Welcome reception for Wilson Justin

February 12, 2018

University Relations

Wilson Justin has joined UAF as a visiting elder professor. The College of Rural and Community Development is hosting a welcome reception from 2-4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, at the Rural Student Services Gathering Room in the Brooks Building.

“Indigenous knowledge is a key piece when dealing with many of today's issues in the Arctic,” said Sandra Kowalski, director of Indigenous programs at CRCD. “Elders and local community provide the context necessary to inform well-grounded and effective academic work.  In addition, Indigenous knowledge bearers carry the history, stories, skills and knowledge that are important to local culture and to global knowledge. “

Justin is a culture bearer of Ahtna knowledge. He was an advisor during the creation of the Indian Environmental General Assistance Program Act of 1992. IGAP began as a handful of grants to tribal governments, and has now expanded to 125 tribes and $27 million in Alaska.

Justin is a renowned speaker on climate change at statewide, national and international conferences. At conferences, he shares Indigenous knowledge and observations about the speed of climate change in Alaska.

“Alaska Native elders have a deep-seated respect for observation, the science of adaptation weather patterns and food security,” said Justin. “Quietly they have tracked global warming since it first became noticeable after World War II.”

Justin can speak on a variety of topics, including the integration of Indigenous knowledge in Western institutions and the need to make academic knowledge accessible to everyone. A respected tribal leader, Justin has broad experience in tribal and local governments. As the health director of the Mount Sanford Tribal Consortium, he spent more than two decades working to bridge the distance between Western and traditional medicine. His journey has prepared him to talk about governance, communication and community health.

“UAF is pleased to enrich learning experiences and research opportunities through the addition of a visiting Elder Professorship in Indigenous knowledge,” said Evon Peter, vice chancellor of  Rural Community and Native Education. “We are thankful to have Wilson Justin serve in this capacity this spring semester.”

Justin is available as a guest lecturer for university classes and community groups from February through April. To arrange a presentation, contact Sandy Kowalski at sjkowalski@alaska.edu . You can download a flyer for the reception here.