What is the Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat (IPS)? 

The Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat is a support secretariat for all the Permanent Participants. The Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat assists with creating opportunities for the Permanent Participants to present their causes, and helps provide them with necessary information and materials. 
Since 2016, the IPS office is located in the Fram Centre in Tromso, Norway.

Who takes part? 

The six Arctic Indigenous organizations that hold Permanent Participant status in the Arctic Council form the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat. These are: 

Aleut International Association

AIALogo                                                                                                                           The Aleut International Association (AIA) represents Aleut on the Russian and American Aleutian, Pribilof and Commander Islands.
AIA website
President: Irina Timonkina
Executive Secretary: Liza Mack 

Arctic Athabaskan Council                                                                   

AAC fixed 200px                                                                                                                         

The Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC) is an international treaty organization established to defend the rights and further the interests internationally
of American and Canadian Athabaskan member First Nation governments in the eight-nation Arctic Council and other international fora.
AAC website
International Chair: Chief Bill Erasmus
Executive Secretary: Cindy Dickson

Gwich'in International Council                        

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Gwich’in Council International (GCI) represents 9,000 Gwich’in in the Northwest Territories (NWT), Yukon, and Alaska as a Permanent Participant in the Arctic Council; the only international organization to where Indigenous peoples have a seat at the decision-making table alongside national governments. GCI supports Gwich’in by amplifying our voice on sustainable development and the environment at the international level to support resilient and healthy communities.

GCI website
Chair: Ethel Blake

Inuit Circumpolar Council

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The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) represents approximately 160,000 Inuit in Alaska/United States, Canada, Greenland/Denmark and Chukotka/Russia. Founded in 1977 by the late Eben Hopson Sr. in Barrow, Alaska, the ICC has flourished and grown into a major international indigenous peoples organization.
ICC website
Current Chairmanship: United States (Alaska)
Chair: Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough
ICC Alaska Vice President: James Stotts
ICC Canada Vice President: Monica Ell-Kanayuk
ICC Greenland Vice President: Hjalmar Dahl

Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North 

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RAIPON was founded in 1990 at the First Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the North of USSR. Now RAIPON is the Russian umbrella organization which organizes 35 regional and ethnic organizations of indigenous peoples in the regions where they live. RAIPON represents 41 groups of Indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East. The total number of people is more than 270 thousand and they live in 60 % of the whole territory of the Russian Federation from Murmansk to Kamchatka
RAIPON website
President: Grigory Ledkov
Contact RAIPON

Saami Council


The Saami Council is a voluntary Saami organization (a non–governmental organization), with Saami member organizations in Finland, Russia, Norway and Sweden. Since its foundation in 1956 the Saami Council has actively dealt with Saami policy tasks. For this reason the Saami Council is one of the indigenous peoples’ organizations which have existed longest.
Saami Council website
President: Ms Åsa Larsson Blind



What does IPS do? 

The Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS) was established in 1994 under the guidance of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS). During this time, the category of Permanent Participants (PPs) was being developed for the three Indigenous peoples’ organizations which were observers in the AEPS. The IPS, as recognized in the Ottawa Declaration, is an entity within the Arctic Council Secretariat with its own board, designated budget and work plan and is to perform the following functions:

  • Facilitate the participation of Indigenous Peoples’ organizations in the work of the Arctic Council, assist and provide Secretariat support functions to the Permanent Participants primarily in Arctic Council activities, facilitate and assist the Permanent Participants to prepare and submit proposals relevant to the work of the Arctic Council, facilitate the presentation of the perspectives of Indigenous Peoples in the Council’s Working Groups and in meeting of Senior Arctic Officials and Ministers;
  • Enhance the capacity of the Permanent Participants to pursue the objectives of the Arctic Council, assist the Permanent Participants develop their internal capacity to participate and intervene in the Arctic Council, and assist the Permanent Participants in the furtherance of their activities in relation to participation and full consultation within the Arctic Council, and assist them in how to best make contributions to the Council’s work;
  • Facilitate dialogue and communications among the Permanent Participants and among Permanent Participants and other Arctic Council and related bodies, provide opportunities for co-operative and co-ordinated activities among the Permanent Participants and IPS, facilitate meetings and communication between the Permanent Participants, and facilitate the translation of the communications between the Permanent Participants as far as possible;
  • Support the Permanent Participants in carrying out actions to maintain and promote the sustainable development of Indigenous Peoples cultures in the Arctic;
  • Gather and disseminate information on and provide and list sources of different forms of knowledge,
  • Contribute to raising public awareness of Arctic Council issues through a regularly updated web site and regularly produced newsletters and other publications.

See a list of IPS projects here

How does IPS work? 

A Governing Board approves and directs the work of IPS each year. The Chair of the Governing Board is chosen among the PPs. The official working language of IPS is English. However, to effectively communicate with the Russian Indigenous peoples, communications are in both English and Russian. IPS is headed by an Executive Secretary, who is responsible to the Governing Board for the daily operations of the Secretariat.




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