Scientific studies, reports, and media coverage continue to document the dramatic changes in the Arctic. Indigenous Arctic communities are standing on the front lines of change. Their culture, traditions, and way of life are inherently tied to the health of the marine ecosystem. With this connection to the environment, Native Alaskans have valuable traditional knowledge and insights to offer in understanding changes in vegetation, wildlife, and larger ecosystem shifts that affect their subsistence hunting and fishing practices; the health of their food supply that affects their human health and nutrition; sea ice conditions, melting permafrost, and coastal erosion that affect their homes and businesses. But, as the marine environment opens to economic and security opportunities, more changes are on the horizon with expected increases in international maritime commerce and trade, energy development, and mining and mineral extraction. Arctic residents must live with the consequences of policy and management decisions and balance environmental protections and sustainable economic development. CHOW 2016 brings forward indigenous leaders to discuss how local voices and traditional knowledge can contribute to planning for a sustainable Arctic economy and a better future for Alaskan communities.
Ted Lillestolen | Interim President and CEO, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
Raina Thiele | Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, The White House
Harry Brower, Jr. | Chairman, Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission
Raychelle Aluaq Daniel | Senior Associate, The Pew Charitable Trusts
Vera Metcalf | Director, Eskimo Walrus Commission, Kawerak, Inc.
Austin Ahmasuk | Marine Advocate, Kawerak, Inc.