Indigenous knowledge is uplifted in recently published paper

Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 9:16 AM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Indigenous people in the state of Alaska not only have strong ties to their culture, but also to the land.

Most recently, a group of Inupiaq observers, also known as the Alaska Arctic Observatory and Knowledge Hub, have contributed their knowledge in the form of observation. These land based scholars are now published in the Journal Arctic Science.

At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the International Arctic Research Center has partnered with several coastal communities to uplift their indigenous knowledge in a recently published paper titled Nunaaqqit Savaqatigivlugich. The paper includes local observation and weather conditions to provide a broad-scale view of changing coastal conditions. Dr. Donna Hauser, a research assistant/professor at the International Arctic Research Center shares that this paper is much different than what you would usually see.

“There’s a lot of scientists and researchers who want to come and work in Alaska and at least being in a scholarly outlet like this. This is an example that other scientists can see and think about how are they doing their research and what are some other approaches that they want to take. As well as what are some opportunities of partnering with a program like aokh that has these long term perspectives and maybe we can sort of build on those and make connections that haven’t been made before,” said Dr. Hauser.

Dr. Hauser, lead author of Nunaaqqit Savaqatigivlugich, has guided Alaska Native students throughout the process as they became co-authors. Roberta Tuurraq Glenn, who was one of the co-authors is now the project coordinator/community liaison at the Alaska Arctic Observatory and Knowledge Hub.

As co-author of Nunaaqqit Savaqatigivlugich, Glenn explains the title of the paper means working together with communities. The literal translation is, to like villagers or people from rural communities. “That’s really the theme of our paper and the theme of our transition and our goals moving forward,” stated Glenn.

This paper shares the Inupiaq language and also serves to highlight the importance of community based solutions. Glenn shares, “If we want to think about how the Arctic environment is changing and think about solutions for the people who are living there. We should listen to the people who have been living in the Arctic for thousands of years and have a really deep understanding of what’s going on and what should be done about it.”

Glenn reflects on her experience as a co-author, community liaison and project coordinator at the Alaska Arctic Observatory and Knowledge Hub, “We really take our guidance, our research directions, we listen to the Indigenous observers who make up our network. As well as Indigenous people, our steering group, we’re really guided by our Indigenous leadership and knowledge and I think that’s really important and it sits right with me.”

More information about the Alaska Arctic Observatory and Knowledge Hub can be found on their website.