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Faye "Kimmialuk" 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 old man takes her all over the country. Some years she gets up Ikpikpak. Some years she goes to the Meade River and portages almost to the Noatak River, that guy was traveling."
 Faye recalls: "In the early life my father or their parents, they go up by Ikpikpak. That's what they told me. My grandparents on my father's side. But when I get a little older, when I get to know something, we go up by Meade River."

When she was growing up, Faye recalls that they traveled by boat with Bob Akpik (Walter Akpik's father) and went up the Meade River to Kaiġvik, the place where they would leave their boats and start backpacking in search of game. When they killed caribou, they packed the meat and skins back to the boats. They generally had three or four dogs to help them. When they had their supply of meat and skins, they started back to Barrow, trying to arrive in September before freeze-up. During at least one winter, her family wintered at Tapkaluk Island (Tapqaaluk) where they trapped and hunted polar bears. The island isn't far from Barrow, and they would go back and forth, but in the spring they would stay in Barrow for whaling. After whaling season they would head back inland or go down the coast for seal hunting.

Faye's father spent his last fishing days on the Lower Meade River at the site of Pulayaaq. He went there when he was too old to make the trip to Aviullaavik on the Ikpikpak River. Faye was married to Ned Nusunginya who was a successful whaler and hunter, delivered mail by dogteam up and down the coast from Barrow, and worked at the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL). Together they raised a large family based upon traditional hunting and fishing activities. In her later years after Ned had passed away (1898-1972), Faye sometimes traveled the Ikpikpak with her daughter, Mary Edwardsen, her son-in-law, Charlie, and their family, enjoying the animals that are abundant in the summer.
 Faye Nusunginya passed away in January 1993.

(Biographical section from Quliaqtuat Iñupiat Nunaŋiññiñ - The Report of the Chipp-Ikpikpuk River and Upper Meade River Oral History Project. W. Arundale and W. Schneider, 1987.)

Date of Birth:
Sep 27, 1897
Faye "Kimmialuk" Nusunginya appears in the following new Jukebox projects: