Photographs that Caleb Pungowiyi showed and talked about during his lecture to the climate change workshop for teachers held on December 2, 2001 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Caleb Pungowiyi was a Siberian Yup'ik elder from Savoonga, Alaska, a small community on St. Lawrence Island. He was born in 1941 and was raised by his grandmother in a traditional subsistence lifestyle and learned traditional hunting and survival skills from his uncles. He left to attend high school at boarding school in Sitka, Alaska, and earned a college degree. While originally from Savoonga, Caleb lived in Nome for 20 years,where he was president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council and was president of Kawerak Inc., the Native regional corporation. He then moved to Kotzebue, where he served as the city manager, executive director of the Norton Sound Corporation, and president of the Akalook Trust, which is the foundation for the NANA Corporation. He also served on the Advisory Committees of the National Science Foundation, the Marine Mammal Commission, the Alaska Native Science Commission, and the world’s largest marine-advocacy organization, Oceana. Caleb continued to live off of the land his entire life by subsistence hunting and fishing, and utilizing his expert observational skills and understanding of the environment. Caleb was always willing to share his traditional knowledge, whether it was with scientists, conservationists, governing agencies, his children and grandchildren, or with the youth of his community, like at Sivunivik (A Beginning), a camp in Kotzebue for youth ages 7 to 17. Caleb was known for his devotion to his cultural traditions and Native language, his subsistence practices, his humility, his passionate advocacy for sustaining Arctic cultures and environments, and his expertise in cultivating relationships between indigenous people and conservationists, scientists and governing agencies. Caleb passed away in 2011 at the age of 69, and since then the Caleb Scholars Program has been established to support young people to carry on his legacy in marine-related issues of the Arctic.