An Inupiaq from Unalakleet on Alaska’s west coast, Victoria Hykes Steere finds inspiration for her teaching in life lessons imparted by her family:
- Peter Nanouk, her grandfather, urged her to be alive in each moment.
- Martha, Hykes Steere’s grandmother, liked to say, “Everything you do must be to the best of your ability.”
An Assistant Professor of Alaska Native Studies, Hykes Steere said she’d like APU students to learn to treasure life as well. “My hope is they understand that challenges create opportunities, and this is an exciting time to be alive.”
After leaving home to earn a BA in economics from Colby College in Maine, Hykes Steere went on to complete a JD with a concentration in international and federal Indian law from the University of Iowa College of Law.
Her LLM, awarded in 1995 from the University of Washington School of Law, included a concentration in environmental, natural resources, human rights and public land law and policy.
Hykes Steere is a former University of Alaska assistant professor who joined APU’s Liberal Studies Department in 2011. Her courses include an exploration of social responsibility using biographies of Alaska Native leaders and a history of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, among others.
She provided text for the video project, “We Used to Sing: An Arctic Elegy,” a personal reflection on climate change in northwestern Alaska.
In 2001 Hykes Steere participated as an expert in a UN workshop focusing on resource development and its effects on Indigenous Peoples. The session convened in Geneva and was the first time Indigenous experts fully participated in a UN workshop.
Her recent writing includes an essay in “Climate Change: a Reader” and an in-press chapter in “Indigenous Pathways to Social Research.”
Hykes Steere’s career has focused on advancing Alaska Native Peoples, a path she traces to the day her grandmother said, “I was born free but am not going to die free. What happened to us?”
“When I told her to ask my cousins, who already were practicing law, she said I was to go to law school as well, so that I could explain to her how freedoms could be lost.”
LLM, University of Washington School of Law
JD, University of Iowa College of Law
BA, Colby College