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Elder Voices: James Okpealuk

James Okpealuk is a skilled carpenter. Throughout his life, the Teller Elder has helped build many houses in Alaska, including homes in Fairbanks, new houses in Nome, and the old school in Teller. But he remembers his traditional home in Little Diomede with a smile: “All sod and rocks…more like a shack. Small, but very comfortable.”

On October’s episode of Elder Voices, James remembers his full and varied life. He shares his knowledge about carving ivory and subsistence hunting, and fondly recalls memories of his youth on little Diomede– helping his mother bake bread, watching his brother carve ivory, and hunting seals and walrus with his father. He recalls the joy of the holiday season, celebrating Christmas with a week of Eskimo games and a night of Eskimo dancing.

Hear James share his memories, stories and wisdom on the newest episode of Elder Voices:

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We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.

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