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Barbara 'Wáahlaal Gidaag Blake

Vice President, Arctic Conservation
Dzántik’i Héeni (Juneau) on Lingít Aaní

Barbara ‘Wáahlaal Gidaag Blake is the Vice President, Arctic Conservation at Ocean Conservancy.

She is from Prince of Wales Island and currently lives in Dzántik’i Héeni (Juneau) on Lingít Aaní. ‘Wáahlaal Gidaag is of Haida, Tlingit and Ahtna Athabascan descent and belongs to the Káat nay-st/Yahkw Jáanaas (Shark House/Middle Town People) Clan. She is the daughter of Sandra Demmert (Yahkw Jáanaas) and Kenneth Johnson (Naltsiina), and the granddaughter of Frances Demmert Peele (Yahkw Jáanaas), Franklin Demmert, Sr. (L’eeneidi), Irene Johnson (Naltsiina) Walter Johnson (Norwegian), and mother to two amazing kids.

She previously served as the Senior Director of the Alaska Native Policy Center with First Alaskans Institute, where she promoted the self-determination of Alaska Native peoples through strengthening opportunities for Indigenous voices to be at the forefront of leading, solving, confronting and advocating for Indigenous communities. She also sits on the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly as an elected city official and on the Sealaska Board of Directors. She received her master’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Rural Development focusing her thesis on Fisheries Development in Rural Alaska.

She received her undergraduate degree(s) at UAF with a BA in Rural Economic Development and an AA in Tribal Management. She also holds certificates in Indianpreneurship, Tribal Business Law and First Nations Futures Program from Onaben, Seattle University School of Law and Stanford University.

‘Wáahlaal Gidaag formerly served as Director of Native Relations and fish/game staffer for Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. She spent two sessions in the legislature working with Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon and Senator Albert Kookesh. She also served as Government Affairs Liaison for The Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and tenure track Assistant Professor for the Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In addition, ‘Wáahlaal Gidaag has worked as a Technical Assistant Specialist for Intertribal Agriculture Council and Program Assistant in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Office of Tribal Relations.

She is a member of the Woosh.ji.een Dancers, Xaadaas Dagwii Dancers, Alaska Native Sisterhood, Polynesian Voyage Society and the Heinyaa Kwaan Dancers.

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