This past year, Iḷisaġvik College issued our 25th Anniversary Celebration theme: Unapologetically Iñupiaq (UI). Developed by facilitating staff, faculty, student and community discussions in order to operationalize our mission statement, the UI Initiative has been a process of learning and developing strategies to amplify and advance our Iñupiaq way of life in everything that we do.
Our existence as a Tribal College is predicated upon our Iñupiaq culture, and Unapologetically Iñupiaq is an expression of how Iñupiaq language, culture, values and traditions are important. As an Iḷisaġvik Family, we have had conversations striving to do this in a manner that does not mean that other ways and knowledge is inconsequential. Of the rich diversity of the North Slope, and as an Iñupiaq Tribal College, we were pronouncing that Iñupiaq ways and lives matter.
Now is the time to say that Black lives matter.
Iḷisaġvik College unequivocally voices that Black hopes, dreams, thoughts, ambitions, goals, cultures, histories, families, rights, values, traditions, and lives, matter. Our Black community members, students, staff and faculty, matter. These expressions are the heart of the Movement, as we understand it, and it should not require bravery to say so.
Holding space for all while amplifying Iñupiaq culture on Iñupiaq land has been an ongoing discussion. However, our Iñupiaq value of humility helps us, and Iḷisaġvik desires to utilize another Iñupiaq cultural trait, and listen. May this serve as a message to our North Slope Black community, that we want to hold space during this time and going forward. We are open. Our value of humility helps us and the pursuit of justice is never wrong.
Iḷisaġvik College supports our North Slope Black Community, our Black students, wherever they may reside, and the Black community across the nation.
Taaqsipait Iñuggutiŋit Nuimanaqtut: Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter.
Dr. Pearl Kiyawn Brower | President, Iḷisaġvik College