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Photos: Arctic Imperative Summit 2012

George Noongwook, chairman of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 24, 2012
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Asian investors at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 24, 2012
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Don Hartsell of the World Sky Challenge shares a video with Nancy Murkowski, wife of former U.S. Senator and Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 24, 2012
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President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 24, 2012
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Scott Borgerson, managing director of Cargometrics, talks with U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 24, 2012
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Alice Rogoff, publisher of Alaska Dispatch, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 24, 2012
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U.S. Senator Mark Begich speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 24, 2012
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Frank Murkowski, former U.S. Senator and Governor for Alaska, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 24, 2012
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Ossie Kairaiuak, Founder and Drum Leader of Acilquq Singers and Dancers, leads the group in a performance at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 24, 2012
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A member of the Acilquq Singers and Dancers performs at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 24, 2012
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A young member of the Acilquq Singers and Dancers performs at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 24, 2012
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U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski speaks at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland listens to a speech by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski during the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Fran Ulmer, chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, speaks at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Alaska Department of Natural Resources commissioner Dan Sullivan speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Alaska Department of Commerce Commissioner Susan Bell speaks at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Alaska Department of Revenue Commissioner Bryan Butcher speaks at the Arctic Imperative Conference. August 25, 2012
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Hugh Short, Chairman of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Jason Evans, chairman of Sitnasuak Native Corporation, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Simon Worden, Center Director at NASA's Ames Research Center, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Attendees at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Former Alaska Lt. Governor Fran Ulmer and St. George mayor Pat Pletnikoff at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Greenland's deputy foreign minister Inuuteq Holm Olsen, left, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Dancers and drummers from the Alaska Native Heritage Center entertain attendees at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Eric Olson of the Coastal Villages Region Fund speaking with a film producer at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Attendees converse at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland, left, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Investors at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Attendees at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Karen Johnson-Young of the Battelle Memorial Institute, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell talking with speakers and attendees at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Former North Slope Borough mayor Edward Itta, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Former Alaska state legislator Clem Tillion speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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Morgen Crow, executive director of the Coastal Villages Region Fund, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 25, 2012
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David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, speaks with Scott Minerd, chief investment officer for Guggenheim Partners, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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Shell Oil Alaska vice president Pete Slaiby, left, and David Hayes, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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Shell Oil Alaska vice president Pete Slaiby listens to David Hayes, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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Pete Slaiby, vice president of Shell Alaska, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, president of Iceland, speaks at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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Scott Minerd, chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners, speaks at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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David Hayes, Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of the Interior, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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Rear Admiral Tom Ostebo, commander of the 17th district for the U.S. Coast Guard, listens to a presentation at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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From left, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Tom Ostebo, North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower, and Hugh Patkotak Sr, Chairman of Olgoonik Corporation speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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Hugh Patkotak Sr, Chairman of Olgoonik Corporation, speaking at the Arctic Imperatice Summit. August 26, 2012
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Charlotte Brower, mayor of the North Slope Borough, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Tom Ostebo speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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John Bellinger, partner with Arnold & Porter, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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James Baker, former U.S. Secretary of State, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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Canadian Forces General Walter Natynczyk speaks at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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General Charles Jacoby, commander of NORAD and the U.S. Northern Command, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Paul Zukunft, commander of the pacific area, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland asks a question of Thomas Nides, Deputy U.S. Secretary of State, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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Alaska state representative Bob Herron asks a question of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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Barrow mayor Bob Harcharek asks a question of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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Thomas Nides, Deputy U.S. Secretary of State, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 26, 2012
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President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Former North Slope Borough mayor Edward Itta, left, and "Eskimo and the Oilman" author Bob Reiss, at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Former North Slope Borough mayor Edward Itta, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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"The Eskimo and the Oilman" author Bob Reiss speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Margaret Spring, NOAA deputy under secretary, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Tom Barrett, president of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Ed Page, executive director for the Marine Exchange of Alaska, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Felix Tschudi, chairman of Tschudi Group, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Shirley Marquardt, mayor of Unalaska, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Rudy Tsukada, president of Aleut Enterprise, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Alaska Dispatch publisher Alice Rogoff moderating a panel of Native leaders at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Diomede elder Patrick Omiak Sr. speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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George Noongwook, chairman of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Vera Metcalf, director of the Eskimo Walrus Commission, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Pat Pletnikoff, mayor of St. George, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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June Walunga, general manager of the Native Village of Gambell, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Mitch Bloom, vice president of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Authority, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Alaska state representative Bob Herron speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Marc Luiken, Alaska state commissioner for Transportation and Public Facilities, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Gail Schubert, president and CEO of Bering Straits Native Corporation, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Denise Michels, mayor of Nome, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Eugene Smith, mayor of Kotzebue, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Chris Rose, executive director for the Renewable Energy Alaska Project, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Jon Hoekstra, vice president and chief scientist for the World Wildlife Fund, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Marilyn Heiman, director of the U.S. Arctic Program for the Pew Environment Group, speaking at the Arctic Imperative Summit. August 27, 2012
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Loren Holmes

For generations, Alaskans have long pinned their hopes on the Arctic's economic possibilities, where an undersea treasure of oil and gas that could rival some of the world's largest fields may be just the tip of the iceberg. The nation, too, seems to be slowly awakening to prospects that range from massive mineral and methane deposits to ice-free sea routes that could slash shipping times between the wealthiest nations.

Yet where developers and financiers envision a land of plenty, conservationists and Alaska Native hunters fear the demise of the bowhead whales, walrus, polar bears and other icons of the Far North. Some say climate change already threatens the animals and the Alaska Native villages that feed on them. Throw in a disaster, such as a chemical discharge or oil spill, and their survival becomes more tenuous.

Therein lays the challenge for the Arctic Imperative Summit: How do you develop the nation's last frontier -- even as you protect it?