Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Dorcas Neakok

Dorcas Neakok

Dorcas Neakok was born in 1919 to Adela and Christopher Tingook. She spent her early childhood in Kiana. Her father was a reindeer herder, so Dorcas had childhood memories of traveling with reindeer herds to villages such as Selawik, Buckland, Kotzebue, Kivalina, Point Hope and finally to Point Lay when she was eleven years old. Dorcas began regular school attendance in Point Lay and lived with the schoolteachers while her parents continued herding reindeer. At age eighteen, Dorcas became the second wife of Allen Upicksoun, a thirty-nine year old widower with many children; they had four more children of their own. Allen Upicksoun died when Dorcas was twenty-eight, leaving her with eight children to raise. Those were tough days at the “Old Village," which was located across the lagoon from the current village of Point Lay. In 1947, Dorcas married Warren Neakok and they had six more children. Through hard work and resourcefulness they survived difficult times, focusing on a tradition-based subsistence lifestyle and finding periodic employment when they could. In the 1950s, the village shrunk and the school closed, requiring children be sent out for their education. Dorcas and Warren Neakok became the only residents of Point Lay from the 1960's until its resettling in the early 1970's. Dorcas Neakok died in 2008. For more about Dorcas Neakok, see Point Lay Biographies by Yvonne Yarber (Social and Economic Studies, OCS Study MMS 89-0094, Anchorage, AK: U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Alaska Outer Continental Shelf Region, November 1989), and To Keep The Past Alive: The Point Lay Cultural Resource Site Survey by Warren Neakok, Dorcas Neakok, Waldo Bodfish, David Libbey, Edwin S. Hall, Jr., and the Point Lay Elders (Barrow, AK: North Slope Borough, 1985).

Date of Birth:
May 15, 1919
Dorcas Neakok appears in the following new Jukebox projects: