Samuel Schimmel

Kenaitze/St. Lawrence Island Siberian Yupik

Sam is an Alaska Native youth who spends part of his year as one of only two Native students in his urban Seattle school. The remainder of his year is spent with family in rural Alaskan villages.

In Alaska, Sam’s passion for subsistence hunting and fishing keeps him connected to tradition and infuses his efforts to combat issues like suicide, drug abuse, and cultural disconnectedness. Having seen the effects of climate change in Alaska firsthand, Sam is also an avid environmentalist, working to raise awareness of its effects on tribal communities.

"Losing or not having tradition leaves an empty space that gets filled too often with poor choices. If we are listening to our elders, dancing, drumming, hunting, and picking berries, we are not drinking or doing drugs, and our traditions stay strong."