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John Napoka, Jr.
John Napoka, Jr. was Yup'ik and was born in 1940 to Mary and John Napoka, Sr. at Nuugpak near Tuluksak, Alaska. John grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle based upon hunting, trapping, and fishing which provided him great knowledge of the land and trails, traditional place names, and navigation and survival skills. He first traveled with dogteams and eventually used a snowmachine to check his trapline and travel in the area. In 1965, John married Marie (Jackson) and they raised a family in Tuluksak. Throughout his life, John held various jobs to earn money to support himself and his family, like working on the fur seal harvest on St. Paul Island, as a heavy equipment operator on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, as a salmon cannery foreman in Naknek, as a firefighting crew boss during the summer season, and as maintenance man at the Tuluksak school. He also served in the Alaska National Guard and went to Fort Ord, Cailfornia for training. In addition to using a dogteam for his own travels, John raised sled dogs for racing and participated in many races around the villages. John passed away in 2011.
Biographical information provided by Freda Alexie of the Yupiit School District.