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Elenore McMullen was a Sugpiaq Elder from Port Graham, Alaska. She was born in Port Graham to Barbara and Harry Norman in 1939. She attended school in Port Graham and Seldovia, graduating with a G.E.D. She then attended Mount Edgecumbe in Sitka and became a Licensed Practical Nurse. Nursing became her life-time career and passion. She worked at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, as a Community Health Aide in Port Graham, and at elder facilities in Iowa. Elenore married Bobby McMullen in 1959 and moved with him to Iowa for several years. The family moved back to Port Graham in 1972, where she worked for the Whitney Fidalgo cannery and in their store as a clerk. During this time, Elenore realized the community was in need of many services and began volunteering to help improve the quality of life. This began her thirty plus years of service to the community. She was hired as the first Community Health Representative, she was on the Village Council for many years, and then from 1990 to 2002 she served as Village Chief. She also served on many boards and committees securing much needed services such as, construction of a medical clinic, development of a fire department and EMS services, providing local mental health and alcoholism support services, and creation of an environmental and watershed protection program for Port Graham and Nanwalek. She also was instrumental in securing housing, a new school, an Orthodox Church building, and a fish hatchery facility. As part of her work on behalf of the people of Port Graham, Nanwalek, Seldovia and even Homer, she traveled as a representative of the village. One highlight was in 1989 during the Exxon Valdez oil spill she represented the people of the Chugach Region by expressing their concerns about the oil spill and making a presentation in Washington D.C. on behalf of the late Chief Walter Meganack Sr. called “The Day the Waters Died.” Elenore received many awards for her tireless efforts over the years, such as the Della Keats Helping Hands Award, Chugach Alaska Shareholder of the Year, and the Haven House Woman of Distinction. She was a committed member of the Orthodox church that she was raised in, and served on the church council for many years. Having grown up in a traditional Supgiaq household, Elenore was an avid subsistence user. She especially loved fishing. She also was an avid gardener. She learned many Sugpiaq cultural traditions from her grandmother, including food preparation, women's traditions, traditional medicine, delivering babies, raising children, steam bath practices, and death preparations. It was especially important to Elenore that his traditional knowledge be preserved and passed on to the younger generation.
Elenore McMullen passed away in 2019 at age 79. For more about Elenore McMullen, see her obituary.