Ilarion Merculieff had a traditional upbringing and a Western education, earning a BA from the University of Washington. He has served as chair of the indigenous knowledge sessions of the Global Summit of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change, as cofounder of the Indigenous People’s Council for Marine Mammals, the Alaska Forum for the Environment, the International Bering Sea Forum for the Environment, and the Alaska Oceans Network. He is currently President of the Global Center for Indigenous Leadership and Lifeways. He is the author of Wisdom Keeper, One Man’s Journey to Honor the Untold History of the Unangan People –this book is focused on the wisdom he has learned locally, nationally and internationally from elders and others from different cultures through the lens of his life experiences and he is the co-author of Stop Talking-Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning and Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education.
Currently, Merculieff is an independent consultant and is working on projects related to the resilience of rural Alaskan communities, assessing the academic needs of Alaska-based wildlife co-management organizations. Merculieff is also contracted by the College of the Menominee Nation to work with the Great Lakes tribes seeking to develop culturally based adaptation strategies to facing climate changes. Having had a traditional upbringing, Merculieff has been, and continues to be, a strong voice advocating for the meaningful application of traditional knowledge and wisdom of indigenous elders in Alaska and throughout the world when dealing with modern day challenges.