Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Debbie Mekiana

Debbie Mekiana was interviewed on December 16, 1992 by Bill Schneider at the school in Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska, where she was a senior in high school. She sat in the previous day during the interview with her uncle, Justus Mekiana. At the time of this interview, Debbie was the Museum Assistant at the Simon Paneak Memorial Museum and planned to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the fall of 1993. Debbie reflects on her life at Anaktuvuk Pass and discusses some of the choices she is making in an effort to combine Western education with Inupiaq culture and values.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 93-15-56

Project: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Date of Interview: Dec 16, 1992
Narrator(s): Debbie Mekiana
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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Slideshow
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Sections

1) Growing up at Anaktuvuk Pass

2) Stories from hunting trips

3) Father's illness

4) Plans for next year

5) What she likes about Anaktuvuk Pass

6) Additional components for young people

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Transcript

Section 1: mother -- Minnesota\ Tulugak Lake\ mother -- teacher, early 1970's\ memories -- not as modern then, fewer houses\ borough houses\ house -- built across river for peace, quiet\ animals -- caribou, moose, fox, squirrel, rabbits, birds\ school -- church, domes\ washeteria\ kindergarten -- first year at new school\ wintertime -- activities\ education -- importance of learning white man's world\ summertime -- culture education\ activities -- hunting, fishing, camping\ Anaktuvuk\ mother -- postmaster\ father -- going out with\ camping -- peaceful, fun\ Gladys -- sister|

Section 2: animals -- caribou, bear\ bear -- encounter\ father -- pursued bear\ sister -- near miss\ bear -- took four or five shots\ National Park Service\ regulations -- bear kill\ Park Service Officer -- kill deemed legitimate|

Section 3: father -- got cancer\ hunter\ trapper\ Chandler Lake -- last trip with father\ caribou -- too weak to carry\ Little Chandler Lake\ uncle\ feast -- last trip\ sickness -- Medivac\ trip -- last one, nine years old\ father -- Fairbanks hospital, died at home\ mother -- stayed in Anaktuvuk Pass|

Section 4: R.A.H.I. -- summer orientation\ University of Alaska Fairbanks -- study science and history\ Simon Paneak Museum -- after school\ museum -- job, cultural education\ Mekiana, David\ Mekiana, Mary\ grandmother\ Mekiana, Rebecca -- father's mother\ Masualuk -- grandmother's Eskimo name\ grandfather\ Mekiana, Homer -- father's father\ Mekiana, Justus -- uncle\ grandparents -- mother's side\ Anderson, Gladys and Lloyd|

Section 5: college\ culture -- don't want to lose\ Fairbanks\ Lower 48\ effects -- culture loss\ elders -- staying and working with\ Iñupiaq -- language learning\ skills -- want to learn hunting, trapping, fishing\ traplines -- less than past\ sharing\ community|

Section 6: children -- should value culture\ culture -- strong, can get back\ Iñupiaq\ white people\ language -- loss\ elders -- working with young\ movement -- good signs\ feasts\ Eskimo dances\ Fairbanks -- will miss scenery, people, food, Iñupiaq atmosphere|