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Paula Chigayuk Ayunerak is Yup'ik and was born in 1938 to Maria and Charlie Augustine in Fox Village, located between Black River and Scammon Bay, Alaska. She grew up out on the land near Scammon Bay and did not go to school until she was sent to the village of St. Mary's at age fifteen. After being in the hospital for tuberculosis, Paula eventually graduated from high school in Tacoma, Washington and spent another year in the area attending nurses training. In 1966, Paula married John Ayunerak, and they moved to the village of Alakanuk, Alaska near the mouth of the Yukon River. She was the community health aide for twenty-seven years in the village and a supervisor/instructor for sixteen years. She continued her education with health aide trainings and college courses, and in 1997 she received an Associate of Science degree in Health. In 2000, Paula retired as a health aide, but continued to be involved by writing a column about health issues in the regional newspaper, The Delta Discovery.