Ila Ambassadors: Building Circumpolar Resilience Through Technologically Enabled Knowledge Exchange

This project will explore the socio-cultural impacts of increasing knowledge exchange between Arctic Indigenous communities, with the goals of supporting the revitalization of culture and language; promoting wellness; encouraging circumpolar collaborations; and building community capacity to lead international efforts to address emerging Arctic issues. Arctic communities are increasingly connected to the world through social and environmental processes – ranging from globalization to environmental change – over which they have insufficient control. Simultaneously, histories of colonialism have contributed to disconnection of these communities from one another and their unique knowledge, undercutting their collective resilience. Connections between Arctic communities must be better supported so that they have greater capacity to navigate the global issues impacting their lives and lands. This project provides that support through the development of Iḷa Ambassador partnerships, which provide social, educational, and technological support for building connections between youth and elders within and across circumpolar communities. The project will co-design, implement, and evaluate (1) a participatory video production program for sharing knowledge; (2) curricular and teacher education programs for teaching with videos in global classrooms; and (3) Indigenous-led social scientific and Arctic research workshops grounded in digital storytelling. It will develop tools and resources for sustainably scaling this program, and explore the design of a video sharing platform that centers Indigenous values. This work requires a synergy between Indigenous and Western knowledge systems, and will be made possible by extensive collaborations with community and international partners. The project will specifically engage Ambassadors in four communities across Alaska and Sápmi, but will also establish plans to expand partnerships to other communities.

Grant Info


TiaAnna Tidwell

Start Date

Jan 1, 2023