Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Henry Nashaknik

Henry Nashaknik

Henry Nashaknik was born in 1906 on the Colville River and grew up living along the Beaufort Sea coast in northern Alaska. As a hunter and trapper and reindeer herder, he traveled extensively along the rivers and coastline in all seasons. He learned to understand the sea ice and how to travel and hunt safely on it. He also worked for Jack Smith at the trading post at Foggy Island, which including running a supply boat back and forth to Barrow. In 1931, he married his wife, Evelyn, and in 1938 they moved to Barrow, Alaska and then to Atqasuk, Alaska. They spent twenty years in the Meade River area where Henry hunted and trapped, came to the coast for whaling, and worked at the Meade River Coal Mine. He and his family moved to Barrow in the late 1950s, where he continued to hunt, trap and whale, and learn about the ice conditions around Barrow. Nashaknik remained active throughout his life; even as an elder he would take long walks on the beach. He was a respected elder who shared his knowledge and stories at annual Elders Conferences held by the North Slope Borough’s Inupiat History, Language and Culture Commission. Interviews with Henry Nashaknik also appear in the Chipp-Ikpikpuk Project Jukebox. Henry Nashaknik died on May 27, 1999 at age 93.

Date of Birth:
May 23, 1906
Date of Death:
May 27, 1999
Henry Nashaknik appears in the following new Jukebox projects: