Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Project Jukebox Survey

Help us redesign the Project Jukebox website by taking a very short survey!

chpsml.gifThe Chipp-Ikpikpuk and Meade River Oral History Project Project Jukebox is comprised of interviews conducted with elders in Barrow, Alaska (now known as Utqiaġvik) in the early 1980s about subsistence and land use activities in this critically important river system located near the community. The recordings, photographs, transcripts, and maps contained in this program represent three different stages of fieldwork done for the North Slope Borough in the late 1970s and early 1980s by William Schneider, David Libbey, Sverre Pederson, Wendy Arundale, and Kathy Itta Ahgeak.

Development of the Chipp-Ikpikpuk and Meade Rivers Project Jukebox was a collaborative project between the North Slope Borough, Iñupiat History, Language and Culture Commission and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program. The tape and transcript collection housed at both institutions was originally incorporated into a Project Jukebox in 1993 and was updated in 2000 for web delivery. In 2020, the Chipp-Ikpikpuk and Meade Rivers Project Jukebox was upgraded from its old HTML format to Drupal. The information in this project reflects the context of the original creation date. Some information may now be out of date.


Greta Akpik Greta Akpik

Greta (Suvluuraq) and Walter Akpik lived in Atqasuk, Alaska and both had a lifetime of associations with the inland river systems. As a little girl, Greta (maiden name: Toovak) recalls traveling with her parents on the rivers. She remembers the site of Alaqtaq near the Chipp River. Recalling her grandmother, who was living on a river (Qaagagvik or Topagoruk River) between the Ikpikpak and the Meade Rivers, she states: "I was the youngest that time when we were at the river between Ikpikpak... Read More

Walter Akpik, Sr. Walter Akpik, Sr.

Walter (Utik) and Greta (Suvluuraq) Akpik lived in Atqasuk, Alaska and both had a lifetime of associations with the inland river systems. Walter was born in 1915, and grew up traveling on the inland rivers. As a young boy, he recalls traveling east to Savviuġvik (Saviukvianak River), and it was there that his grandparents taught him how to travel inland. But when they returned westward and went to Atqasupiaq (old Atqasuk), he was older and "really knew what was going on." Although Walter's... Read More

Arnold Brower, Sr. Arnold Brower, Sr.

Arnold Brower, Sr. (Tiġitquuraq), like Charlie Edwardsen, was introduced to the Ikpikpak area through reindeer herding. As a young boy of 14 or 15, Arnold's father, Charles Brower, Sr. made him choose between schooling in San Francisco for higher education or reindeer herding with his older brother, Tom. The decision was a difficult one; Tom offered him the chance to earn a dog team if he went herding, but he also knew that there would be opportunities if he chose to get more schooling. He... Read More

Thomas Brower, Sr. Thomas "Tom" Brower, Sr.

Thomas "Tom" Brower, Sr. (Paniattaaq) was born in 1904 to Asiaŋŋataq and Charles Brower, Sr. in Barrow, Alaska (Utqiaġvik). His main associations with the Ikpikpak came when he was managing the reindeer herd for his father, but perhaps even earlier when he was learning about the land from his uncle and old timer, Alex Ahsoak. Ahsoak was Tom's mother's brother, and he and two other uncles taught Tom how to live out on the land.  Charlie Edwardsen notes: "He (Alex Ahsoak) used to take Tom... Read More

Mary Edwardsen Mary Edwardsen

Mary Edwardsen (Amayun) was born in 1924 to Faye and Ned Nusunginya and raised in Barrow, Alaska. She attended school until she was 16 and then had to go to work. She started traveling after she married Charlie Edwardsen, Sr. in 1942. When Charlie wasn't working for wages, they went hunting. The Ikpikpak area was not new to her as she recalls that her grandfather, Qiugaq, used to fish on the Chipp River at Aviullaavik, which is located a little ways upriver from Chipp 2. Her father, Ned... Read More

Charlie Edwardsen, Sr. Charlie Edwardsen, Sr.

Charlie Edwardsen, Sr. (Aaluk) was born in 1920 and spent much of his childhood in the Barrow area. He and his brother, Eddie, were raised by their grandmother, Mary Asiaŋŋataq Brower, Charles Brower's wife. Their mother, Dora, died when Charlie was two, and their father, Antone Edwardsen, the trader at Beechey Point, died when Charlie was nine. Charlie and Eddie were raised with the other Brower children in Barrow. Charlie really started to travel when he began reindeer herding: "...when I... Read More

Ernest Kignak Ernest Kignak

Ernest Kignak (Qigñaq) was born inland from Barrow, Alaska in 1903 during a famine period and was adopted by a Nunamiut family. As a young boy becoming aware, he recalls that his adoptive family was in Barrow, but were always traveling inland. He notes that they came to Barrow because they had a hard time getting food, particularly seal oil. They didn't have enough other goods to trade for oil, so they had to stay in the Barrow area at times and hunt sea mammals. Ernest grew up traveling on... Read More

Adam Leavitt Adam Leavitt

Adam Leavitt (Qapqan) was born in 1909, the son of George Leavitt, Jr., and Mae Maasak. Both George and Mae grew up together in Barrow with the Brower family. George was the son of Ilġutchiaq (Nellie Nanouk), who was from Barrow, and Captain George Leavitt, a well-known commercial whaler who made many trips along the Arctic Coast. On one of those trips, George Jr. (as a young boy of 11 or so) was with his father. They got frozen in and had to winter at POW-1, twenty miles west of Cape... Read More

Henry Nashaknik Henry Nashaknik

Henry Nashaknik (Nasaġniq) was born in 1906 on the Colville River in northern Alaska, and grew up living along the Beaufort Sea coast as far east at Barter Island. 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... Read More

Nina Nayukok Nina Nayukok

Nina Koonik Nayukok (Aŋŋiaġruk) was born at Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska, but traveled a great deal during her life on the coast to the east, up the Meade River, and in the Ikpikpak and Tasiqpak Rivers areas. As a young girl, she traveled to the east where people gathered to trade. The trading parties usually returned to Barrow before freeze-up. Then in the winter, Nina and her family went inland with other people in search of caribou on the Ikpikpak River and perhaps to the Meade River, as... Read More

Ben Nungasak Ben Nungasak

Ben Nungasak (Nuŋŋasauraq) was born in 1913 in Barrow, Alaska, but his father died when he was young. As a youth, beginning when he was 14, 15, or 16, he herded reindeer for about five years with the Barrow herd, spending quite a bit of time in the lower Meade River area. While he was growing up, Ben depended upon his uncle, Amos Ekosik (Ikusik) to teach him about hunting. During one winter, 1934, Ben and his uncle went trapping up the Ikpikpak River to Aviullaavik, but it appears that his... Read More

Faye Nusunginya Faye Nusunginya

Faye Nusunginya (Kimmialuk) was born in 1897 at Cape Lisburne, Alaska, but was raised in the Barrow area. She explains that right after she was born, her father died so her mother's sister and her husband adopted her. As a baby, Faye survived a virulent measles epidemic that killed both adults and children in Barrow. Her adopted father, Michael Keogak (Qiugaq), was a traveler and he took Faye all over. Charlie Edwardsen, Sr., Faye's son-in-law, describes where Michael took Faye: "And this... Read More

Mattie Tunik Mattie Tunik

Mattie Tunik (Qavviayaaq) was born in 1924 to Nina and Teddy Nayukok. She recalls growing up at Imaġruaq fishing with her grandfather, Amaġuaq. When she was a teenager, Mattie's family camped at Akiqpak, and Mattie hiked into the nearby hills to visit Charlie Edwardsen, Sr., Arnold Brower, Sr., and the other herders who were watching the reindeer in that area. When she was older, Mattie worked for Tom Brower, Sr. at Half Moon Three or Alaqtaq. In 1940, she married Clayborne Tunik, who had... Read More