Board of Directors

Ethel Blake, Chair

Ethel Blake is the Chair and Head of Delegation for Gwich’in Council International (GCI), as well as the representative to the Arctic Human Health Expert Committee.

She is Métis from Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories. Growing up, Ethel lived both on the land and in Fort McPherson. On the land, traditional knowledge and practice was passed down from her Jijuu (Grandmother), a well-known traditional medicine woman.  These experiences and teachings, have given Ethel a great respect for the land, plants, and animals that sustain Gwich’in/Métis, which she brings to her work, striving to ensure traditional knowledge is incorporated to programs, while learning from scientific research.

Ethel has decades of experience with Indigenous organizations, such as the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and the Gwich’in Tribal Council. She currently serves as the Manager of Health and Wellness Promotion within the Aboriginal Health and Community Wellness Division (Government of the Northwest Territories), where she promotes healthy lifestyles and community wellness. 

Edward Alexander (Alaska)

Ed Alexander is Gwich’yaa Gwich’in from Fort Yukon, Alaska. He is passionate about his language and ensuring that the next generation has access to quality educational opportunities rooted in their language and culture. He advances this goal, in the classroom and by working to provide Gwich’in language resources to the communities, which he has done in his capacity as a teacher, principal, and language coordinator; currently employed as the Yukon Flats Centre Coordinator at the University of Alaska (Fairbanks) and to co-chairman of Gwich’in Council International.

Sam Alexander (Alaska)

Sam Alexander is a board member at Gwich’in Council International. Sam grew up in Fort Yukon, Alaska where his father was the traditional chief of the Gwichyaa Gwich’in Tribe of Northern Alaska. He spent much of his childhood exploring the Yukon Flats and the Northeastern Brooks Range, living the traditional Gwich’in lifestyle as was taught to him by the elders of his tribe.

Sam graduated from the United States Military Academy and spent ten years as a US Army officer, leaving as a Major in the US Army Special Forces (Green Berets). Following his time in the Army, Sam graduated from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, he became the co-founder and CEO of Latitude six-six, where he takes people on incredible expeditions to showcase his home. In addition to guiding, Sam is a full time faculty member at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Program.

Joe Linklater (Yukon)

Joe Linklater is a seasoned political leader and program manager with considerable experience in building and implementing public policy and First Nation self-governance. He has been a Board Member of GCI since its inception and held the position of Chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation from 1998 to 2010.

Joe has contributed to successful intergovernmental relations at the federal, provincial and inter-provincial levels and is well known for his significant expertise in establishing and overseeing economic development initiatives and trust structures. Joe is unwavering in his long-standing commitment to working for his community and has assisted in establishing a number of community volunteer groups. He continues to be an effective advocate of the ongoing political evolution and advancement of self-governance of First Nations, often in partnership with other self-governing First Nations and other orders of government. He holds a diploma in First Nation Management.

Evon Peter (Alaska)

Evon Peter is Neetsaii Gwich’in and Koyukon from Vashraii K’oo (Arctic Village), Alaska, where he previously served as tribal Chief. In addition to his service on the GCI Board, he serves as vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Evon manages six community campuses and sixty workforce development, bridging, academic, and student services programs that serve 160 communities across Alaska. These include programs at the certificate to doctoral level in Indigenous Studies and research. His personal work has focused on incorporating Indigenous knowledge and practices into healing, leadership development, and most recently Alaska Native language programs. He holds a baccalaureate degree in Alaska Native studies and a masters degree in rural development.

Jordan Peterson (NWT)

Jordan Peterson is the Vice-President of Gwich’in Tribal Council, which has responsibility over lands, waters, and resources in the Gwich’in Settlement Area and represents the rights and interests of beneficiaries of the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement. He is also a board member of Gwich’in Council International.

Raised in Aklavik, Jordan has dedicated himself to his community through his professional experience at Gwich’in Tribal Council and in his volunteer role as Co-Chair of Our Voices, an Indigenous emerging leaders’ collective which promotes, encourages and implements work for young Indigenous people in the north. Jordan is currently a Jane Glassco Northern Fellow.