Larry Merculieff has almost four decades of experience serving his people, the Aleuts of the Pribilof Islands and other Alaska Native peoples in a number of capacities. His reach has been broad and varied—a few of the positions he’s held include: City Manager of St. Paul Island, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce and Economic Development, President and CEO of Tanadgusix Corporation, Chairman of the Board of The Aleut Corporation, and General Manager of the Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association (one of the six Community Development Quota groups created by Congress to receive fish allocations in Alaska).

From 2000–2003, Merculieff served as the Director of the Department of Public Policy and Advocacy in the Rural Alaska Community Action Program. As Director, Merculieff led the largest subsistence rights march in Alaska’s history and emceed the subsistence rally after the march. The march was instrumental in protecting Alaska Native subsistence rights, which were legally contested by the State of Alaska, to fish for salmon along Alaska’s rivers. He also successfully led a four-year effort to gain federal and state recognition of Alaska Native subsistence rights to catch and eat halibut throughout coastal Alaska.

Merculieff is co-founder and former chairman of the Alaska Indigenous Council on Marine Mammals; former chairman of the Nature Conservancy, Alaska chapter; former co-director of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society, Alaska chapter; as well as co-founder of the International Bering Sea Forum, the Alaska Forum on the Environment, and the Alaska Oceans Network. He served as chairperson for the Alaska Sanitation Taskforce and co-chair of the Federal/State Taskforce on Rural Sanitation to bring support for running water and flush toilets to over one hundred Alaska Native communities. Merculieff served on the National Research Council Committee on the Bering Sea Ecosystem and was one of four Native Americans to present at the White House Conference on the Oceans during the Clinton administration. Merculieff was selected by Aleut leaders to be part of a one-hour Discovery Channel documentary about the history and spiritual aspects of Aleuts, which aired in 2001. In 2004, he received the Alaska Native Writers on the Environment Award from the Alaska Conservation Foundation and, in 2006, he received the Rasmuson Foundation Award for Creative Nonfiction. In 2007 he received the Buffet Finalist Award for Indigenous Leadership, and the Alaska Forum on the Environment Award for Environmental Excellence, for lifetime achievements in environment.

Close to Merculieff’s heart are issues related to cultural and community wellness, traditional ways of living, Elder wisdom, and the environment. Having had a traditional upbringing, Merculieff has been, and continues to be, a strong voice advocating the meaningful application of traditional knowledge and wisdom obtained from Elders in Alaska and throughout the world when dealing with modern day challenges. As the Coordinator for the Bering Sea Council of Elders, Merculieff works with some of the most revered Elders from seven regions throughout Alaska focusing on the health of the Bering Sea ecosystem and the viability and health of the coastal and river cultures dependent on it. Merculieff has shared Elder wisdom locally, nationally, and internationally, and his writings and interviews have appeared in such publications as the Winds of Change, YES, Red Ink, Alaska Geographic, Smithsonian, National Geographic, and Kindred Spirits. Merculieff was featured in National Wildlife an “American Hero”, having called national and international attention to major adverse changes in the Bering Sea ecosystem.

Contact Larry at lmerculieff@aim.com

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