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Alaska Pacific University to Partner with Indigenous Communities Through New Center

Jan 10, 2024 | Alaska Native, Education, News

Alaska Business

Researchers from Alaska Pacific University will be partners in the newly announced $30 million grant from the National Science Foundation with the new Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science.

Alaska Pacific University to Be Alaska/Arctic Regional Hub

Based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the center will focus on connecting Indigenous knowledge with Western science to address evolving challenges brought on by climate change; the danger posed to irreplaceable archaeological sites, sacred places, and cultural heritage; and the challenges of changing food systems, all of which disproportionately affect Indigenous communities.

The center’s team of more than fifty scientists—including more than thirty of the world’s leading Indigenous natural, environmental, and social scientists representing Native American, First Nations, Métis, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, Māori, and Aboriginal Australian peoples—will work cross-culturally to undertake place-based studies and projects in eight international “hubs” in the United States, Canada, Aotearoa New Zealand, and Australia. The Alaska/Arctic regional hub at Alaska Pacific University will sponsor Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous science projects.

“This center is a giant step forward to provide a foundation for understanding Western science and indigenous knowledge, through active, place-based and community-based research projects. Our vision is to support community-led research projects that serve the needs and answer pressing questions of the Arctic and Alaska Native people,” says James Temte, senior director of Indigenous Research and Community Engagement at Alaska Pacific University. Temte will serve as a co-lead of the center’s Alaska/Arctic Regional Hub.

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In addition to research, the center has an important educational mission to train researchers engaged in Arctic research. As part of the project, Alaska Pacific University is hiring an Indigenous Engagement Coordinator to support researchers and communities in the Braiding of Indigenous Knowledge and Science.

“Alaska Pacific University is honored to enter this formal partnership with the center. Arctic Communities will have access to an even greater network of Indigenous scientists, with expanded research and scholarship opportunities designed to support and train the next generation of Indigenous scholars,” says Hilton Hallock, provost of Alaska Pacific University.

More information about the Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science, including partner institutions, researchers, and Indigenous communities, can be found at www.umass.edu/gateway/research/indigenous-knowledges.

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