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The Blue Economy

Date & Time
Thursday, November 4, 2021, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

How can Alaskans harness the opportunity to create healthy economies and ecosystems through development of Indigenous-led kelp farming practices?  This session will showcase leaders in the Blue Economy—Alaskans staking a claim in the state’s plans to grow a billion-dollar mariculture industry. While leading fisheries are lining up for permits, the difference lies in millennia of experience in sustainable harvest and marine responsibility that inform a Native brand in Indigenous-led kelp farming and processed foods.

Session Type
Session Tags
Restoration/Conservation, Food & Agriculture, Climate Justice, Economy & Entrepreneurship, Indigenous Teaching
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An Eyak Athabaskan Native of the Eagle Clan, Dune grew up in Cordova, Alaska. Born into a fishing family, he became a fishery and processing consultant and commercial fisher. As Founder and CEO of Native Conservancy (the first Native trust in the US) Dune is restoring both the environment and economy decimated by the Exxon Valdez oil spill through a regenerative kelp farming that will produce 30 million pounds of kelp a year. Dune will discuss how the program positions Native Alaskan communities as leaders in the state’s mariculture plan. His work helped win the preservation of more than 1 million acres of the Copper River Delta and wide recognition, including Time magazine’s Hero of the Planet; and fellowships with the Ashoka Foundation and Hunt Alternatives Fund, Future of Fish, among others.
Dune Lankard
A descendent of the Muisca people of Colombia, Evelyn is passionate about Indigenous self-determination and Indigenous led philanthropy. At Native Conservancy, she plays a key role in managing the staff and daily operations with a focus on development, communication, and forward- looking strategies. She obtained her Master’s from Cornell University in Teaching and Agriculture Education and is a certified Master Gardener. Evelyn founded and ran the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP), a donor affinity group dedicated to supporting Indigenous communities globally, for 15 years. Her work with IFIP created a network of funders, NGO’s and Indigenous Peoples and was instrumental in leveraging hundreds of millions of dollars to the most marginalized communities of the world.
Evelyn Erickson
Jim Smith is an Eyak Native from Cordova, Alaska who grew up in the fishing industry. He was raised in a commercial fishing family and has fished the United States west coast waters of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California. He got his first job when he was just 10 years old working for a man who would teach him how to hunt and skin seals and otters. Like many people in Cordova, he watched his parents set aside portions of their catch and hunts to give to grandparents, aunties, uncles and other Elders in the community. Jim sees the need for continuing this important tradition and feels compelled to play a role in furthering it. Jim’s fishing experience gave him the practical knowledge and tools to manage people whose livelihoods require the skills for making nets, for providing subsistence foods from best practices, and for deploying research vessels for kelp seed sourcing, outplanting, harvesting, and processing. Today, Jim serves Alaska’s coastal communities as head of Native Conservancy’s Restoration Management program both as a fisherman and a ‘kelper’.
Jim Smith