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Joaqlin Estus
Indian Country Today

President Donald Trump has announced his intent to appoint an Inupiaq leader from the nation’s northernmost community to the United States Arctic Research Commission.

Crawford Ahkivgak Patkotak, of Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), will be one of the commission's seven members. The federal body advises the president and Congress on Arctic research. Four members represent academic or research institutions, two are from private industry with commercial operations in the Arctic. One member is an Indigenous resident of the Arctic. The director of the National Science Foundation is an ex officio eighth member.

Commission member Kasannaaluk Marie N. Greene, Inupiaq, of Kotzebue, Alaska, is a former president and CEO of NANA, the regional for-profit Alaska Native corporation for northwest Alaska. She was appointed to the commission in 2015. Other commissioners include renowned experts in geological and geophysical research, Homeland Security science and technology, and engineering.

Patkotak is chairman of the board and vice president of shareholder engagement for the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, an Alaska Native for-profit company. Its main operations are government contract services, petroleum refining and marketing and support services. It’s the state’s largest Alaska-owned and operated company, and the most profitable of the Alaska Native corporations formed under a 1971 act of Congress, with annual revenues of $3 billion in 2019.

Patkotak serves on the North Slope Borough Assembly. He’s also a whaling captain and vice chair of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission.

Last week the president also announced another appointee to the commission: Thomas Emanuel Dans, counselor to the under secretary of international affairs at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. He brings expertise in international financial management in alternative assets.

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