Come As You Are: Ankse “Terrence” Long

“I’m trying to become a role model for a lot of different Indigenous people to show that we can 100 percent prosper in a Western culture.”

Ankse “Terrence” Long is acutely aware of the challenges he’s faced—and how many others are still fighting to overcome them. It’s not often you hear a 19-year-old frame themselves as a role model, but Terrence has earned the title and is doing everything he can to live up to it.

Terrance presents a Kaktovik clock created at the Denełchin Lab: A traditional “base 20” Inupiaq counting system is reborn using a set of unique numerals crafted decades ago by Kaktovik youth to keep traditions alive. In this Denełchin Lab activity, students design and make a clock using design thinking, laser-cutting technology, and resin to produce a modern tool inspired by ancient ways.

Terrence’s family was unhoused during his teenage years, living in their car and fending off wildlife at Bicentennial Park. While his classmates focused on their school work, he helped with his dad’s handyman business and picked up custodial shifts at Alaska Regional Hospital.

CITC entered Terrence’s life through a program called Journey Ahead, which provided support to students who were falling behind academically. If you kept your grades up, you were granted access to the original CITC Fab Lab.

“I feel like the Fab Lab was the biggest contributor to me coming back to CITC,” said Terrence. “Here, I’m able to truly express myself through the many different forms of art that I love.”

Much of that expression is tied to his Iñupiaq culture. Before passing away, Terrence’s mom made an effort to help him understand his heritage. But his dad was less supportive, and Terrence often felt shame from his peers for being Alaska Native. Having the green light to embrace his full self was liberating. And, after becoming an assistant at the Denełchin Fab Lab, he’s been able to pay that same experience forward.

As he puts it: “Passing on our own culture is one of the greatest things that you can do as an Indigenous person.”

Terrence is 100 percent prospering in a Western culture, and he’s reaching his hands out to bring others along for the ride.

Terrence has moved on from CITC since the production of this video, but will always be part of our family! Learn more about CITC’s new Denełchin Fab Lab here. To see more “Come As You Are” stories, visit