BSNC is proud to announce that Samuel Tocktoo, a shareholder from Shishmaref, and descendants Willie Drake of Anchorage, Esau Sinnok of Shishmaref, and Grace Ongtowasruk of Teller, were selected to be U.S. Arctic Youth Ambassadors for the 2015-2017 Arctic Council Chairmanship. Jannelle Trowbridge of Nome is also participating in the Arctic Youth Ambassador Program.
The U.S. Arctic Youth Ambassadors program was established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of State and nonprofit partner Alaska Geographic to serve an important role in Arctic public outreach and education. Ambassadors will participate in a variety of programs and projects including sharing stories from Alaska about the changing Arctic through social media and public forums. As Arctic Youth Ambassadors, they will help build awareness at home and abroad on how to sustain communities, cultures and the environment in a changing Arctic.
From May to August, Drake excelled in BSNC’s internship program, where he participated in trainings on leadership skills, public speaking, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, cultural awareness, Arctic matters, policy issues that impact Alaska Native people, speed mentoring, professional writing and career and professional development. Upon finishing the internship program, Drake was offered and accepted a part-time position in BSNC’s Contracts Department. Drake graduated with honors from Mt. Edgecumbe high school last May, where he was a member of the Yup’ik Dance Group.