Alaska Native leader Caleb Pungowiyi, a fighter for his people, died today.
He was 69.
A Yup'ik Eskimo from Savoonga village on St. Lawrence Island, Pungowiyi was former president of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference and the Robert Aqqaluk Newlin Sr. Memorial Trust. During his lifetime, he held numerous other positions that helped give Inupiat a voice in state, national and world affairs.
"Caleb was a humble man who worked quietly, but tirelessly, to make a positive difference in the lives of the Iñupiat," said Marie Greene, chief executive of NANA Regional Corp, in a prepared statement. "His leadership and friendship will be greatly missed in our region and in indigenous communities around the Arctic."
To name a few of his other posts during his life, Pungowiyi served on the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs Advisory Committee, the Marine Mammal Commission's Special Advisor on Native Affairs and the Steering Committee of the Alaska Native Science Commission.
A memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church of Anchorage at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 30. The church is located at the intersection of 10 and L.
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