Beringia Project Panel Member Changes
Welcome Erica Nelson and Thank You Leland Barger, Sr.!
This past October, the Shared Beringian Heritage Program (Beringia Program) welcomed Erica Nelson, President of Aqqaluk Trust, as the newest member of the Beringia Project Panel. At the same time, we said good-bye and thank you to Leland Barger, Sr., who retired from NANA this past spring.
As a long-standing member of the Beringia Panel, Leland Barger, Sr. represented northwest Alaska through the NANA Regional Corporation from 2007 to 2012. During his tenure, he contributed his experience, wisdom, kindness, and humor to the project selection process and the panel’s annual meetings. Leland’s support of the Beringia Program was an invaluable resource and we thank him for his participation and consistently positive attitude. His presence will be missed by the Beringia Program staff and his fellow panel members. We wish him the best of luck and we are grateful for his support and his efforts towards fulfilling the program’s mission and goals. Thank you Leland!
Although Leland retired, Northwest Alaska will continue to be represented on the Beringia Panel by Erica Nelson, who was nominated by the NANA Regional Corporation to replace Mr. Barger. Erica was recently named the President of the Aqqaluk Trust, whose mission is to empower Inupiat people through language, culture, and education. Before becoming President, Erica held other positions within the Trust since starting there in 2005. During her years at the Aqqaluk Trust, Erica successfully strengthened and expanded the scholarship program, improved employment opportunities within the organization, helped to boost the Trust’s financial growth, and enriched the Language and Culture Department. Erica also serves as the Chair of the College of Rural and Community Development Statewide Advisory Council and is pursuing a Criminal Justice degree from the University of Southern Oregon. Outside of her professional life, Erica is a proud and enthusiastic mother of five girls, ages seven to fifteen. Her biography reads, “She understands the importance of being a proud and productive Iñupiat woman, and continually strives for excellence within her family, education, and professional life at the Trust. “ The Beringia Program looks forward to working with committed and ambitious people like Erica. Welcome!
If you want to learn more about the Shared Beringian Heritage Program’s Project Panel or project selection process, please click here.