Founder

Honoring Robert Aqqaluk Newlin Sr.

When an Iñupiaq person becomes educated and understands his identity, he can play a vital role and become a leader. He can engage and participate in legal matters. There is nothing bad about this […] Although the Iñupiat have adopted Western ways through education, academic achievements, and enters into the workforce, it is for oneself. Yet since the beginning, the Elders always knew to help each other.

-- Robert Aqqaluk Newlin Sr. Excerpt from Kobuk Spirit Program, November 20, 1981

Born and raised in Northwest Alaska, Robert Newlin dedicated his life to preserving the culture and the land of the Iñupiat. He also worked to build healthy families and restore dignity and hope to a people battling many social challenges. Under Robert Newlin's leadership, Iñupiat Ilitqusiat -- the Spirit Program -- was formed, a program oriented toward maintaining traditional values in a modern world. Robert recognized that in a order to survive in the changing world, young people must not only have a strong cultural identity, but must also be educated and well prepared for jobs and careers. Robert always encouraged young people to continue with their education and to bring their skills and knowledge back to their people.