Photographs belonging to Frank Gooden that were made available for the Kiana Village History Project Jukebox.
Roger Atoruk was born in Kiana to Peter and Nellie Ward Sheldon Atoruk on July 28, 1930. He grew up in Kiana and spent his entire life there. His mother, Nellie, married Peter Atoruk after the death of her first husband, Tommie Sheldon, Sr. After Nellie passed away, Peter married Effie. This brought several families and children together. As a result, Roger has many brothers and sisters: Elwood Atoruk, Stella Dugish and Norma Stagnero; half-brothers and sisters: Wilbur, Michael and Ben; and stepbrothers and stepsisters: Tommie Sheldon, Jr., Harry Hobson, Vera Douglas, Grace Forselles, and Cora Gooden. While in his early 20s, Roger worked for six seasons in Nome and with mining contractors up the Squirrel River. He was later employed by the Kiana School District (formerly BIA Schools) for thirty-six years. Roger was the first guardsman recruited for the National Guard in Kiana, and the recruiters found him on a trail to Selawik. Roger and his wife, Mary, were married in Nome on July 23, 1953 and celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 2003. They have eight children, all of whom are grown and living in Kiana, Noorvik, Kotzebue, and Anchorage. Roger and Mary enjoyed parenthood a second time around by raising their beloved grandson, John Roger Atoruk (named after Roger's grandfather and himself), and teaching him survival skills as well as hunting and fishing. Many years ago, when it was an active organization, Roger was a member and race timekeeper for the Kiana Dog Mushers Association. He has been an active member of the Kiana Elders Council for many years. Although officially retired, in 2002 Roger continued to serve as the village agent for several local airlines. Roger Atoruk passed away in 2010 at the age of 80.
Ruth Sandvik was born in Kotzebue, Alaska to Walter and Nellie Flood Blankenship on September 25, 1928. Although born in Kotzebue, she does not consider herself a Qikiktagrugmiut (Iñupiaq name for the people of Kotzebue). Ruth and her sister Ida grew up in Candle, Quartz and Bear Creek (near Candle), Elephant Point, Kewalik, Selawik, and finally Kiana. Their mother, Nellie, was raised at Oksiq between Kiana and Noorvik. Ruth's grandmother, Kitty Kapathuk Flood, grew up in Kiana and Oksiq. When her parents were first married, they operated a store at Okok Point for a Kotzebue trader. They moved the store to its present location in Kiana in 1929. In the past, her cousin Robinson Blankenship and she operated the store, and eventually Ruth took over to manage the store all by herself. Ruth earned a degree in biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1951, and that is where she met her husband Pete Sandvik, who was a geological engineering student originally from the Matanuska Valley. They were married for 42 years and had seven children. Ruth was a write-in candidate during one City Council election and has since served in that capacity for a number of years. She was also a member of the City's Utility and Planning Commissions. Ruth Sandvik passed away on April 29, 2014 at the age of 85. For more about Ruth Sandvik, see her obituary in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner newspaper.
Walter Cook, Sr. was born in Kiana on February 18, 1940. He was adopted by Harry and Belle Cook from Elsie Stoney Hunnicutt. Walter grew up in Kiana and had three brothers and two sisters. He attended school in Kiana through the 6th grade and left during his 7th grade year. During his life, Walter has held a variety of jobs and worked in several different locations. For a time, he was a member of the Alaska National Guard. He has also worked as a seasonal fire fighter for the Bureau of Land Management, and in the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay and Valdez. Walter has been a Kiana Bluff Jumpers Search & Rescue member for a number of years and became involved with the Kiana Elders Council, where he served as president. In 1965, Walter married Blanche Sun (originally from Shungnak) and they had four children. They also raised several of their grandchildren and taught them the proper methods and procedures in subsistence hunting and fishing. His grandson, Walter Cook III, will have the opportunity to pass on this knowledge to his generation and for those who follow. Walter Cook, Sr. passed away in 2004 at age 63.