Bering Sea Voices


An Indigenous Perspective for the 2019 Arctic Report Card

In September 2019, ten elders from eight communities came together for a two-day, round-table gathering in Nome, Alaska, to share their perspectives, observations, and stories about what sea ice loss means to their villages, the resources they depend on, and their collective future as Arctic Indigenous Peoples. The first ever Indigenous contribution to the Arctic Report Card resulted. 

Since 2006, the Arctic Report Card, which is a report led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Arctic Program, has provided a comprehensive annual summary on the state of the Arctic climate and environment, authored by a international team of experts. The Arctic Report Card is written for a non-technical audience, aiming to reach the broader public, the media, and policymakers alike. The elders' contribution was a highlight within the 2019 report, providing firsthand accounts of what communities across the Bering Sea region are facing as sea ice loss and warming temperatures drive a host of changes relating to food security, community infrastructure, travel, animal health, and overall community well-being.

This contribution was made possible through collaboration with the Bering Sea Elders Group (BSEG), which is an association of elders appointed by 39 Tribes in the Yukon-Kuskokwim and Bering Strait region. The BSEG, in consultation with its tribal members, identified eight communities to participate in this project. 

The elders' essay contribution to the 2019 report is available on the Arctic Report Card web-portal. An expanded version of the elders' contribution is available below.

Voices from the Front Lines of a Changing Bering Sea

Participants of the Bering Sea Elders' Arctic Report Card Workshop
Participants of the Bering Sea Elders' Arctic Report Card Workshop in Nome, AK during 26-27 September 2019. Back (left to right): Richard Slats, Matthew Druckenmiller, Mellisa Johnson, Andrew Miller, Jacob Merculief, Robert (Bob) Bahnke, Clyde Oxereok, and Raychelle Daniel. Front (left to right): Mwita Chacha, Eli Kintisch, Delbert Pongowiyi, Jerry Ivanoff, Norman Menadelook Sr., and Carol Oliver. Absent: Helen Bell. (Photo by Mwita Chacha)

Additional Related Videos

Short video summarizing the Elder's contribution to the Arctic Report Card:

NOAA’s Arctic Report Card 2019 summary video, featuring Jerry Ivanoff (Unalakleet), Clyde Oxereok (Wales), and Carol Oliver (Golovin):

Bering Sea Elders Group Executive Director Mellisa Johnson presents at the ARC Press Release at the 2019 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU):