Keynote Address By John Quniaq Baker
John Quniaq Baker was born, raised, and lives in Kotzebue. A dog musher, pilot and motivational speaker, he enjoys living and training in Arctic Alaska. John has always been eager to learn from Inupiat elders about the land and animals – especially dogs. He has applied this knowledge drawn from his Native heritage, while also developing his own innovative techniques that reflect the ingenuity and adaptability of his people, who have lived in the Arctic for thousands of years.
Baker has spent the past twelve years visiting schools in rural Alaska where he speaks about establishing a dream, and pursuing it. His focus is “dream, try, win,” and he illustrates his program with stories of personal triumph — and failure — and how to turn both into opportunity.
Baker entered his first Iditarod Sled Dog Race in 1996. He has completed sixteen Iditarod races with twelve finishes in the Top Ten and two in third place. This year he became the first Alaska Native musher to win the Iditarod since 1976.