Oliver Leavitt – Legendary Whaling Captain
Oliver Aveogan Leavitt was an influential Inupiat leader on Alaska’s North Slope who worked to empower his people and their land. He served as treasurer of Arctic Slope Native Association as well as being appointed to Alaska’s Local Boundary Commission and U.S. Arctic Research commissions.
He has served on the ASRC board of directors since its formation. Additionally, he hunts bowhead whales each spring and fall. Additionally, he volunteers his services with Barrow’s Search and Rescue.
Early Life and Education
Oliver Aveogan Leavitt was an esteemed whaling captain and Alaska Native leader known for his community service and dedication. Additionally, he was widely-admired as an Alaska Native skin boat builder devoted to advocating on their behalf for all their needs.
Leavitt worked for the Pacific Steam Whaling Company and in Alaskan camps and villages along its Arctic coast during World War II. Following her return, she enrolled at Oberlin College and Harvard’s Society for Collegiate Instruction of Women (now Radcliffe).
Edwin Hubble would later use her work at Harvard Observatory to demonstrate its expansion, thanks to her discoveries that helped set its scale and structure. Edwin Hubble later acknowledged her contributions which helped establish modern astronomy. Her pioneering efforts paved the way for modern astronomy research.
Oliver Leavitt was an Alaska Native leader who strived to make life easier for Inupiat Eskimos, as indicated in his obituary. He served 24 years as treasurer for Arctic Slope Regional Native Corporation before becoming a member of Alaska Federation of Natives from 1971-1999 and U.S. Arctic Research Commission.
Hensley described Cohan as an all-round talent in show business; an actor, composer, singer-dancer and theatrical producer as well as son of famed Broadway star George M. Cohan.
After nine years in Los Angeles, Kuhlmann relocated back to St. Louis in 1995 in order to establish an additional office for her employer – Santa Monica-based Douglas Oliver Design Office (now Oliver Kuhlmann). Oliver Kuhlmann now offers multiple services such as architecture, brand strategy and print services.
Achievement and Honors
Oliver Leavitt was one of Alaska’s most influential Native leaders. He played an essential part in creating North Slope Borough and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation while fulfilling land use needs of 8,500 shareholders while simultaneously balancing subsistence concerns with economic development opportunities. On March 11, hundreds gathered at Barrow High School gym to commemorate Oliver Leavitt.
According to the First Alaskans Institute, he was a revered leader who always put the needs and interests of his community before himself. He served as treasurer of Arctic Slope Native Association for 24 years as well as board member at Alaska Federation of Natives from 1971- 1999.
He co-founded Seattle film company Mechanical Dreams, producing cinematic content using emerging and traditional technologies. Additionally, he was producer, director, and actor in both virtual reality films Eagle Bone and Little Potato.
Oliver, a subsistence hunter and caribou skinner, strikes a delicate balance between his executive life and traditional Inupiat values. While he relishes everything the Arctic environment has to offer him, he knows this inhospitable landscape requires development efforts for sustained habitation.
Leavitt has been an essential member of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation’s board since its formation in 1972, serving both as chairman of the board and vice president for government affairs, representing ASRC’s 8,500 Inupiaq Eskimos who own it to Alaska state legislators and policymakers as well as policymakers in Washington D.C.
As a leader, he is dedicated to satisfying the land use demands of ASRC shareholders while safeguarding Alaska’s ecosystems. He believes Alaska can use its resources in ways that benefit its people.
Oliver Leavitt was an outstanding public servant and leader for Alaska’s villages. He founded Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and has served on its board ever since its creation, while also contributing to Alaska Native Foundation and serving on their board of trustees.
As Umailik of the Oliver Leavitt Crew, he ensures that its whaling vessel is secure, its harpoons sharp and oiled, its snow machines well maintained, food supplies stocked up in advance of harvest, enough floats are built and enough of them distributed among communities around Alaska according to age-old traditions.
At Washington, he represented his people by lobbying for legislation to amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and by seeking to balance Iupiat ties and duties to land with economic development opportunities.