Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Mary Ann Olympic

Mary Ann Olympic

Mary Ann Olympic was a Yup'ik elder who was born in a reindeer herding camp at Kukaklek Lake in 1931. Her father was a reindeer herder originally from Alagnak who moved to Kukaklek Lake in 1906, and married Mary Ann's mother in 1926. She grew up a subsistence lifestyle, where the family moved around seasonally according to where resources were available. For example, in the springtime her mother would hunt ground squirrels, and in the summer her father hunted brown bear and moose. And she learned about reindeer herding and trapping from her father, who also did some commercial fishing to support his family. Mary was sixteen years old when her parents moved the family into the village of Igiugig, Alaska, and in 1948 she married John Olympic. Mary Ann ran a trapline at Kukaklek Lake and went to fish camp while raising her family and then worked at the school in Igiugig from 1968 to 1994 as a way to earn extra income. In her later years, Mary Ann was highly regarded for her knowledge of traditional activities, beliefs, and of local place names, and she provided inspiration as an elder leader in the community. May Ann Olympic passed away in 2015 at the age of 83 years old.

Date of Death:
Apr 14, 2015
Mary Ann Olympic appears in the following new Jukebox projects: