Kimberly Kivvaq Pikok
Kim Pikok and dad, Lloyd Pikok Sr. looking at plants at Pikok Camp Author: Llyod Pikok Jr.
2023

Kimberly Kivvaq Pikok

Iñupiaq Fisher/Wildlife Biologist

whispers from the arctic

meet kimberly

A graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kimberly Kivvaq Pikok is an Iñupiaq fisher from Utqiaġvik, Alaska, who loves to spend time inland hunting and camping. Her research on seasonal changes in Utqiaġvik wildlife—namely whale populations—seamlessly blends data gleaned from the Alaska Arctic Observatory and deep-time knowledge of the environment, animal movements, and migration patterns shared by Indigenous Iñupiaq hunters and whalers.

whispers from the arctic
Nominated by: Juan Daniel Martinez Pineda
Class of 2023 Location Utqiaġvik, Alaska
Kim on a project with the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management
Kim on a project with the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management Author: Todd Sformo

How you connect with nature is how you treat nature and its lifeforms in processes like policymaking, research, etc. Growing up with my grandparents, who loved to go camping, fishing, and subsistence hunting, I was taught that everything has a story—from rocks to mountains, plants and animals, the oceans and rivers, and us. For me, knowing ocean and land conditions and understanding animal movements is personal and important to our communities because this is knowledge we need in order to have food on our tables, give back to the communities, and teach our children.

In science, we are told to keep personal biases away from research, but, as I have learned, you cannot separate people from the environment. For when you do, you disregard the knowledge that was learned and passed down through the generations of our elders to our people today.

“Everything in nature is an open book; you just need to allow yourself to read, understand, observe, and listen to what nature is trying to tell you.”

- Kimberly Kivvaq Pikok

By bridging my different worldviews from both Western science learned at university and Indigenous science from my forebears, I use various methods of storytelling to connect people to wildlife species and environmental issues to better inform nonlocals and researchers about what is happening in (and even what is) the Arctic. My work centers and empowers our hunters’ knowledge, stories, and voices in science and management spaces to do what is best for our people, future generations, the environment, and a future in a more equitable and Inuit-led wildlife management and food security decision-making process.

Everything in nature is an open book; you just need to allow yourself to read, understand, observe, and listen to what nature is trying to tell you.

Kim teaching James about how to identify a fish
Kim teaching James about how to identify a fish Author: CJ Goulding

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