North Slope Iñupiaq Community Aims to Speak as One
Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat brings together organizations from across region
(Point Hope, AK) A new nonprofit corporation has taken shape on the North Slope, bringing together the leadership of 20 organizations from the region with the goal of providing a unified front on topics ranging from engagement and advocacy to legislative outreach. Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat (VOAI) held its first annual meeting this week to launch the corporation and set its long-term agenda.
“For decades we have watched as outside groups, some even well-intentioned, have attempted to speak for the Iñupiaq people,” said Rex A. Rock Sr., VOAI board chairman. “With the formation of Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat, we begin to communicate collectively on a wide variety of issues that affect our way of life, our traditions, our region and our future.”
“The people of the North Slope have very similar interests, whether you live in my hometown of Point Hope or Anaktuvuk Pass,” added Sayers Tuzroyluk Sr., VOAI president. “Until now, there just hasn’t been a vehicle for us to come together and find ways of protecting those interests. I’m excited to see Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat up and running with the promise to live up to its potential.”
The goals of VOAI include addressing and participating in legislation, increasing communication and information-sharing among all Iñupiat organizations of the North Slope, promoting Iñupiat stewardship of the region and to provide local advocacy and engagement for the Iñupiat to local, state, federal and international forums.
VOAI membership organizations include Arctic Slope Native Association (ASNA), Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), Atqasuk Corporation, City of Anaktuvuk Pass, City of Atqasuk, City of Barrow, City of Kaktovik, City of Point Hope, City of Wainwright, Ilisaġvik College, Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation (KIC), Native Village of Atqasuk, Native Village of Point Hope, Native Village of Point Lay, Wainwright Tribal Council, North Slope Borough, Nunamiut Corporation, Olgoonik Corporation, Tikigaq Corporation and Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC).