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Walter "Utik" 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 father's parents were from the Kobuk/Selawik area, Walter's paternal grandparents were very familiar with the Meade River area. In one tape, Walter describes their travel over the old route from the Meade River to the Awuna River.
 According to Walter, his grandfather said that his first house on the Meade River was in the Payugvik-Pulayaaq area on the lower river. He hunted as far up the river as Sanniŋaruq and at one time lived in a sod house he made at Atqasupiaq. Walter's grandparents had their last sod house at Tikiġluk.

After Walter and Greta got married, they did some traveling together. Walter was a reindeer herder before they were married, and he continued to herd until a few months after their son, Frankie, was born in 1934. The herders often needed their skin boots repaired, and Greta recalls learning how to patch Eskimo boots for the "first time." After Walter stopped herding, they went inland, as Greta described: 
"...(We) start to go hunting ourselves. In the fall time; we start to go to Qikiqtaqturuq by boat.
That was Isuqtuq. We stay up there all winter and springtime. After trapping season closed, we'd go back to Barrow." 
Another place they stayed was at Uqpiksuum Kaŋia, on the Uqpiksuu (Okpiksak River).

Walter and Greta lived in Barrow for several years after 1946 when Walter began working for wages, but they moved back to the Meade River, to the new village of Atqasuk, in 1977 or 1978. They maintained a hunting camp (tent) on the Isuqtuq at the site of Itqiliq. Eventually, as they aged, Walter and Greta moved back to Barrow.

(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:
Jan 4, 1915
Date of Death:
Mar 15, 2007
Walter "Utik" Akpik, Sr. appears in the following new Jukebox projects: