Shelly Wade, AICP, Principal Owner, Agnew::Beck Consulting
Unmet Needs of Environmentally Threatened Alaska Native Village: Assessment and Recommendations
Originally from North Pole, Alaska, Shelly is a skilled facilitator, AICP-certified planner and public engagement lead who excels at executing multi-faceted stakeholder engagement processes. She has successfully managed hundreds of planning projects across Alaska and the Mountain West, convening Tribal, municipal, regional, state, and federal partners to identify common goals and priorities that contribute to increased resilience and quality of life of in over 100 communities and organizations in Alaska and the Lower 48. Shelly has acted as the Tribal Administrator for the Native Village of Chenega in Prince William Sound and is currently providing Tribal Administrative Services to the Native Village of Iliamna in Bristol Bay. Shelly earned a master’s degree in community and economic development and sociology from Illinois State University’s Peace Corps Fellows Program and bachelor’s degree from University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is the President of the Alaska Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA). In June 2022, Shelly and her colleague Sherwin Racehorse successfully led a petition to establish the Tribal and Indigenous Division of the American Planning Association. She and Mr. Racehorse serve as the division’s Interim Co-Chairs.
In her presentation on March 10, 2023, Ms. Wade will share an overview of the process for developing the report, Unmet Needs of Environmentally Threatened Alaska Native Villages: Assessment and Recommendations. The report, produced as the culmination of a 2-year engagement process in which Agnew::Beck led engagement and communications, communicates to Congress, the Biden Administration, and relevant federal agency leadership the voices and vision of the most environmentally impacted communities and regions of Alaska. It aims to inform Federal funding decisions and improve the delivery of services to rural Alaska communities facing climate change impacts. In her presentation, Ms. Wade will share the primary recommendations in the report and the proposed framework for how Tribal and Indigenous leaders will continue to work with their federal and state partners to lead and advise report recommendations focused on assessing risk, climate adaptation and mitigation planning, and management of related capital projects.
“Instead of being seen as an asset to the United States of America, it feels like we are ignored by federal agencies. We are excluded. We have been declined funding to replace threatened homes, our preschool, and our fuel tank farm. Our community already faces extreme overcrowding—the Killanak family has 17 people living in an 800-square foot home. More people cannot abandon their homes and move in with relatives. Our pre-school is taught entirely in the Yup’ik language—it should be a national treasure! If the tank farm fails, it will pollute the river, a main food source for our entire community. I feel defeated. We need agencies to value us, our culture, the way we live, and to prioritize our community.”
“It’s important that communities lead the efforts that affect them. Kivalina very successfully completed the construction of an evacuation road, because we led this project. Our local knowledge was critical to informing the design and construction of the road. We led many meetings in which we reviewed maps and provided our local expertise and guidance on where the road could successfully be built and what sensitive areas should be avoided, including areas the subsistence hunters wanted to avoid. Many times in the past we have been subject to government agencies doing things without consultation or listening to us. Funds were spent by agencies developing a project that benefited them, but which didn’t benefit Kivalina. It’s so important that we be listened to. Through our traditional knowledge, we protect our natural resources and use them to the benefit of our community. Planning and community development projects work best when we can lead using our traditional knowledge, and government agencies provide us with the technical support and resources we need.”
-Unmet Needs Report workshop participants
This session will be online only; you can register for Zoom information here.
This series is presented thanks in part to the generous support of the Louis B. Wetmore Endowment Fund, which provides resources to bring planning practitioners to our department where they interact with students and faculty.