UIC Science appoints Martin Edwardsen as Arctic ITEK Specialist

Martin Edwardsen, UIC Science ITEK SpecialistResearchers working in the Arctic have long depended on local guides to navigate the environment successfully and safely. The Iñupiat people of Alaska’s northernmost region still engage in traditional activities of their ancestors, informed by thousands of years of observation and practice for surviving in the harsh conditions of the Arctic. 

UIC Science, a subsidiary Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC), provides today’s researchers with that same logistical and culturally informed guidance. It now has a dedicated Arctic Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK) Specialist on staff.  

Martin Edwardsen has extensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna, seasonal cycles and weather patterns of the region. His expertise in traditional practices includes hunting, fishing, gathering, traditional technologies, and materials used for clothing, shelter, and transportation.  

“ITEK is so critical to understanding any Arctic research,” said Terri Mitchell, UIC Science general manager. “We’re encouraging researchers to incorporate ITEK throughout their projects, from the beginning stages to completion.” 

In fact, there’s new commitment at the federal level to recognize and include ITEK in federal research, policy, and decision-making. A November 2022 guidance document for federal departments and agencies outlines ways to do so. 

Terri Mitchell expects to see more grant-funded research that formalizes ITEK as a component. UIC Science developed the position of Arctic ITEK Specialist to support clients in this new and exciting component of research.

Martin Edwardsen was perfect for the role. Scientists conducting Arctic research already know him in his previous capacity as operations manager for UIC Science. In addition to his extensive ecological knowledge, he is a member of a highly respected and successful whaling crew and an active member of the North Slope volunteer search and rescue. Edwardsen also represents the Arctic Region as a member of the North Pacific Research Advisory Panel. 

Researchers are encouraged to get in touch with Martin for: 

  • ITEK input on grant proposals
  • Coordination with community members for community-based observation networks
  • ITEK input during the project planning phase
  • ITEK input during a stay in Utqiaġvik

Get in touch with Martin 


More about UIC Science 

UIC Science is a subsidiary of Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC), Utqiaġvik’s Alaska Native Village Corporation. It provides logistical coordination for dozens of visiting researchers and media groups each year. It also runs the Barrow Arctic Research Center (BARC), a state-of-the-art facility located on Iñupiaq lands.