Safeguarding Indigenous Heritage: Memory, Identity, and Climate Resilience at the Nunalleq Archaeological Site in Alaska

A Heritage Speaks Event

Join Villa Albertine and World Monuments Fund (WMF) for the inaugural Heritage Speaks event.

On March 27, Heritage Speaks will begin with an in-depth look at the rapid climate-induced erosion destroying the Nunalleq archaeological site in Alaska. Drawing from WMF's experience at other Indigenous heritage places in North America, the program will explore preservation efforts at this crucially important site for the Yup’ik community.

The panel will include Villa Albertine resident Claire Houmard, Director of the French archaeological mission in Alaska, Université de Franche-Comté; Rick Knecht, Lead Archaeologist, Nunalleq Archaeological Project, University of Aberdeen; Lynn M. Church, Representative of the Yupi’k community and CEO of Nalaquq, LLC ; and Ann Cuss, Regional Director, North America at WMF.

The discussion will be moderated by Jonathan S. Bell, Vice President of Programs at WMF.

Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Time: 6:00 pm ET
Location: Villa Albertine Headquarters, 972 Fifth Avenue, New York, US 10075

This event has already taken place. 


About the Speakers

Claire Houmard

Director of the French Archaeological Mission in Alaska, Université de Franche-Comté and Villa Albertine Resident

An archeologist and junior professor at the University of Franche-Comté, Claire Houmard is involved in the Inter-Arctic and PaleoCet ANR projects. She received her PhD as part of a co-supervised program between the University of Paris-Nanterre, France, and Laval in Quebec, Canada. Winner of two thesis prizes (CIEC and Chancellerie des Université de Paris), she has also completed many postdoctoral degrees (Fyssen Foundation, MQB-JC, Labex PasP, Carlsberg Foundation) and carried out extensive research in Paris and Nanterre, and then in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Besançon, France. As a Villa Albertine resident, she is conducting the “Yup’ik” project, which is supported by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and Villa Albertine. 

Rick Knecht

Lead Archaeologist, Nunalleq Archaeological Project, University of Aberdeen

Dr. Richard Knecht has been conducting archaeological research in Alaska since 1983. He lived and worked on Kodiak Island and the Aleutian Islands and was founding director of the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository on Kodiak and the Museum of the Aleutians in Unalaska. Dr. Knecht is currently a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and has been leading the Nunalleq Archaeological Project in Quinhagak, Alaska since 2009 and is the founding director of the Nunalleq Culture Center and Museum there. 

Lynn M. Church

CEO of Nulaquq, LLC

Lynn M. Church is a member of the Yupi’k community and CEO of Nalaquq, LLC, a company founded in 2022 aiming to bring knowledge and technological expertise from the Nunalleq archaeological project to other projects in Alaska. Lynn is involved in the Nunalleq archaeological project, in association with the University of Aberdeen, the Universtié de Franche-Comté, and the Anchorage Museum.

Ann Cuss

Regional Director, North America at WMF

Ann joined World Monuments Fund as Regional Director of North America in 2021. Her work encompasses all aspects of cultural heritage for a variety of public, private, and government partnerships with a particular focus on public lands. Ann’s professional role is multifaceted and involves a mix of performing on-site condition assessments, hands on-treatments, and training young emerging historic preservation professionals in the care of historic materials. She coordinates multidisciplinary teams of tradespeople, architects, historians, and stakeholders for a holistic preservation approach. 

Jonathan S. Bell

Vice President of Programs at WMF

Dr. Bell came to World Monuments Fund from the National Geographic Society, where he oversaw a large portfolio of projects that included archaeological research and cultural heritage. Over the course of his career, he worked with the Getty Conservation Institute on World Heritage Sites in China and Egypt, evaluated cultural site management from Kazakhstan to Colombia, and oversaw strategic planning for large-scale flood infrastructure for the County of Los Angeles. Dr. Bell serves on multiple ICOMOS scientific committees as an expert member and sits on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Architectural Conservation. He holds a B.A. from Harvard University, a D.E.A from the Sorbonne, an M.Sc. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from UCLA. 

About Heritage Speaks

Villa Albertine and World Monuments Fund present Heritage Speaks, a series of public debates revealing the various threats facing cultural heritage sites across the globe today. From climate change and mass tourism to the damage resulting from armed conflicts, this series aims to unpack the challenges facing historic sites and the best preservation solutions emerging among experts and local communities.

Heritage Speaks is organized with the support of Albertine Foundation.