Board of Directors

NWT Winter Camp, GRRB Inuvik photo

The GCI Board is composed of two members from the Northwest Territories, two members from the Yukon and four members from Alaska. The Chairmanship rotates between the Northwest Territories and Yukon with each region nominating the Director who will assume the Chairmanship responsibilities. The Vice Chairperson is filled with a member from Alaska.

General direction to the activities of the GCI is provided by the Chairperson. Day-to-day activities of the GCI are managed by an Executive Director in Canada who also provides administrative support to GCI members who are of US citizenship.

GCI has a number of priorities that relate to the environment, youth, culture and tradition, social and economic development and education.

As a permanent participant to the Arctic Council, funding for GCI comes from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Canada. These funds allow for management of a Secretariat and travel of GCI members to the Arctic Council and its affiliated working group meetings. The US State Department in Alaska provides some funding through the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat to support Gwich’in who are US Citizens to participate in the Arctic Council meetings. To supplement these funds the GCI applies for funds through proposal submissions to take part in specific projects.

The following are present members of the GCI Board:

Joe Linklater, Chairperson
P.O. Box 94,
Old Crow, YT YOB 1NO

Bonnie Thomas
P O Box 332
332 Airport Road
Fort Yukon, AK 99740

Sarah James
P O Box 51
5th House from Airport Road
Arctic Village, AK 99722

Ernest Erick
P O Box 81006
6th House Down from Old Airport Road
Venetie, AK 99781

Mike Peter
P O Box 126
126 East Airport Road
Fort Yukon, AK 99740

Executive Director

Grant Sullivan
Gwich’in Council International
P.O. Box 3106
Inuvik, NWT X0E 0T0

Phone: (867) 777-3782
Fax: (867) 777-3783

GCI Involvement with the Arctic Council

Old Crow, Mary Jane Moses photo

As members of the Gwich’in Council International (GCI), Gwich’in Nations ensure that all Gwich’in people from the Northwest Territories to the Yukon and Alaska are represented at meetings of the Arctic Council. As a Permanent Participant to the Arctic Council, the GCI receives funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. This funding provides Canadian GCI members with the opportunity to participate effectively in the Arctic Council and its working groups. The US State Department in Alaska provides funding through the Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat (IPS) to support GCI Board members who are US citizens with the means to attend the Arctic Council meetings.

GCI involvement extends beyond attendance at the Senior Arctic Officials and ministerial meetings of the Arctic Council. GCI members also participate in the working groups related to the Arctic Monitoring Assessment Program, the Arctic Human Development Report, and the Arctic Climate Impacts Assessment working groups which the members determine to be of most significant to the Gwich’in Nation in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alaska. The GCI brings the Gwich’in people together with other nations to discuss important issues that will affect indigenous peoples living in the circumpolar Arctic.

The Arctic Council was created in 1996 with the purpose of advancing circumpolar cooperation. The mandate of the Council is to protect the arctic environment and promote the economies and the social and cultural well-being of northern peoples. The Council is made up of eight member states that include Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark (Greenland), Finland, Sweden and the United States (Alaska). The Chair of the Arctic Council rotates among the member countries every two years.

The Arctic Council involves international indigenous peoples’ organizations as Permanent Participants. These organizations include the Gwich’in Council International, the Arctic Athapaskan Council, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, and the Aleut International Association. Observers to the Arctic Council come from several non-arctic states and from non-governmental and international organizations.

The Arctic Council has six working groups: Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG), Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), Emergency Prevention Preparedness and Response working group (EPPR), Protection of Arctic Marine Environment working group (PAME), and Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP).

Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), an international project of the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), evaluates and synthesizes knowledge on climate variability, climate change, and increased ultraviolet radiation and their consequences.