Elder Voices: Walter Toolie

Savoonga whale catch, 2016

Walter Toolie tells his story of arriving in Savoonga as a young boy, of growing up there, of work on the oil pipeline in the 1970s, and of hunting and fishing throughout St. Lawrence Island his entire life.

Hear how he began to learn Siberian Yup’ik in his youth:

“When I first got here, I had a hard time with the boys my age. When the older people listened to the boys teaching me dirty words only, they told me not to stick around them. They told me to stick around them, the older people.”

Tune in each week for another episode of Elder Voices, sharing western Alaska’s history through elders’ stories.

Image at top: the Savoonga community gathers to help with a whale catch, late spring 2016. Photo courtesy of Brianne Gologergen.