Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Tommy "Muquluk" Ongtooguk

Tommy Ongtooguk

Tommy "Muquluk" Ongtooguk was born in 1922 in Teller, Alaska. His ancestry on his father's side is from Diomede Island and Siberia, and from Wales on his mother's side. He grew up living a traditional Iñupiaq hunting and fishing lifestyle. In November 1946, Tommy enlisted in the Alaska Territorial Guard in Nome, Alaska. He attended basic training at Fort Richardson near Anchorage. His abilities as a subsistence hunter and being able to sustain tough conditions and have stamina, helped him during his military service. In 1951, he was stationed at the U.S. Air Force radar station site in Kotzebue. In the 1970s, Tommy Ongtooguk worked as program director for Mental Health and Alcoholism at Norton Sound Heath Corporation in Nome, Alaska, and in his later years, served on and was president of the Kotzebue Elders Council. A collection of photographs that Tommy took from the 1960s and 1970s can be seen in the Tundra Times Photo Project website. From February 29 to March 2, 1996, Tommy participated in the Communities of Memory public storytelling event held in Kotzebue where local residents spoke about their memories of and experiences related to the military. Tommy Ongtooguk passed away in 2002 and is buried at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Military Cemetery. For more about Tommy Ongtooguk's experience in the military, see: "Veterans of the Tundra: Territorial Guard Helped Reduce Alaska Racism" published in the Alaska Dispatch News on November 11, 2011.

Date of Birth:
Sep 11, 1922
Date of Death:
Feb 7, 2002
Tommy "Muquluk" Ongtooguk appears in the following new Jukebox projects: