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July 21, 2014

UAA alumnus named Tribal Member of the Year

UAA alumnus Hans Uyagaatchiaq Hansen was named the Tribal Member of the Year by the Native Village of Kotzebue. The federally-recognized tribal government represents the Qikiktagrukmiut, the original inhabitants of the area of northwest Alaska surrounding Qikiktagruk, modern-day Kotzebue.

Hans Hansen was named Tribal Member of the Year by the Native Village of Kotzebue.
Hans Hansen was named Tribal Member of the Year by the
Native Village of Kotzebue.
The tribal council nominated and selected Hansen for his contributions to the tribe and the community as a provider of health care services.

Hansen graduated cum laude from the UAA Community & Technical College in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the Department of Health, Physical Education & Recreation. Following graduation, he attended Pacific University where he obtained his doctoral degree in physical therapy.

His decision to return to his home village of Kotzebue was motivated by his desire to give back to the community that supported him while he pursued his undergraduate and graduate education.

“It is true that local providers who are born and raised are few and far between,” said Hansen. “I hope to inspire other Alaska Native and local Alaskans to get an education and to return home to give back to their communities.”

Hansen currently works for Maniilaq Association, a tribally-operated, nonprofit, health and social services organization. As one of the village’s own, he is able to provide care that is both medically and culturally relevant to his patients.

Hans Hansen's certificate of recognition for Tribal Member of the Year.
A photograph of Hans Hansen's certificate of recognition
for Tribal Member of the Year.
In addition to his profession, Hansen also finds other ways to give back to the community. After being named Tribal Member of the Year, he was elected to a three-year term on the tribal council. An athlete who formerly competed in high school and one year of college wrestling, he now volunteers coaching community youth in this sport.

In his free time Hansen enjoys dog mushing and hunting with friends and community members. He also continues to invest in his alma mater, serving on the Department of Health, Physical Education & Recreation Advisory Committee.

Congratulations on your success, Hans!

Story by Clarice Dickess, Grants and Research Specialist, UAA Community & Technical College.