The Northern Alaska Indigenous Leadership Academy (NAILA) will help to address Alaska Native community-based wellness and sustainable development through investment in transformative training of local leaders.


Core Partners

NAILA will be administratively housed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) College of Rural and Community Development and led through a partnership with Ilisagvik College in Barrow and the Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development at UAF.



NAILA endeavors to build an integrated learning and career development community that explores qualities of Indigenous knowledge and leadership, increase knowledge of healing and wellness, draws insight and wisdom from elders and experienced leaders, and builds a foundation for community sustainability. Indigenous values and educational methodologies will be central to the Academy program and curriculum.



NAILA will engage a new generation of Alaska Native leaders and provide them with leadership skills to promote community development from within. Participants will become part of a peer network that will continue to foster organic dialogue, partnership, and initiatives, as well as connect them with future opportunities to advance their skills and education.


Academy Format

NAILA will be a dynamic and transformative academy, integrating best practices from successful leadership development and training programs. Participants will engage via online / audio-conference in preparation for a face-to-face weeklong intensive program, designed in a retreat format. Participants may earn credit either through UAF or Ilisagvik College.  The in-person session will be held at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood April 19-25, 2017.  Participants must commit to attending the entire session (including evenings) as well as pre and post audio-conferences. 



The Academy will focus curriculum and sessions in three primary areas: Healing & Wellness, Leadership Development, and Community Sustainability. Sessions will be designed to be integrated and build upon one another.


Participant Selection

NAILA has a limited capacity and can only accept 25 people. We have experienced that this number of participants allows for strong relationships to be built and adequate opportunity to participate for all. NAILA will accept a broad range of participants from across Northern Alaska, with diversity in culture, gender, and background. Full scholarships to cover tuition, lodging and meals will be provided to all accepted applicants. Limited travel assistance to cover airfare are available and should be requested/noted in the application for consideration. Please understand that if you are not accepted for this cohort, it is most likely due to a limitation on the spaces we have available.



About the Partners

The Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development (DANSRD) is an academic unit within the College of Rural and Community Development at UAF. The department offers academic programs for Indigenous and rural students and develops community leaders throughout the state. DANSRD offers BA and MA degrees in Rural Development and a BA degree in Alaska Native Studies. Ilisagvik College is a two-year tribal college offering quality post-secondary academic, vocational and technical education. Ilisagvik is dedicated to perpetuating and strengthening the Inupiat culture, language, values and traditions.

DANSRD Mission: Our mission is to increase cultural awareness and strengthen leadership capacity for rural and Indigenous communities in Alaska and the Circumpolar North through degree programs that promote academic excellence, personal development, professional skills, global awareness and respect for Indigenous cultures and commitment to community.

Ilisagvik Mission: Ilisagvik College provides quality post-secondary academic, vocational and technical education in a learning environment that perpetuates and strengthens IƱupiat culture, language, values and traditions. It is dedicated to serving its students and developing a well-educated and trained workforce who meet the human resource needs of North Slope employers and the state of Alaska.


Academy Sponsorship

We are pleased that ExxonMobil has made an initial two-year contribution to help launch the Northern Alaska Indigenous Leadership Academy as an inaugural sponsor.


Academy Timeline

October 28, 2019: Application for fourth NAILA cohort begins.
November 22, 2019: Deadline for applications.
November 29, 2019: We will notify accepted participants after November 29, 2019.

Spring 2020 Schedule

  • February 27, 2020: Audio Classes, 5:15 pm - 8:15 pm
  • March 12, 2020Audio Classes, 5:15 pm - 8:15 pm
  • March 26, 2020: Audio Classes, 5:15 pm - 8:15 pm
  • April 3-8, 2020: In-person Academy
  • April 16, 2020: Audio Classes, 5:15 pm - 8:15 pm