Issue 3 | October 2017

Keynote speaker Peter Pulsifer addresses
the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s Arctic Science Networking Workshop

In Wales, Alaska, a sculpture hands and a dove expresses friendship and peace with the Russian side of the Bering Strait. Photo credit: Matt Druckenmiller

Peter Pulsifer traveled to the headquarters of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) in Helsinki to provide a keynote address on one of five themes at the Arctic Science Networking Workshop held from August 30 to September 1, 2017. His address “The Arctic Data E-CoSystem: Community Based Monitoring and Indigenous Knowledge” discussed the ongoing development of broader Arctic data and the role of Indigenous knowledge and observations in this system. The talk included ideas around observations becoming data, which then become part of a larger Arctic data E-CoSystem. Many global and polar cyber-infrastructure organizations connect to form “cosystems." Community-based monitoring and Indigenous Knowledge have their own emerging data system where projects are increasingly driven by communities and knowledge holders. With emerging "cosystems" developing there is a need for an integrated, robust, and sustainable system based on interoperability, which is fully inclusive of Indigenous and local perspectives and information. This requires that we consider both the human and technological aspects of the system. For more information on the FMI, click here.

Hard work and collaboration prove rewarding
for ELOKA's Peter Pulsifer and Colleen Strawhacker

ELOKA PI, Peter Pulsifer, and Co-PI, Colleen Strawhacker have each received an award from the National Science Foundation to engage in Polar data planning, searching unique social science data collections, and addressing food security in the Arctic and US Southwest.

Polar Data Planning Summit

Peter Pulsifer along with Colleen Strawhacker and Maribeth Murray have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for a Polar Data Planning Summit workshop. The summit will bring together more than twenty representatives of key polar data programs and projects from around the world to contribute to the design and implementation of an integrated and well-defined polar network, which will enable access to high-quality data, expertise, and information. This will result in a collectively developed road map outlining a world-wide system to provide researchers, Arctic residents, decision makers, and others with access to the majority of polar data. Summit outcomes will be disseminated at major meetings such as POLAR 2018/Arctic Observing Summit 2018 and the next Arctic Science Ministerial.

Searching unique social science data without metadata

Peter Pulsifer also received an Early Concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) from NSF, with co-PIs Colleen Strawhacker and Paul Berkman. The project, Automated Discovery of Content-in-Context Relationships from a Large Corpus of Arctic Social Science Data, aims to develop an approach to searching social science data such as handwritten notes, photos, maps, and illustrations without associated metadata. ELOKA data sets will act as pilot information for the transformative approach due to its unique document collection. The three objectives of the project are: (1) manage a document collection without metadata or databases; (2) generate relational schema without metadata or databases; and (3) analyze efficiencies and functionalities of automated granularity relative to metadata and database solutions.

Addressing Indigenous food and data sovereignty in the Arctic and the US Southwest

ELOKA Co-PI Colleen Strawhacker is one of the first recipients of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) newest program called Convergence Research. The purpose of these awards is to address societal challenges through scientific collaboration that converges interdisciplinary fields to benefit all parties involved. Strawhacker's project, Indigenous Food and Data Sovereignty Network, is inclusive of Indigenous peoples in Arizona, New Mexico, and the Arctic. Indigenous People together with researchers will address food security in their respective regions. Indigenous Peoples are generally underrepresented in scientific research. Colleen and her academic colleagues aim to reverse this course. Indigenous groups don’t always have the opportunity to connect; so to begin, Indigenous partners will lead the formation of a research collaboration network by organizing and hosting meetings between Indigenous groups across the world. The meetings will provide a platform for communities to share specific challenges and successes related to food security in their regions. For more on this story, please visit the CIRES (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences), NSF, our this National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) highlight.

In development:
Sharing Yup’ik culture and experiences using interactive online mapping tools

Chris McNeave, data coordinator for ELOKA, is working with teachers and students from the Lower Kuskokwim School District in Alaska in support of the Yuuyaraq/Our Yup’ik Way of Life project. This project is part of the Yup’ik Environmental Knowledge Project and Atlas located at the ELOKA website. At the core of Yup’ik lifeways is sharing. Students in the Lower Kuskokwim School District have a dedicated space within the atlas where they will be able to share what they have learned about their world from Elders, parents, teachers, other community members, and their own experiences in order to better understand their lives in the Arctic. Teachers will work with students who will learn how to populate the atlas with photos, video, audio, and text. They will be adding content to three themes: (1) Families and Communities will focus on family and community history; (2) Animals and Plants will focus on seasonal harvesting and the animals that thrive in Southwest Alaska; and (3) Our Yup’ik World and Weather will focus on traveling the land, rivers, and sea and all that people encounter.

New updates to the ELOKA website

This image shows the homepage of the ELOKA website.

ELOKA has made a few updates to their website, including eliminating the Projects tab, and replacing it with a drop-down menu on the Products tab that features ELOKA websites, publications, and presentations. Other updates and additions have been made to the About ELOKA tab, where the faces of the ELOKA team members and their biographies are now on display. The home page has some minor adjustments with an updated mission statement, and a spot for our newsletter. Featured data was changed to featured products. As you will see, the updated ELOKA mission statement rejects the changing role of ELOKA over the past few years. Click on the image to go directly to our website.


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: 
Tue, 02/27/2018