Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Sarah Kunaknana

Sarah Kunaknana

Sarah Pausanna Kunaknana was born in 1921 in Barrow, Alaska to Harriet and Paul Pausanna, but when she was only two months old her parents moved east to Cross Island (Napaqsralik) on the Beaufort Sea coast. As was typical of families at the time, they traveled a lot in search of food resources and often moved seasonally following the animals. Her father, originally from the Utuqqaq area near Point Lay, was a successful whaler in both Barrow and Cross Island, and also hunted polar bears, seals, and trapped foxes. One of Sarah’s earliest memories is living in the Prudhoe Bay area, but they also lived around Kuukpik, Fish Creek (Iqalukpik), Ikpikpak, and traveled inland on the rivers toward the mountains. Sarah learned about subsistence hunting and fishing, food preparation, and environmental conditions from her parents and from her husband, Samuel Kunaknana. Sarah and Samuel Kunaknana lived in Barrow so their children could go to school, but latter settled in Nuiqsut, Alaska. Sarah Kunaknana died on April 16, 2009. For more about Sarah Kunaknana, see Qiñiqtuagaksrat Utuqqanaat Iñuuniaġniŋisiqun: The Traditional Land Use Inventory for the Mid-Beaufort Sea, Volume 1. (Barrow, AK: North Slope Borough, Commission on History and Culture, 1980).

Date of Birth:
Jun 9, 1921
Date of Death:
Apr 16, 2009
Sarah Kunaknana appears in the following new Jukebox projects: