Indigenous graduate students focus on co-production of knowledge

Elizabeth Mik’ Lindley is one of the students in UAF’s new Tamamta Program, which brings together Indigenous and Western sciences to transform graduate education and research in fisheries and marine sciences. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Mik’ Lindley

This semester, the new University of Alaska Fairbanks Tamamta program began with a cohort of nine Indigenous students.

Funded by the National Science Foundation’s Research Traineeship and Navigating the New Arctic programs, the Tamamta program centers on bridging Indigenous and Western sciences to transform graduate education and research in fisheries and marine sciences.

“Tamamta” means “all of us” in the Sugpiaq and Yup’ik languages of the Indigenous peoples of Alaska’s southcentral coast. An interdisciplinary team of UAF faculty members and other partners will guide the students as they use a co-production of knowledge approach to explore key questions in fisheries and marine research, education, and management.

A majority of the new Tamamta fellows grew up in rural Indigenous communities such as Saint Paul Island, Bethel, Kwethluk, Utqiagvik and Metlakatla. They have undergraduate degrees in fisheries, rural and community development, natural resource management, and related fields.

Many of them bring professional experience to the Tamamta program from working at tribal and natural resource management organizations across Alaska. Some of these organizations include the Bristol Bay Native Association, the Metlakatla Indian Community Department of Fish and Wildlife, the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, the Orutsararmiut Native Council, and the Tanana Chiefs Conference. 

The Tamamta program is a joint program of UAF’s College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and the College of Rural and Community Development. Program funding is available for multiple cohorts of Indigenous and non-Indigenous CFOS graduate students over the next five years.

Please see the Tamamta website for more information about the Tamamta fellows – Connie Melovidov of Saint Paul Island, Elizabeth Mik’aq Lindley of Bethel, Janessa Esquible of Bethel, Keith Herron Ivy of Bethel/Wrangell/Seward/Kenai, Kendrick Hautala of Kwethluk, Kimberly Kivvaq Pikok of Utqiagvik, Natasha Hayden of Kodiak, Nick Jacuk of Kenai, and Tazia Wagner of Metlakatla.

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