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., working with communities in the promotion of community involvement in research, documentation of local traditional ecological knowledge, and co-management of the Pacific walrus population.
Vera represents the EWC in various forums, including the Indigenous People’s Council on Marine Mammals, the Arctic Marine Mammal Coalition, and the Arctic Waterways Safety Committee. Vera is a Commissioner on the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, an Advisory Panel member of the North Pacific Research Board, a Steering Committee member for the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, Special Advisor on Native Affairs for the Marine Mammal Commission, and a member of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Executive Committee.
Vera is also a Commissioner for the U.S. Department of State, facilitating travel between Chukotka, Russia and the Bering Straits region of Alaska. Vera is a strong advocate for the subsistence lifestyles of Alaska Native peoples, and passionate about strengthening Alaska Native languages and cultures.