Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Justus Mekiana

Justus Mekiana

Justus Mekiana was a Nunamiut elder from Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska. Originally from the Killik River area, Justus was an expert in Nunamiut history and traditional culture, having grown up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle and moving from camp to camp following the seasons and the animals. He was present in 1949 when bands of nomadic Nunamiut living at Chandler Lake and the Killik River in the Brooks Range settled together in the newly established village of Ankatuvuk Pass. His grandfather was Maptigaq who died in 1957 when he was in his late '80s. Justus learned many traditional skills and stories from his grandfather and was committed to passing on this knowledge to future generations. He worked closely with anthropologists and researchers for many years, especially Grant Spearman, former curator of the Simon Paneak Memorial Museum in Anaktuvuk Pass, to document this knowledge and Nunamiut history. Justus is also remembered for his role in developing the style of fur-trimmed caribou skin mask that has become iconic of Anaktuvuk Pass.

Date of Death:
Feb 26, 2009
Justus Mekiana appears in the following new Jukebox projects: