Indigenous Advisory Board

The Indigenous Advisory Board is advising on how the NNA-CO is partnering with Indigenous communities and institutions to ensure that we are addressing issues of mutual concern, that Indigenous Peoples have a voice in NNA research planning and implementation, and that Indigenous knowledge and data sovereignty is upheld. Importantly, this board also ensures that the NNA-CO amplifies and supports Indigenous-led initiatives. Board members will serve two year terms.

Nikoosh Carlo - Advisory Boards Lead & Co-Chair

Dr. Nikoosh Carlo (Co-PI) is Koyukon Athabascan, CEO of CNC North Consulting, and the co-chair of the NNA-CO advisory boards. In this role she will lead the boards in ensuring the work of the NNA-CO is grounded in our guiding principles and that the boards’ guidance is integrated into NNA-CO activities. As the founder and chief strategist of CNC North Consulting, Dr. Carlo, helps clients develop a vision for their climate change and Arctic priorities and build momentum to achieve change. She has worked across political divides for State Senators, Ambassadors, and Governors on issues of Arctic governance. Her true passion is working with organizations that support climate change equity, and the well-being of Arctic residents and Indigenous peoples.

Malinda Chase - Board Member

Malinda Chase is an enrolled tribal member of Anvik, a Deg Hit’an Dene’ village, located in Alaska’s interior region, at the confluence of the Yukon and Anvik Rivers. She works as the Tribal Resilience Liaison for the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center, in partnership with the Aleutians Pribilof Islands Association, to support tribes in their self-determined efforts in addressing climate change. This role is affiliated with the national BIA Tribal Climate Resilience Program. Throughout her work life, Malinda is fortunate to work closely with Alaska Indigenous communities, prominent Alaska Native Elders and talented Alaska Native educators in tribal and community planning and indigenous initiatives that perpetuate and share Alaska Native knowledge, beliefs and strength.

Mellisa "Maktuayaq" Johnson - Board Member

Mellisa “Maktuayaq” Johnson is Iñupiaq from Nome, Alaska USA and is the Executive Director for Bering Sea Elders Group (BSEG). She has a strong passion for protecting, respecting, and maintaining traditional Indigenous ways of life. Her upbringing with her grandparents and many other Elders, along with inspiration from her three children, drives her to work to advocate, educate, and share with others the importance of preserving and maintaining our Indigenous way of life for the Bering Sea region. She has a strong cultural sense of being Indigenous and carries a deep passion for learning and sharing Iñupiat and Yup’ik cultures. The mission of Bering Sea Elders Group is to speak and work together as one voice to protect and respect our traditional ways of life, the ocean web of life that supports the resources we rely on, and our children’s future.

Liza Mack - Board Member

Dr. Liza Mack is the Executive Director of the Aleut International Association. AIA represents the Aleut people that live in both Russia and the United States in the Arctic Council. Dr. Mack is Unangax, born and raised in a small village at the end of the Alaska Peninsula called King Cove. She graduated with her PhD in Indigenous Studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her research focused on political ecology, natural resource management, knowledge transfer, and engagement of Native communities in the regulatory process. Dr. Mack has over 20 years of experience working in and around Indigenous organizations and communities. She has an A.A. in Liberal Arts from UAS Sitka, a B.A., and M.S. in Anthropology from Idaho State University.

Gunn-Britt Retter - Board Member

Ms Gunn-Britt Retter lives in the coastal Saami community Unjárga-Nesseby in north-eastern Norway. She is a teacher of training from Sámi University of Applied Sciences and holds MA in Bilingual studies from University of Wales. Since 2001, Retter has worked with Arctic Environmental issues, first at Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat (IPS) and since 2005 in the present position as Head of Arctic and Environmental Unit of the Saami Council. Retter has been involved in issues related to Indigenous Peoples and knowledge associated with climate change, biodiversity, language, pollution and management of natural resources, both at Arctic and International levels.

Jaylene Wheeler - Board Member

Jaylene Wheeler was born and raised in Nome and is an enrolled Tribal member of Nome Eskimo Community. She is both Iñupiaq and St. Lawrence Island Yupik and completed her undergraduate (Rural Development) and graduate (Master of Public Administration) studies through the University of Alaska. Currently, Jaylene is the Social Science Program Manager for Kawerak, a non-profit that serves twenty Tribes in the Bering Strait region of Alaska. Kawerak's research focuses on topics such as traditional knowledge of subsistence resources, subsistence practices, environmental change, and human-environment and human-animal relationships.