Publication: Shadows of the Koyoukuk
Published by Alaska
6th printing 2000
Born in 1915 Sydney Huntington is a famous, respected
Athabascan Elder from Interior Alaska. He is currently
residing in Galena. He has been a trapper, fisherman, goldminer
and carpenter, but perhaps most important, a storyteller
and master of indigenous knowledge in his policymaking
career. He has served on school boards, the Board of Game
and numerous other committees on the local and state level.
As stated in the preface of his book:
His life story is a fascinating slice of Alaskan history.
Sydney grew up in a subarctic wildland of birch-bark canoes,
dog teams, trappers, goldminers and Koyukon Indians. He
continues to live in essentially the same culture, now
modernized with snow machines, bush planes and satellite
TV. His is a product of the land, who thoroughly knows
his regions, the animals and the people who live there.
The memories he shares in this book bring alive a way of
life that is gone forever, for as a teenager and a young
man he live primarily off the land; his interest in traditional
Koyukon tales provides an intriguing peek into Koyukon
Sydney has an honorary doctorate from the University of
Alaska and is self educated in traditional knowledge and
Loretta Outwater Cox
Publication: Winter Walk
Published by: Graphic Arts Center
Publishing Co., 2003.
Loretta Outwater Cox is an Inupiaq Eskimo woman born in
Nome, Alaska and raised in various villages around the
Seward Peninsula in Northwest Alaska. She holds a bachelor's
degree in Education and a master's degree in Educational
Administration. Loretta taught elementary school in Western
Alaska for twenty-three years. She and her husband, Skip,
currently live in Fairbanks, Alaska. They have four children
and five grandchildren.
John Peter Pestrikoff and Julia Pestrikoff
John Peter Pestrikoff was born August 28, 1914 in the
village of Ouzinkie to Peter Pestrikoff and Khristina Cheriknov.
John is 93 years old and lives at the Senior Center in
Kodiak. John helped indentify Afognak Island Sugpiaq place
names for a mapping project with Jeff Leer of UAF and the
Native Village of Afognak. John told his niece by marriage,
Helen Simeonoff, about "little people" at Little
Afognak that would sneak up on barabaras-ciqlluaq and look
down the smoke hole.
John, along with his wife Julia, were the primary contributors
of oral history to the Red Cedar of Afognak childrens'
book about driftwood, yet unpublished. The story features
them as the main characters from their story of the tidal
wave. They had one son, Fredrick, and have three grandchildren
living in Port Lions and the state of Washington.
Nora Marks Dauenhauer
Nora Marks Dauenhauer was born 1927 in Juneau, Alaska and
was raised in Juneau and Hoonah, as well as on the family
fishing boat and in seasonal subsistence sites around Icy
Straits, Glacier Bay and Cape Spencer. Her first language
is Tlingit. She began to learn English when entering school
at the age of eight. She has a B.A. in Anthropology (Alaska
Methodist University 1976) and is internationally recognized
for her fieldwork, transcription, translation and explication
of Tlingit oral literature.
Nora's creative writing has been widely published and anthologized.
Her Raven plays have been performed in several venues internationally,
including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 1980
she was named Humanist of the Year by the Alaska Humanities
Forum. In 1989 she received an Alaska Governor's Award for
the Arts and in 1991 she was a winner of the Before Columbus
Foundation's American Book Award. From 1983 to 1997 she was
Principal Researcher in Language and Cultural Studies at
Sealaska Heritage Foundation in Juneau.
Nora is married to Richard Dauenhauer, writer and former
poet laureate of Alaska, with whom she has co-authored and
co-edited several editions of Tlingit language and folklore
material. She has served on the Southeast Alaska Tribal College
Elders Council since 1996. She has four children, thirteen
grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.
Mike Andrews, Sr.
Mike Andrews, Sr. was born at the old village site of Amigtuli
along the Black River near Kusilvak Mountain. He was raised
at Amigtuli until he was about eleven years old, after which
he was taken away by a priest for his formal education. He
attended school at the Akulurak Mission, one of the first
boarding schools in the state and run by the Catholic Church.
While growing up, Mike helped his parents by packing water
and chopping firewood. He learned how to do things by observing
people and then later trying them on his own. In this way,
he learned how to make traditional tools, like fish traps
made out of driftwood. He also made his own sled and started
his own dog team. As an adult, he made his own qayaq, and
began trapping for different kinds of furs such as mink,
otter and muskrat.
At a recent community meeting held to discuss the new LYSD
cultural curriculum, Mike shared his belief that the Yup'ik
language must be spoken and understood by the younger people.
He also shared his experiences with the Yup'ik Language Institute
and how he is pleased with the efforts made to preserve the
language in the region. He likes being involved with the
program and sharing his knowledge with the younger generations.
Today, "Upa" Andrews is
very busy, being an elder-mentor to several Yup'ik teachers
from the region and sharing his cultural wisdom as much
as he can. He can often be found in the school at Emmonak,
showing the students how to make fish traps or drumming
and teaching them how to yuraq (dance). We are very lucky
to have him in our lives and he is an inspiration to us
all. Quyana, Upa!
As a child, Belle was favored by her grandmother and was
taught how to live a good and long life, never to swear,
and always be kind and help old people. Marcia foretold that
Belle would outlive the rest of her family, so it was to
Belle that she passed on the traditional skills and knowledge
she possessed. By watching Marcia work, and then by trying
it herself, Belle learned the craftsmanship which has made
her well-known in Alaska for her birchbark baskets.
Engithidong Xugixudhoy: Their Stories of Long Ago documents
nine Deg Hit'an traditional stories by the late Belle Deacon
of Grayling. Belle Deacon was a renowned storyteller, fluent
in both English and Deg Xinag. She was a cultural expert
in subsistence ways of the Deg Hit'an people and also known
for her expertise in making beautiful birch bark and willow
root baskets. From the late 1970s through the 1980s, Belle
was invited to tell stories and demonstrate her basket-making
skills to groups of people all over Alaska. This publication
is an invaluble educational and language learning resource.
Robert Nasruk Cleveland
Robert Nasruk Cleveland, father of Minnie
Gray, shared many stories and legends on reel-to-reel tapes
to preserve valuable information on Iñupiaq language,
history and heritage. He was recorded by the late Don Foote
and by Wanni Anderson in Folktakes of the Riverine and Coastal
Robert is one of three Kobuk Cleveland
brothers. Born toward the end of the 1800s, Robert Cleveland,
as a young boy, had personally participated in the historic
Sisualik trading meets where Inupiaq from coastal and riverine
settlements met each spring to trade. A skilled subsistence
Inupiaq and a prolific storyteller, Robert spent a great
deal of his growing-up years in a qargi where he acquired
his Iñupiaq skill and stories from the Elders.
Robert lived most of his life around the
Black River and moved to live in Shungnak after the village
was established. Robert was married to Flora Sanmigana (Cooper)
Cleveland from Qala and had thirteen children. The four surviving
sons and daughters are: Minnie Alitchak Gray, Clara Paaniikaaluk
Lee, Homer Qaliaq Cleveland and Levi Anarraaq Cleveland.