- B.A. Rural Community Development with Concentration in Rural Community and Economic Development Planning – University of Alaska Fairbanks
Alaska Pacific University position – Community Engagement and Stewardship Coordinator
I am originally from Chevak, Alaska, located roughly 518 miles west of Anchorage. I grew up living a subsistence lifestyle, fishing in the summer and hunting for ducks, geese, moose and seals in the spring and fall. I was busy with sports in the winter season.
Living in Chevak, I was exposed to a cultural lifestyle, where Cup’ik (Choo-pick) was spoken often between elders and the adults and out history was taught during school hours. There were days when one of the community Elders would walk in to a class room of his choice and he began to talk to the students about culturally relevant topics. Sometimes this happened during a test, and the teachers, being respectful towards the Elder would tell the students to stop the test and focus the attention on the elder. Respect for our elders was a big priority because they had knowledge that was useful for our day to day life in Chevak.
I grew a passion for learning about the Alaska Native Cultures, hunting and boating while growing up and I was able to carry that passion over into my educational and professional career. During my time at UAF studying Rural Development, I was taught to approach economy while considering the land, waters and cultures of Alaska and the unique lifestyles ways. It opened up doors for me to work directly with the Indigenous community across the state, coaching and teaching the Native games to students K-college, developing a subsistence program that would benefit the local community, and eventually to a position with APU as the Community Engagement and Stewardship Coordinator working with Tribal Conservation Districts to support the advancement to subsistence food sovereignty. I am excited to be in this role and look forward to this new and exciting chapter!
Quyana (Thank you)