My grandparents are Simeon and Susan Patkotak and Jim and Molly Pederson; my parents are Crawford and Laura Patkotak; all from different parts of our region but more permanently from Barrow. Like we were raised, my wife Flora Atqaqsaaq Patkotak and I are raising our two children to be rooted deeply in our Inupiaq culture and traditions of hunting, gathering, and whaling. We do these things in a modern world, understanding that these things now cost money to pursue. To preserve and continue our Inupiaq way of life, we need economic freedom along with local control and self-determination.
And that is my why – the reason I have thrown my hat in the ring. Our people’s future is my motivation of getting involved at the next level – at the state leadership level. When I say “at the next level” I am referencing my experience thus far in tribal, village corporation, and regional government work.
I am 26 years old and I have served my community in different capacities over the last 10 years starting with getting involved as an Alaska Federation of Natives youth delegate for the Arctic Slope Region. Since then I have served in many different arenas including an Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope council-member and an Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation board of director. I now serve as a Barrow Utilities & Electric Cooperative, Inc., board member and also as a North Slope Borough Assembly member. All in effort to pursue best outcomes to issues such as the high cost of living, resource development, game-management, land access, utility services and more.
It is the experiences of working in those governing bodies that I plan to leverage for the best interest of House District 40. I will do this while remaining focused on preserving and maintaining our Inupiaq way of life.
Growing up in a whaling family, you don’t get the choice to be involved, it’s happening in your living room whether you like it or not. I am thankful for that, and humbled to be a part of a culture and lifestyle that is centered around taking care of each other. That’s what I plan to do to the best of my ability as your House District 40 Representative. Quyanaqpak!