Benjamin Jacuk

A man wearing black smiling holding a carved traditional paddle of the Sugpiaq.

Benjamin Jacuk-Dolchok—Community Voice

Benjamin Jacuk-Dolchok (Dena’ina Athabascan, Sugpiaq) is the Unguwat Program Manager and Indigenous Researcher at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage. Jacuk became the first Alaska Native to speak at a World Council of Churches assembly, as he did at the recent 2022 Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany speaking out against the church-run Boarding Schools, Doctrine of Discovery, and ecological matters. Jacuk’s main focus in his current work is research into boarding schools in Alaska. A specialist in this research, he also acknowledges its very personal nature for him, as his grandfather attended boarding schools growing up. Jacuk, an enrolled member of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, said his mother reinforced Alaska Native values in him. Jacuk went on to master’s degrees from Princeton Seminary (M.Div. and Th.M.). He was just the second Alaska Native or American Indian person to graduate from Princeton Seminary. Ben has worked with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and he helped edit the apology the Presbyterian Church made at the 2016 Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention for its past treatment of Alaska Native people, and especially for abuses in boarding schools. Benjamin Jacuk was recently announced as the winner of the 2022 Alaska Young Professional of the Year award. He also carves traditional paddles of the Sugpiaq, taught to him by his grandfather, helping revitalize the art form.