Johnny L. Aiken was the AEWC Executive Director from 2010 - 2013. He dedicated most of his life to public service and the betterment of his community through his work on the North Slope. He started as a carpenter in his early career, traveling to Anaktuvuk Pass for several projects, and later building a home for this family. He was a special assistant to multiple mayors at the North Slope Borough; he was the Director of Planning, and served as the Executive Director of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. His  passion was to be able to hunt and provide for the community and ensure that we could all continue subsistence whaling. Johnny spent his entire life with a successful Aiken Crew, service as Co-Captain along with his father, Jonathan Aiken, Sr.

Johnny was a natural teacher. He taught others about the Inupiaq culture. Camping and whaling were not just an opportunity for him to provide for his family. He embraced the proverb: "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime." His nieces and nephews didn't have to ask him about subsistence, he showed them. He always had room for one more in the tent, or two more in the boat. More importantly, he always took the time, and he made it a priority to pass down his traditional knowledge. He also encouraged his staff to participate in subsistence activities so they would better understand the importance of our subsistence way of life.

Johnny lived his life with integrity and was completely devoted to his family and community. With an easy smile and generous heart, he welcomed all he met with warmness and made them a part of his family.

Through the Johnny L. Aiken Memorial Scholarship, his name and legacy of giving back to the community and passing along traditional knowledge to youth will live on for generations to come.

To contribute to the scholarship fund, please mail checks to:

Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission
Attn: Johnny L. Aiken Memorial Scholarship
P.O. Box 570
Barrow, Alaska 99723


Applications may be downloaded below. Scholarship awards are subject to the availability of funds.

Johnny L. Aiken Memorial Scholarship Application & Guidelines


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Stephen & Cynthia Merriam

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Fouad & Nancy Azzam