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Sally Gallahorn was born in 1931 at Okok Point near Kiana Alaska to Clara and Louis Rotman. Her mother was from Kiana and her father came to the area as a fur buyer. Sally grew up at Niliq, up the Selawik River from the village of Selawik, Alaska, where in 1932 her father established a store and trading post. Sally has fond memories of living at Niliq and playing with the children of the Iñupiat families living there. As the fur trade and the population of Niliq declined, the family moved into Selawik, where Sally's father opened another store and fur trading business. By 1947, Louis Rotman established a store in Kotzebue that for some years also included a restaurant counter. Sally worked in the store, and in the 1960s and 1970s provided hotel accommodations upstairs for visiting polar bear hunters. Sally's mother ran the business after her father passed away in the mid-1950s, and Sally took over from her mother in the late 1980s or early 1990s and still runs the family business.