Ilarion Merculieff

Ilarion Merculieff

President - Global Center for Indigenous Leadership and Lifeways

Ilarion Merculieff has more than forty years experience serving his people, the Unangan (Aleut) of the Pribilof Islands and other indigenous peoples locally, nationally, and internationally in a number of leadership capacities.

Ilarion was the first Alaska Native commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce and Economic Development, a state cabinet post. He also served as the chair of the indigenous knowledge sessions of the Global Summit of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change in 2009 and as the chair of the scientific committee for Snowchange in 2005, a consortium of indigenous leaders from eight Arctic countries focused on climate change. Ilarion has also engaged in a western states speaking tour on climate change and worked with the Great Lakes tribes to develop strategies for culturally based adaptation to climate changes.

Ilarion is the co-founder of the Indigenous Peoples’ Council for Marine Mammals, the Alaska Forum on the Environment, the International Bering Sea Forum, and the Alaska Oceans Network. He has received a number of awards including the Buffet Finalist Award for Indigenous Leadership, the Environmental Excellence Award for lifetime achievement from the Alaska Forum on the Environment, Rasmuson Foundation award for Creative Non-Fiction, and the Alaska Native Writers on the Environment Award. Ilarion is featured as one of ten Native Americans in the book Native American Men of Courage by Second Story Press. Ilarion’s co-authored book, Aleut Wisdom: Stories of an Aleut Messenger, was released two years ago by Les Intouchables (published in French). He is co-author of the recently released, Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning, which is free to anyone who asks through the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. His latest book is Wisdomkeeper: One Man’s Journey to Honor the Untold Story of the Unangan People, published by North Atlantic Books.

Ilarion is currently an independent consultant/president of the Global Center for Indigenous Leadership and Lifeways (GCILL) and serves as a Senior Advisor to the World Wilderness Congress and advisor to the Native Lands and Wilderness Council. His passion is speaking of traditional Elder wisdom for modern challenges, particularly about restoring women to their place as original healers and balancing the dysfunctional masculine. He is working on a third book. The working title is Tuunam Awaa, which means the “Work of the Land” in Aleut.


Contributions to Humans & Nature:

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