Arctic Funders Collaborative
The Arctic Funders Collaborative is a small network of philanthropic funders investing in the Arctic to support and contribute to the collaborative efforts needed for Arctic communities, cultures and ecosystems to thrive. Explore our website to learn more about our collaborative activities and our community of Northern grantmakers
Announcements and Updates from our Team
With great sadness, Arctic Funders Collaborative would like to take a moment a honour the passing of Lene Kielsen of Greenland. A tribute from our members and staff from the Arctic Funders Collaborative
One of the most rewarding parts of supporting Indigenous-led research and conservation in the Arctic are the inspiring people who share their knowledge and time to showcase why the region and its peoples are so unique. One of those people was Lene Kielsen Holm, who sadly passed away recently on January 10, 2021. I have followed Lene’s career as a research scientist and knowledge holder for decades. Throughout her career, Lene contributed in many ways to uplifting Indigenous knowledge, resource management, and garnered the trust and admiration of many friends, communities, and colleagues along the way.
On the last trip the AFC took together to Greenland, we all had the honor to meet Lene and learn more about her interests and work, particularly in North Greenland. Out of that meeting, Oak Foundation and the Windrose Fund co-funded a small project to help Lene document and showcase the phenomenal sewing skills and teachings of Toku Oshima in Qaanaaq, Greenland.
Shari Fox, a long time close friend and colleague, collaborated with Lene on the project. The photographs and short video that grew from their time together in Qaanaaq speak volumes about how Lene approached her work and being in communities with those she admired. The project was a natural extension of another research project led by Lene, Toku, and Shari that spanned 11 years and involved over 40 Inuit collaborators from Greenland, Canada, and Alaska, called “The Meaning of Ice”, which resulted in a book project of the same name that was published in English in 2013 and Kalaallisut, Inuktitut, and Inupiaq in 2017. In 2018, “The Meaning of Ice” was awarded the inaugural, prestigious Mohn Prize for “outstanding research related to the Arctic”.
In corresponding with Shari about Lene’s legacy, I think she captured it best when she stated: “Lene will be remembered for her dedication to advancing Inuit knowledge in Arctic research, co-production of knowledge, and Inuit rights and self-determination in relation to research and many other areas. Even more, she will be remembered for her generous and kind spirit. Her work and legacy will live on through many colleagues and students who are forever inspired by her passions.”
Link to Climate Research Center obituary: https://natur.gl/year-en-2/2021-en/memorial-words-for-lene-kielsen-holm-1963-2021/?lang=en
About the Mohn Prize:
Video link to project: https://vimeo.com/336915534
Toku Oshima (far right), Lene Kielsen Holm (second from right), and Shari Fox accept the Mohn Prize on behalf of “The Meaning of Ice” project team in Tromso, Norway, 2018.
Arctic Funders Collaborative Annual Report
Director of AFC, Liz Liske included a message in the report and she shared at the end, "My heart and advocacy is with the Dene (people) and the communities that they represent, which aligns with the AFC's mission and values.
All the work I do is for the next seven generations and together I hope we continue to pave that path for them with connectivity, humility and reciprocity."
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