Meet our team!
We are emerging Indigenous Leaders from across the Arctic
We created a unique space for ourselves in philanthropy where we can be self-determining, have full authority over all the finances and in addition, we are making more room for Arctic Indigenous peoples to enter this sector.
Our future goal is to be an autonomous entity from the Arctic Funders’ Collaborative, as well as the ability to be fully structured and administered by Northerners.
We use consensus decision making to determine the structure and policies of the fund. It is our responsibility to act as spokespersons and to spread awareness of the Fund by working collaboratively with each other. Please follow our journey through our social media platforms
A young, passionate and outgoing Inuk. She grew up in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut but has lived in faraway places like Indonesia and Australia. Although she loves to travel and explore, she loves helping people in the Arctic more, and helping in any way she can is second nature. Having had a rough start to life, she had to overcome many obstacles to get where she is today; an Inuit Tattooist, Beauty Therapist, Freelance Columnist and a voice for the voiceless. Through the Arctic Indigenous Fund she hopes to continue helping to break cycles and to help others in the Arctic live their best life in the midst of all that the Arctic and its Peoples face.
Shayla “Gwikitch’ihkheh” Snowshoe
I am a Tetlit Gwich'in from Tetlit Zheh, Northwest Territories. As a young, Indigenous woman, I have to come to understand the value of heritage and education and how the two are intertwined into my life, just like a braid. There are three strands. One strand is my culture – hunting, fishing, sewing, the language, the land and my Jijuu. The next strand is education – learning and experiencing new things everyday, as well as my desire to obtain a degree in order to give back to my community through education. The last strand is me– my heart, soul, strength, beliefs, dreams, goals and my love. Each strand is just as important and inspirited as the next.
I am also a student at the University of Alberta, where I am taking Native Studies & Education. My dream is to one day teach in my hometown about the Indigenous history, cultures and language with a special focus on: on the land learning.
My ultimate goal in life is to live a healthy and happy life with my daughter, Dani-Mae. I want to make her proud.
Chandre Iqugan Szafran
is Inupiaq from Nome and grew up in Alaska’s largest city of Anchorage. Her love for her home state has led her to build programming across Alaska, weaving cultural heritage, environmental stewardship, academia, and arts with the thread of advocacy for Indigenous futures. Chandre is an MFA candidate at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and earned her BA in English from University of Alaska Anchorage. She is a First Alaskans Institute Fellow, an alum of Alaska Humanities Forum’s Leadership Anchorage Program, and an Advisor to the Arctic Indigenous Fund. She is active indoors and out, enjoying community volunteering, berry picking, travel, reading, and writing.
Verner Wilson III
is the Senior Oceans Campaigner of FOE’s Oceans and Vessels Program. Verner focuses on protecting the marine environment from shipping pollution and disturbance in the Pacific Northwest and Arctic. He previously worked for an organization that serves 31 Alaska Native tribes, partnering with FoE since 2016 at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on efforts to empower Arctic indigenous peoples. Born and raised in Alaska’s Bristol Bay with family ties in the Bering Strait, he is a member of the Curyung Tribe in Dillingham, Alaska. Verner has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Brown University, as well as a master’s degree in environmental management from Yale’s school of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He loves salmon-fishing with his family, exploring new cultures, and enjoys the outdoors and sustainable seafood.
Seqininnguaq Qitura Poulsen
Seqininnguaq Qitura is a greenlandic Inuk artist, Indigenous rights activist and Instagram influencer. Seqininnguaq’s work in art and activism is very much focused on mental health, decolonization and revitalization of Indigenous cultures and languages. They have a diploma in finishing the James Harvard J. McCarthy Indigenous Leadership Seminar and won the greenlandic governmental encouragement award for their local and international work.
They love spending time with people, especially family and friends, love travelling and exploring and is always open and welcoming to all. Indigeneity and mental health is a huge part of their life which is why it’s so important to them and never minds explaining or discussing anything regarding those or other topics.
Tukumminnguaq Nykjær Olsen
Is an Office and Project Manager for Inuit Circumpolar Council Greenland and Advisor for Arctic Indigenous Fund.
She is a MA candidate in Governance and Sustainability, West Nordic Studies, helds a BA degree in Social Sciences, have studied in Fairbanks, Alaska and Akureyri, Iceland during her studies. Tukumminnguaq is a native Greenlander who grew up in Qaanaaq, Greenland, northernmost town in Greenland.
Have amongst completed Indigenous peoples rights and policy program at Columbia University, Indigenous Fellowship Program at United Nations Geneva, is a former Arctic focal point in Global Indigenous Youth Caucus at United Nations and Winner of Arctic Innovation Lab, Arctic Circle Assembly Iceland 2017.
Ole-Henrik B. Lifjell
is a Sàmi artist/performer from the Norwegian side of Sàpmi. He comes from a small village called Bleikvassli in Nordland county.
Previously he`s been working as a project manager for a research project that focused on mental health issues amongst Sàmi youth. Currently he`s also a representative at the Sàmi parliament in Norway, as well as working full time with music and acting professionally. In addition to being a politician and artist, he is also engaged in several organizations. This includes Garmeres which is an organization for Queer Sàmis across Sàpmi. In addition, being a representative for the user`s perspective at the Sami National Center for Mental Health.
Marion Aslaksen Ravna
is a Saami woman from Deatnu in Norway, in the northernmost part of Sápmi. She has a Master´s degree in Law from the Arctic University of Norway – University of Tromsø, and is currently studying LLM (Master of Law) in Entrepreneurship and Business Law at Colorado University. She has previously worked with Saami culture and politics, for example, through work for Saami festivals and through engagements at the Norwegian Saami Association (NSR). Among other things, she is passionate about indigenous law and the rights of individuals, and outdoor activities, such as indigenous ways of using land, nature and food.
is a member of the Łútsël k’é Dene First Nation Band in the protected traditional lands of Thaidene Nëné within Denendeh, Canada, commonly known as the Northwest Territories, Canada. She currently resides in Somba k’e, Yellowknife, with her partner, Dustin and their three children, Kairo, Sahᾴí̜ʔᾳ and NáɁël. Shëné was previously working with Arctic Funders Collaborative as the Communications Coordinator before moving over to the Arctic Indigenous Fund as the Manager.
Shëné has been passionately advocating for the past 6 years to have Indigenous names recognized and honoured in one of the eight official languages on official documents in her Territory. She has recently become a part of the 5th cohort with the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship with the Gordon Foundation and will continue to work closely with the Indigenous languages through this opportunity.
In her free time, Shëné reconnects with her culture by learning how to tan local animal hides with the guidance of her friends and family. She does this by attending the annual Hide Camp in Łútsël k’é every year with her children to learn to gain the knowledge and continue this tradition to stay connected to the land.