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Indigenous peoples, climate change and the environment

Victoria Buschman, in a red winter coat and black snowpants with suspenders smiles at the camera. She sits in front of a snowy landscape and holds a thermos in her hands. She is wearing black fur mittens.
Photo credit: Victoria Buschman

March 24, 2021

Over 40 educators representing 14 states, two provinces and the Yukon territory participated in a 5-part series on current issues in the Arctic.

Each week members of our UW Arctic studies community and other colleagues presented on a major theme in Arctic studies. These included “Inuit Homelands and Arctic Indigenous Peoples,” “Ice as Alive and Climate Change,” “Leadership and Communities,” “Language and Education,” and a final series with National Geographic educators on integrating Arctic content into the classroom.

One of the educators learned the importance of not only discussing colonialism in the classroom “but to also discuss current successes and interests of Indigenous peoples including how Arctic Indigenous peoples have lived in almost all the regions in the Arctic and that Inuit are incredibly active and progressive in how they think about governance.” She noted, “I learned so, so, so, much!!!”

As noted by one of the speakers, Jason Young, “We do not want the narrative of colonialism to crowd out the agency of Arctic Indigenous peoples.”

Presenters included Victoria Buschman (pictured), doctoral candidate in the School of Environment and Forest Sciences; Jason Young, senior research scientist in the I-School and instructor for the Arctic minor; Max Showalter, recent graduate in the School of Oceanography; Kevin Turner, UW’s current Fulbright Canada Visiting Arctic Scholar; Liza Mack, executive director of the Aleut International Association; Patricia Johnston, Government of Canada Banting Fellow in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies; Alexina Kublu, UW’s instructor in the Inuit languages; Ellen Ahlness, Elena Bell and Elizabeth Wessells all UW doctoral candidates and Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellows in Inuktitut; and Jodie Lane, director of Education, Education and Economic Development, Government of Nunatsiavut, Canada.

This five-part series was co-sponsored with the World Affairs Council, Seattle; the Center for Global Studies in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at UW; the Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at UW; and the Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University.