Eugene "Aalaak" Brower
Eugene Aalaak Brower is an Iñupiaq elder from Barrow, Alaska. He was born in 1948 to Annie (Qaġġun) and Harry (Kupaaq) Brower, Sr., and his growing up was focused on living off the land. Some of his earliest memories are of living in a small sod house at Iviksuk on the tundra inland from Barrow. He learned to hunt, fish, trap, run a dog team, and be a whaler from his father, who was an accomplished subsistence provider for his family. Eugene started whaling at age eight under the mentorship of Luther Leavitt, Sr., and became a harpooner at age twenty-seven in his father’s whaling crew (Kupaaq Crew). In the early 1990s, when his father became ill and was no longer able to go whaling, Eugene was put in charge of their crew. He started his own Aalaak Crew around 1992, after his father passed away. Eugene was mayor of the North Slope Borough from 1981-1984, and in 2005 retired as Fire Chief from the North Slope Borough Fire Department. Currently, he is on the Board of Directors of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), and President of the Barrow Whaling Captains Association. To hear more of Eugene talking about his life, whaling, and changes to Barrow, watch his video interview recorded for the Arctic Stories project.