Elder Voices: Harriet Penayah, Part One

This episode is the first of a three-part series featuring Yupik elder Harriet Penayah.

When Harriet Penayah was growing up in Savoonga in the 1930s, the Alaska native village looked much the same as it does today. “No igloos,” she says, “no sod houses.” Just wooden-frame homes clustered above the black sandy beach. But, she says, the Savoonga of her childhood was marked by a stronger sense of community.

“Everyone helped each other,” Harriet says. “When they got food, they provided for everyone, together.”

In this first episode of a three-part series, Harriet Penayah reflects on the hard years before planes, four-wheelers, and doctors frequented the St. Lawrence Island village the Yupik elder still calls home.

Listen here:


Tune into KNOM Thursday, May 2 at 9 and 6 o’clock to hear the next episode.