the Arctic Refuge.
Richard (Rick) Steiner
From 1980 – 2010, Rick Steiner was as a marine conservation professor with the University of Alaska, stationed in the Arctic (Kotzebue 1980-1982), Prince William Sound (Cordova 1983-1997), and Anchorage (1997-2010). Today, through his independent “Oasis Earth” project, he provides scientific advice to NGOs, governments, and civil society globally on environmental aspects of extractive industries and conservation; consults on oil spill prevention, response, damage assessment, and restoration; works to establish local Citizens Advisory Councils; advises on energy policy, climate change, and Arctic conservation issues. He has commercial fished in Alaska, and floated and hiked thousands of miles across Arctic wilderness.
Ken is an ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks with broad interest in Arctic natural sciences. His research describes the impacts of climate warming during the last century on various components of the Arctic ecosystem, including the vegetation, permafrost, hydrology, wildlife, and people. His nature photography offers unique perspectives of Arctic landscapes and wildlife. For more information, visit his science page, list of publications, and photography page.
Robert Thompson is an Iñupiaq Elder, US army veteran, and environmental justice activist. Robert and his wife Jane live in Kaktovik, at Inupiat community situated along the Beaufort Sea coast on the northern edge of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He is founding member and board chair of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands). Robert has traveled to Washington, DC and around the world to educate government officials and the public about climate change and the threat of oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Arctic Ocean. He owns a small business Kaktovik Arctic Adventures and runs adventure trips in the Arctic Refuge and along the Arctic coast. Robert’s op-eds appear in Anchorage Daily News and the Arctic Sounder.
Kenneth (Ken) Whitten
Ken Whitten graduated from Stanford University in 1970. He received a Master’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1975. After a summer working for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the Aleutian Islands, he began a 24-year career with the Alaska Department of fish and Game, first researching effects of North Slope oil development on caribou and then becoming the State of Alaska’s chief researcher on the Porcupine Caribou Herd. Ken also did Dall sheep research for the Department of Fish and Game and served as Research Coordinator for Interior Alaska before retiring in 2000.
Maria Shaa Tláa Williams is an Associate Professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is an enrolled member of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indians, an original enrollee of Cook Inlet Region, Incorporated (one of the twelve Alaska Native Regional corporations created after the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act). She received her M.A. and PhD in Music, specializing in Ethnomusicology from UCLA in 1996 and was a Ford Foundation postdoctoral fellow in 1998-99. Her research focuses on Alaska Native and Indigenous cultural expressions, history, politics and activism. She was the editor for the Alaska Native Reader (2009, Duke University Press) and helped found the Alaska Native Studies Council. She taught at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1993-1995, and at the University of New Mexico from 1999-2011. She has been teaching at the University of Alaska Anchorage in the departments of Alaska Native Studies and Music since 2011.
Melanie K. Yazzie
Melanie K. Yazzie (Bilagáana/Diné) holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her first book, Life in The Age of Extraction: Diné History in A Biopolitical Register, shows how biopolitical calculations of Navajo life that accompanied the introduction of extractive economies in the 1930s have become a full-scale biopolitical epoch defined by violent relations of extraction. However, this biopolitical order has not gone without challenge. Life in The Age of Extraction also shows how Navajo social movements have made history and generated different political and ontological possibilities of life through contesting extractive biopolitics. Dr. Yazzie is co-editing a special issue of Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society with Cutcha Risling-Baldy on Indigenous water politics and is co-authoring a forthcoming book from PM Press on bordertown violence with Nick Estes, David Correia, and Jennifer Nez Denetdale. She is a lead organizer with The Red Nation, an Indigenous-led liberation organization.