Issue 6 | September 2018

The Inuit Circumpolar Council’s 13th General Assembly adopts the 2018 Utqiaġvik Declaration

Whale bones in Alaska
A whalebone arch overlooks the Arctic Ocean in Utqiaġvik, AK. Photo credit: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Utqiaġvik, AK—ELOKA endeavors to remain informed by and responsive to the priorities of partner communities and organizations across the Arctic, especially Indigenous Peoples organizations. Accordingly, we wish to share an update regarding the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC)’s recent steps to chart their priorities for the coming years. In July, ICC, which advocates on behalf of the Arctic’s roughly 165,000 Inuit, held their quadrennial General Assembly in Utqiaġvik, Alaska. Sixty-four delegates from Chukotka, Alaska; Canada; and Greenland adopted the Utqiaġvik Declaration. This declaration, which will guide ICC activities for the next four years, includes ten over-arching sections, including for example: Indigenous human rights, food security, education and language, sustainable development, and communication and capacity building. Within these sections, the declaration’s clauses focus on critical topics ranging from advocating for the ethical and meaningful engagement of Indigenous Knowledge to advancing community-driven research and addressing climate change. Of particular interest to ELOKA and its partners may be the declaration’s attention to enhancing networking capabilities and practices across Inuit organizations and their partners to exchange information, Indigenous Knowledge, and science, while promoting information sovereignty and equitable partnerships. There is also an emphasis on international engagement with organizations such as the Arctic Council, Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON), the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), and many others, especially bodies of the United Nations (UN). Central to this engagement are priorities to participate in Arctic research and to ensure implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The full declaration can be found here: Utqiaġvik Declaration.

ELOKA supports documenting Deg Hi’tan place names and environmental knowledge

Members of the Anvik community worked together to further document place names knowledge for the region. Photo credit: Peter Pulsifer

Anvik, AK—ELOKA is supporting the development of a place names atlas for members of the Anvik community and surrounding areas. The atlas documents traditional territory place names. ELOKA is working under the leadership of the Anvik Tribal Council, Deloy Ges, Inc., Alaska Native Place-Name Project, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Community Partnerships for Self-Reliance. The project aims to reconstruct Deg Xinag place names using online mapping and media tools that combine maps, audio recordings, video, photos, and stories. In February of 2018, Peter Pulsifer of the ELOKA team traveled to Anvik to work with community members on the project. Work has continued over the course of the summer and we are looking forward to launching the atlas in the future.

Gwich'in Place Names and Traditional Knowledge Workshop

A spring sunset settles on the Yukon River near Fort Yukon, Alaska. Photo Credit: Jordan in Alaska/flickr

Fort Yukon, AK—In April 2018, ELOKA data coordinator Chris McNeave traveled to Fort Yukon, Alaska, to participate in the Gwich'in Place Names and Traditional Knowledge Workshop in partnership with the Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Council of Athabaskan Tribal Governments. Participants at the two-day workshop reviewed the online Gwich'in Atlas, which is currently under development. An introductory level instruction was offered on adding geographic features, collection management, display, and simple data analysis about the land and culture. Participants used a variety of desktop and web-based tools to create interactive stories that focused on the land and culture. Some topics of discussion included: sharing and protecting data; documenting data for better search results; the ethics of creating, using, and sharing data; and the connection between culture and new technology. Development of the atlas has continued over the course of the summer with additional names to be added in the months to come.

ELOKA at the University of Colorado Boulder

The sun rises over the University of Colorado Boulder campus. Photo credit: Stew Warren/flickr

Boulder, CO—The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) offers diverse ways of sharing research among faculty to foster connections across disciplines that intersect with sustainability and help the campus community identify opportunities for collaboration. Here are two events that ELOKA Knowledge Exchange Coordinator Heidi McCann participated in order to bring further awareness of ELOKA on the CU Boulder campus.

The 25th Annual Campus Sustainability Summit was held on the CU Boulder campus in the University Memorial Center on April 25, 2018. McCann presented an ELOKA/dataARC poster which summarized the importance of various data sustainability significant to these projects, including Indigenous Knowledge and social science data.

After a successful appearance at CU's University of the Arctic (UArctic) Icebreaker in February, McCann accepted an invitation to a volunteer position on the University of Colorado’s UArctic Steering Team where she plans to bring Arctic Indigenous Knowledge research awareness not only to CU, but to other members of the UArctic Network. See Issue 5 of the ELOKA newsletter to find out more on the University of the Arctic.

ELOKA staff updates

Boulder, CO — With the changing seasons, some changes come to the ELOKA staff.

Colleen Strawhacker, ELOKA Co-Lead, has accepted a two-year rotating position as a program officer in the Arctic System Science program at the National Science Foundation. This is an opportunity she couldn't pass up and we wish her well in her endeavors.

Noor Johnson has been an ELOKA research scientist for the past two years and has recently increased her time with ELOKA. Noor's research has focused on understanding environmental knowledge production and use in decision-making, and building community-based monitoring networks. She has taken on the role of Principal Investigator of the Indigenous Foods Knowledges Network in Colleen's absence. Read more.

Matt Druckenmiller joins the ELOKA staff and will be working on projects in partnership with communities and local observer networks across coastal Alaska, as well as exploring approaches for how ELOKA may begin to co-evaluate community-based projects and consider how data managed through ELOKA collaborations can be made more accessible and readily usable by communities. Read more.

After a number of years working full time for Piqqusilirivvik, the Inuit Cultural Learning Facility in Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River), Nunavut, ELOKA co-principal investigator Shari Fox will assist ELOKA on publications and projects related to education.


A sprial of ice tops the inside of an igloo. Photo credit: Shari Fox

ELOKA fosters collaboration between resident Arctic experts and visiting researchers to facilitate the collection, preservation, exchange, and use of local observations and Indigenous knowledge of the Arctic. ELOKA provides data management and user support to Indigenous communities to ensure their data and knowledge are managed, visualized, and shared in an ethical manner in order to work toward information and data sovereignty for Arctic residents.

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Last Updated: 
Fri, 09/21/2018