Merle Apassingok was born in Kotzebue, Alaska and raised in Gambell (Sivuqaq) on St. Lawrence Island (Sivuqaq), Alaska. Merle had been a crew member on his father’s walrus skinboat since he was a young child, and eventually became a striker, where he successfully harpooned three bowhead whales. Merle and his brother John Apassingok were the last registered whaling captains (AEWC) to sail for whales in a walrus skinboat on April 16, 2010.
Since 2011, Merle has been a Commissioned Pastor at Gambell Presbyterian Church. Merle and his wife Rhona Apassingok have been Bering Air Village Agents since June of 2000.
In his time with SEARCH and among his many other responsibilities, Merle co-produced an essay entitled “Moving to the Back of the Boat: How a new approach to Arctic research can help us better understand and respond to environmental change,” published in Arctic Today.
Affiliation: Gambell, Alaska
- Co-Production Team Member, Drivers & Ecological Consequences of Arctic Change