Simeon Patkotak, Sr.
Simeon Patkotak, Sr. is an Iñupiaq elder from Barrow, Alaska. He was born in 1932, and has spent his entire life hunting, fishing and whaling. He has a subsistence camp at Peard Bay, southwest of Barrow, which is an especially important area to him. Simeon started whaling when he was seventeen years old under the mentorship of Otis Ahkivgak, his wife Susan’s father. In the late 1950s, Otis Ahkivgak lost all his whaling gear during a big ice pileup (ivu) event that caused many crews in Barrow to have to run for their lives towards shore. Simeon and Susan Patkotak then started Patkotak Crew in 1967. In 2008, his son Crawford Patkotak took over as whaling captain of their crew. Simeon is a well-respected hunter and successful whaler, with extensive knowledge of the sea ice and the tundra environments that have sustained him and his family for generations. Simeon also has been an artist and ivory carver.