Vera was born and raised in Savoonga (Sivungaq) on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. Since 2002, Vera has been the Director of the Eskimo Walrus Commission (EWC) at Kawerak, Inc., which represents 19 coastal Alaskan communities in areas such as promoting community involvement in research, documenting Indigenous Knowledge, and co-management of the Pacific walrus population.
Vera represents EWC in various forums, including the Indigenous People’s Council on Marine Mammals. Vera is a Special Advisor on Native Affairs on the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, an Advisory Panel member of the North Pacific Research Board, a Steering Committee member for the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, a committee member on the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program/University of Alaska and the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences/UAF, and a member of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Executive Committee and Alaska board.
Vera is also the Bering Strait Commissioner for the U.S. Department of State, facilitating travel for Indigenous residents between Chukotka, Russia and the Bering Strait region of Alaska. Vera is a strong advocate for the subsistence lifestyles of Arctic Indigenous peoples and passionate about strengthening Indigenous languages and cultures.