Indigenous Advisors Join ELOKA


The Exchange for Local Knowledge and Observations in the Arctic (ELOKA) has formed an Advisory Committee, consisting of four members who will advise ELOKA during its five-year grant period that began in 2021. Members will meet at least four times a year to provide input into ELOKA’s activities that support Arctic communities in data management and enhance community data use and data sharing tools. 


The four members include:

  • Clint Carrol is an Associate Professor of Ethnic studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and works closely with Cherokee people in Oklahoma on issues of land conservation.
  • Tatiana Degai is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of Victoria, British Columbia and an Affiliate Assistant Professor of the Arctic Indigenous Studies at the University of Northern Iowa. With roots on traditional Itelmen grounds in Russia, her Indigenous perspective informs her teaching and service.
  • Kaare Sikuaq Erickson leads Ikaaġun Engagement, which provides education and orientation services to Arctic scientists and rural educators. Raised on the Bering Sea coast of Alaska, Erickson is aware of the problems facing Arctic communities and seeks creative, realistic, and effective ways to alleviate or solve these issues.
  • Mellisa “Maktuayaq” Johnsonis Iñupiaq is from Nome, Alaska. She has a strong passion for protecting, respecting, and maintaining traditional Indigenous ways of life. She is the Indigenous Communication and Engagement Specialist for the US Inter-Agency Research and Policy Committee (IARPC). From 2018 to 2022, she was the Executive Director of the Bering Sea Elders Group.


A key challenge of Indigenous and community-driven research and observing is effectively preserving data and information while making it available in an ethical manner to community members and other interested users. Since all four committee members have close ties to Indigenous communities, their perspectives will help ELOKA maintain a focus on equity. The committee will also advice on ways to deepen collaborative approaches to data management that meet the needs of Arctic communities. ELOKA looks forward to insights gained through collaboration with the committee.