News Release

Alaska Pacific University

The 11-week course, titled “Indigenous Land Stewardship: Creating Meaningful Collaborations across Alaska,” begins Friday, September 24. It will be team-taught and draw on experts from Indigenous communities who are leading dialogues on decolonization and racial equity, as well as professionals who work for or closely with tribes and Indigenous organizations on science and conservation challenges.

“We are encouraged by partnerships like this, where Tribal experts are the rightful leaders in teaching about the stewardship of this beautiful land,” said Alaska Pacific University Interim President Dr. Hilton Hallock. “This partnership also will present an incredible opportunity for our students to work and learn alongside Alaska Native leaders and federal partners. We train Alaska’s future leaders, and this course will help ensure our students approach their careers with respect, awareness, and cultural understanding.”

The course originated through an alignment of efforts. Alaska Pacific University Elders Council member Wilson Justin saw a connection between Alaska Pacific University's focus on being an Indigenous-serving university, his experience teaching in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s highly regarded Alaska Native Relations Training, and efforts within Northern Latitudes Partnership, which is hosted by the Alaska Conservation Foundation, to build trust and collaboration among tribes, agencies, and academia. 

“The collaboration that has gone into designing this groundbreaking course is inspiring,” said Karen Cogswell, Acting Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska. “I look forward to this learning opportunity raising respect for the importance of two knowledge systems in conservation, and awareness that public lands are the homelands of Indigenous people who are the first stewards of our Nation’s fish and wildlife.”

Participants will gain an understanding of the impacts of colonization in Alaska and learn how knowledge systems can be utilized together for everyone’s benefit, including and especially the earth.

"We see this new course as being a key tool to help agencies and scientists work in more equitable and effective partnerships with Indigenous communities, something that is so critical as we all struggle to adapt to rapid and accelerating climate change," said Michael Barber, Executive Director of Alaska Conservation Foundation.

The course, offered virtually, is fully enrolled with a wait list. Registered attendees include: tribal, federal, and state conservation and resource management agency employees; conservation non-profit representatives; Alaska Pacific University students; and Alaska Native organization employees. The course will be offered again in 2022.

About the Partners

Alaska Pacific University

Provides a world-class, hands-on, culturally responsive educational experience in collaboration with our students, communities and Tribal partners. Alaska Pacific University is a fully accredited four-year Alaska Native-serving and Tribally controlled University offering academic programs ranging from certificates to a doctoral program. Alaska Pacific University continues to add and maintain programs and degrees that serve all Alaskans and attract local, national, and international students and attention. Learn more at

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. In Alaska, we are shared stewards of world renowned natural resources and our nation’s last true wild places. The lands and waters of this place we call home nourish a vast and unique array of fish, wildlife and people. We cultivate awareness and respect for all things, from Alaska’s smallest plants and most iconic animals to its diverse communities and cultures. Our hope is that each generation has the opportunity to live with, live from, discover, and enjoy the wildness of this awe-inspiring land and the people who love and depend on it. Learn more at

Alaska Conservation Foundation

Protects Alaska’s lands and waters and builds resilience to climate change by supporting grassroots advocacy, leading collaborative statewide climate change adaptation efforts, and strengthening Alaska’s conservation movement. Alaska Conservation Foundation prioritizes Alaska’s natural environments and its diverse cultures and ways of life by promoting conservation philanthropy and by strategically directing resources to conservation leaders, organizations, and initiatives. Learn more at

Northern Latitudes Partnership

Collaborates across geographic and disciplinary boundaries to help communities be culturally, environmentally, and economically secure in a rapidly changing North. We strive to meet this common goal by developing strategies, building new tools, and facilitating coordination with all partners to improve resource stewardship and sustainability. Learn more at

Partners launch innovative course on Indigenous stewardship at Alaska Pacific University - logos