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The Nanwalek and Port Graham Project Jukebox encompasses oral histories and photographs from the communities of Nanwalek and Port Graham, Alaska, located in Cook Inlet at the end of the Kenai Peninsula. Residents of of both communities conducted interviews and provided photographs for the project. The interviews cover topics, such as: growing up in the village in the early 1900s; contemporary subsistence; the English Bay Band and how it started; the Port Graham Native Corporation and its future; and changes that have occurred in the villages over time. There are many other topics and interesting people not covered that could be addressed by future projects.
Much of the background history of Nanwalek and Port Graham is the same, in that many ancestors of Port Graham residents originally came from Nanwalek. To learn more about the long historic, cultural, and economic ties binding these two communities together, see the Nanwalek and Port Graham History Page.
Ron Stanek with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Subsistence coordinated the original project and Bill Burke with the UAF Oral History Program constructed the Jukebox. Local participants in Nanwalek included: Nick Tanape, Sr. who conducted interviews, transcribed, and translated recordings; Leo Ash who conducted interviews with the English Bay Band; Kilann Moonin who conducted interviews with Elders as part of a senior year class project; Merlin Anahonak who translated and keyworded recordings; and Rhonda Moonin who helped as a translator. Residents of Port Graham conducted interviews, provided photographs, and compiled materials, including: Lydia Robart, Herman Moonin, Jr., Tom and Feona Sawden, Luba Meganack and Jim and Susan Labelle who generously loaned copies from their personal photograph collections, and Nancy Yaw Davis who loaned copies of photos she acquired from the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
The original Nanwalek Project Jukebox was funded by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game with support from the Minerals Management Service, and was completed in 1997. In 2023, it was upgraded from its original HTML format to Drupal. The information in this project reflects the context of the original creation date. Some information may now be out of date.
Copyright Information: The material in this Jukebox is protected by copyright. Any republication or reuse for commercial purposes is prohibited without written consent from the copyright holders. The copyright to all photographs and interviews (both audio form and in written transcription) is jointly held by the State of Alaska, Department of Fish and Game, Division of Subsistence and the Nanwalek Village IRA Council and Port Graham Traditional Council.
Dick Anahonak was a Sugpiaq Elder from Port Graham, Alaska. He grew up living a subsistence lifestyle of fishing, trapping and hunting and attended school in Port Graham. He worked as a commercial fisherman and in the cannery to earn money to support his family.
Malania Anahonak is a Sugpiaq Elder who was born to Helen and John Romanoff in Portlock in 1932 and spent most of her adult life in Nanwalek, Alaska. She married Daniel Anahonak and together they raised five sons and two daughters. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle as a fluent speaker of her Native language, Sugt'stun. She is passionate about sharing traditional knowledge and practices with the next generation, and has been active in cultural camps in the region. She is... Read More
|English Bay Band||
The English Bay Band is a rock and roll band that was formed in ?? in Nanwalek, Alaska. The group is comprised of Bobby Kvasnikoff, John Kvasnikoff, Emily Swenning, Wally Kvasnikoff, Sally Ash, and Mack Ukatish. Most of them started playing music when they were young teenagers and eventually came together to play as a band. They play classic rock and roll songs mostly from the 1950's and 1960s. They play at events in Nanwalek and around the Prince William Sound, Kachemak Bay, and Lower Cook... Read More
Dora Kamluck was a Sugpiaq Elder from Port Graham, Alaska. She grew up living a subsistence lifestyle based upon fishing, hunting and gathering. As an adult, she worked in the cannery at Port Graham, went to fish camp every summer, and raised a family on traditional foods such as seal and dry fish.
Simeon Kvasnikoff is a Sugpiaq Elder from Port Graham, Alaska. He grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle that included hunting, trapping, fishing, and gathering. It often required traveling long distances to get to good locations, some of which had shelter cabins. He developed a keen understanding of the local landscape and shoreline, the animals present, and the best techniques for capturing them. He is an expert carpenter, artisan, and storyteller. He eagerly shares his... Read More
Vincent Kvasnikoff is a Sugpiaq Elder from Nanwalek, Alaska. He grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle focused on fishing, hunting, and berry picking. As boy, he learned the importance of hard work and helping other people. His parents were teachers, and he grew up in a bilingual household of thirteen kids with his father speaking Russian and his mother speaking her Native Aleut language. Vincent served in the military, worked as a community health aide, did airport and road... Read More
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... Read More
Juanita Melsheimer was a Sugpiaq Elder from Nanwalek, Alaska. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle as a fluent speaker of her Native language, Sugt'stun. She was an advocate for Native subsistence rights, and was passionate about maintaining traditional skills and connections to land and heritage. Juanita passed away in November 2002.
Patrick Norman is from Port Graham, Alaska and for years has served as the Chief of the Port Graham Village Council. He served as president of the Port Graham Corporation, which was formed under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) to represent the Sugpiaq people of the Kenai Peninsula and to gain ownership and management of their traditional lands. Patrick has devoted himself to service to the Alaska Native community in the Chugach region where he is involved with a variety... Read More
Feona (Kheona) Joan Sawden was a Sugpiaq Elder from Port Graham, Alaska. She was born in 1939 to Polly and Larry Meganack, and grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle where they moved seasonally to follow the availability of animals, fish and plants in various locations. She was a fluent speaker of her Native Sugt'stun language, and worked as a bilingual teacher with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and as a Sugt'stun language translator for publications and teaching.... Read More
Irene Tanape is a Sugpiaq Elder from Nanwalek, Alaska. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle of fishing, hunting, and gathering. Growing up in a large family, she was responsible for caring for her younger siblings and doing chores, which taught her the value of hard work. Later she worked in the cannery, married and raised her own children. Irene is a fluent speaker of her Native Sugt'stun language, and is an expert in traditional and medicinal uses of plants. She has... Read More
|Joseph Tanape, Sr.||
Joseph "Joe" Tanape, Sr. was a Sugpiaq Elder from Nanwalek, Alaska. He grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle of fishing, trapping, and hunting, and speaking his Native Sugt'stun language. His Russian Orthodox faith was an important part of his life, including the special traditions and celebrations around the holidays. Joe was known for his hunting and trapping skills and in using a traditional skin boat.
|Nick Tanape, Sr.||
Nick Tanape, Sr. was a Sugpiaq Elder from Nanwalek, Alaska. He was born to Alma and Joe Tanape in English Bay (Nanwalek) in 1946 and grew up living a subsistence lifestyle of fishing and hunting and following his traditional cultural practices. He spent nearly all of his life in the village, except for serving in the Navy from 1967 to 1971. He worked a variety of jobs including commercial fishing, and continued to rely upon his subsistence hunting and fishing as his main food source. Nick... Read More