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Iḷisaġvik College

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Iḷisaġvik College
MottoHonoring your past, preparing for your future
TypePublic Community College
PresidentPearl Kiyawn Nageak Brower
Location, ,
AffiliationsUArctic; AIHEC; Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope (ICAS) tribal government

Iḷisaġvik College (Inupiaq: [iʎisɑʁβik]) is a public community college in Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska. Operated by the North Slope Borough, it is the only tribally-controlled college in Alaska and is the northernmost accredited community college in the United States. The college is located within the boundaries of the North Slope, an 89,000-square mile region of Arctic tundra which is not connected by road, save for the 414-mile Dalton Highway from north of Fairbanks, to Deadhorse, near Prudhoe Bay, or by rail. In recent years, as a result of global warming, ocean access has no longer been ice-locked for nine months of each year. The region is home to the Inupiat people.


Bowhead whale skull in front of Iḷisaġvik College main building
Bowhead whale skull in front of Iḷisaġvik College main building

Iḷisaġvik College is a direct outgrowth of the Native American self-determination movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. With the formation of a home-rule government called the North Slope Borough in 1972, the Iñupiat people took their first steps towards regaining control of their lives and destinies.

In 2005, IC was established as the only Tribal College in the state of Alaska. It was federally recognized in 2007 as the 36th tribal college in the United States.[1] The college had its origins in 1986, when the North Slope Borough worked with the University of Fairbanks[1] and created the North Slope Higher Education Center. The school changed its name in 1997 to Arctic Sivunmun Iḷisaġvik College and was under the leadership of college president, Edna Ahgeak MacLean.[2] In 1995 the Borough passed an ordinance incorporating Iḷisaġvik College as a public and independent non-profit corporation. The school moved to the facility previously used by the United States Naval Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL).[3] Iḷisaġvik College was the lead institution in the 1997 creation of the Consortium for Alaska Native Higher Education (CANHE).[2]

In 1996, IC took over the Iñupiat Heritage Center.[4]

The College serves the North Slope Borough and the Iñupiat people.


Indigenous leaders have led IC since its inception. All are local Iñupiat people except Brooke Gondara who is Northern Cheyenne.[5]

S. No. Name Term
1. Benjamin Nageak (executive vice president)
2. Edna Ahgeak MacLean 1995–2005
3. Beverly Patkotak Grinage 2005–2010
4. Brooke Gondara 2010–2011
5. Pearl Kiyawn Nageak Brower 2012–present


IC offers associate's degrees in accounting, allied health, business and management, construction technology, dental health therapy, indigenous education, information technology, Iñupiaq studies, liberal arts, and office management. It also offers a bachelor's degree in business administration. The school additionally offers adult education courses for GED preparation and certificates in various programs. Academic programs at IC model the local Iñupiat traditions, values, and culture. They are also intended to provide career and employment opportunities.[6]


Senator Lisa Murkowski with students from Iḷisaġvik College.
Senator Lisa Murkowski with students from Iḷisaġvik College.

Accredited in 2003 by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, it offers Associate's degrees as well as one-year certificates. IC is a member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), which is a community of tribally and federally chartered institutions working to strengthen tribal nations and make a lasting difference in the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives. IC was created in response to the higher education needs of American Indians. IC generally serves geographically isolated populations that have no other means accessing education beyond the high school level.[6]


Iḷisaġvik College is sanctioned by the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope (ICAS) tribal government. Iḷisaġvik College weaves Iñupiaq values into all its activities because it believes these values make its students and educational community stronger, more cohesive and more successful. Being true to the core values of the culture it predominantly serves helps to make Iḷisaġvik a valued and contributing member of that culture. By helping to strengthen the language and traditions of the Iñupiat, Iḷisaġvik fulfills its role as a distinctly indigenous institution that aims to enhance the local culture, while helping its students gain a foothold in the economy of the 21st century. Iḷisaġvik's goal is to create successful graduates who can incorporate their traditional values into modern life and, in doing so, enhances both.


The Tuzzy Consortium Library is named after Evelyn Tuzroyluk Higbee, a member of the original Board of Higher Education for the college.

See also


  1. ^ a b Thomas, Clive S.; Savatgy, Laura; Klimovich, Kristina (2016). Alaska Politics and Public Policy: The Dynamics of Beliefs, Institutions, Personalities, and Power. University of Alaska Press. p. 984. ISBN 9781602232907.
  2. ^ a b Larsen, Joan Nymand; Schweitzer, Peter; Petrov, Andrey (2015). Arctic Social Indicators: ASI II: Implementation. Nordic Council of Ministers. p. 235. ISBN 9789289338882.
  3. ^ "Barrow Educator Picked to Head Ilisagvik College". Daily Sitka Sentinel. 10 July 1995. Retrieved 7 August 2019 – via
  4. ^ Oliver, Shady Grove (22 February 2019). "Inupiat Heritage Center celebrates 20 years". The Arctic Sounder. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  5. ^ Minthorn, Robin Starr; Shotton, Heather J. (2018-02-27). Reclaiming Indigenous Research in Higher Education. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 9780813588728.
  6. ^ a b American Indian Higher Education Consortium Archived 2012-06-14 at the Wayback Machine

External links

This page was last edited on 12 November 2020, at 19:56
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