This site provides background information on
the role and activities of the Alaska Native Science Commission
as it relates to science
research policies and practices impacting Alaska Native people.
Anyone wishing to contribute to this site is encouraged to contact
the coordinator of the Alaska Native Knowledge Network at (907)
474-1902, or send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partnerships in Science & Research
The Arctic Contamination Conference held in Anchorage, Alaska
in May of 1993, was the genesis of the Alaska Native Science
Commission (ANSC). The Conference opened with a keynote address
by Senator Frank Murkowski speaking on the topic, "The Environmental
Legacy of the Cold War". After several days of hearing "war" stories,
like Project Chariot and iodine experimenting on Natives, the
Native community knew it was time to continue the battle on a
new front. A position paper was prepared which stated the desire
of the Native community to become actively involved in scientific
research, to become aware and informed of science investigating
Native lives and environment, and to assure that when science
is performed in Alaska it is with the knowledge, cooperation
and understanding of the Native community.
In October 1993, The Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Annual
Convention, passed a unanimous resolution to support the creation
of an Alaska Native Science Commission. During 1994, a series
of workshops were held with Native community leaders and elders,
and Arctic scientists and researchers to discuss the formation
and structure of the ANSC. Funding was received from the National
Science Foundation to assist in establishing the ANSC. These
funds will facilitate the growth of the ANSC into an independent
body which will provide the primary link between the scientific
community and the Alaska Native community.
The mission of the ANSC is to endorse and support scientific
research that enhances and perpetuates Alaska Native cultures,
and ensures the protection of indigenous cultures and intellectual
property. This mission statement was drafted as a result of the
1994 workshop series and adopted by the participating Native
community leaders, elders, Arctic scientists and researchers.
The goals of the Alaska Native Science Commission are to:
- Facilitate the inclusion of local and traditional knowledge
into research and science.
- Participate in and influence priorities for research.
- Seek participation of Alaska Natives at all levels of science.
- Provide a mechanism for community feedback on results and
other scientific activities.
- Promote science to Native youth.
- Encourage Native people to enter scientific disciplines.
- Ensure that Native people share in economic
benefits derived from their intellectual property.
Targeted areas of concern identified by the Native community
- Environmental health and the causes of disease that are specific
to Alaska Natives, especially the types of cancers that are
killing the young and non-substance abusers.
- Elements and conditions that contribute to the survival of
Native cultures and societies, and identification of major
barriers to cultural survival.
- Partnerships with agencies and researchers who have supported
community involvement in research and work well with Native
- Active community involvement in science and research which:
- Informs communities of their rights regarding research
done on their environment or people.
- Establishes community research standards and protocols.
- Establishes standard research reviews to address issues
of local concern and cultural values.
- Assures that scientists work with communities on the
direction and design of research.
- Channels communication of research results in a practical
manner back to the communities which are most impacted.
- Helps scientists work directly with students in the
classroom and at the research site to foster interest
- Promotes hire of local people to assist with research.
- Prepares locally held knowledge of community resources.
- Promotes student learning through elders.
- Encourages and supports students who are interested
in science to become actively involved in the research
of their people and homelands.
- Establishes local standards for the utilization of
traditional knowledge with consideration of intellectual
These issues were identified as priority
because they represent the major causes for concern and set
the direction we can take
as a Native community to address them.
Board of Commissioners
The ANSC has solicited nominations from the Native community
to serve on the Board of Commissioners to oversee the work of
the Commission. Seven Alaska Native Commissioners will be selected
to represent the following groups:
- Alaska Native Education
- Alaska Native Health
- Arctic Research Commission - Native member
- Natural Resource Manager
Ex- officio members of the Commission include:
- Alaska State Science Advisor
- Arctic Research Commission Executive Director
- Arctic Research Consortium of the United States President
- College Science Student
Advisory Boards and special Task Forces will also be used to
assist the Commission.
A Partnership Approach:
The ANSC was created to bring together research and science
in partnership with the Native community. The ANSC serves as
a clearinghouse for proposed research, an information base for
on-going and past research, and an archives for significant research
involving the Native community. We provide information, referral
and networking services for researchers seeking active partners
in the Native community. We are the bridge to bring these communities
together. It is time for us to work together - for better communities,
for sensitivity to each others concerns, and in the long run
- for better science.
For further information on the Alaska Native Science Commission,
Alaska Native Science Commission
3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508