Rochelle Adams is a new PRSA Alaska member and recently joined First Alaskans Institute, a statewide Native non-profit, as the Indigenous communications manager. Rochelle is Gwich’in from the interior villages of Beaver and Fort Yukon. Her parents are Angela Peter-Mayo and Clifford Adams Jr. Rochelle’s maternal grandparents are the late Susan and Johnny Peter Sr. Her paternal grandparents are Hannah “Babe” and the late Clifford Adams Sr. Rochelle was raised in a traditional Athabascan lifestyle of hunting, fishing and gathering. She currently resides in Anchorage with her three children Leeyadaakhan, Koso and Amaya.

Of her unique title, Rochelle says, “At the First Alaskans Institute, we have the unique opportunity to indigenize the way that we communicate both within our organization and externally to our statewide community and beyond. This allows us to break away from the Western mold of communication and to create and build relationships based around our own knowledge systems and ways of being. The framework that we have created in our strategic planning is centered around the rich value system of Alaska Native people such as utilizing and putting into practice the value of integrity, respect, Native knowledge and responsibility.”

Rochelle attended school at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she explored her creativity and developed her design skills. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), with a focus on Native art and Native languages. Rochelle is currently completing a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from the UAF with an emphasis on Native language education. She has been devoted to language revitalization work as both a learner and teacher. She currently sits on the Doyon Language Committee and teaches Gwich’in language on the weekends at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Rochelle most recently worked for the Anchorage School District’s Title VII Indian Education department where she was the Cultural Enrichment Specialist.

About the #MeetPRSA feature: The diversity, membership and board development committees have joined forces to periodically feature PRSA Alaska Chapter members and volunteers in an effort to highlight the strengths and expertise of members.