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Gov. Dunleavy Couldn’t Make it to Noorvik for His Inauguration. In Noorvik, the Ceremony Happened Anyway.

Due to hazardous flying conditions, Governor Mike Dunleavy couldn’t make it to Noorvik for his official inauguration this morning as planned. But shortly after his impromptu Kotzebue swearing-in, he did finally arrive in Noorvik, where he and his family received a warm welcome. Rose Dunleavy is from Noorvik, and the entire village seemed to rejoice to welcome her home.

While seats on stage meant for Dunleavy, Kevin Meyer, and their families remained empty this morning, the Noorvik Ceremony went on as planned. A group of children led by community member Lloyd Morris recited the pledge of allegiance in Inupiaq, and sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” also in Inupiaq.

Noorvik residents who attended the ceremony watched the live stream of Dunleavy being sworn in from Kotzebue, as it was broadcast on one of the school’s “smartboards.”

If community members were disappointed in the change of plans, they didn’t show it. Here’s Bobby Wells, a member of the Noorvik city council:

“The excitement was still here regardless of anyone being on stage… at the same time I saw Kotzebue down here where he was being sworn in… it’s not just us, it’s other people. And it’s also the urban areas. We all work together to get things done throughout the state.”

Around 1:20 p.m. this afternoon, the governor’s plane landed safely in Noorvik and he, his wife Rose, and his children made their way to the school gym.

They were met with cheers. After the first family took their seats, the community welcomed them in song. They both addressed the crowd gathered to meet them:

Rose: “Thank you everyone for making us welcome…”
Gov. Dunleavy: “Alaska, northwest Arctic, Arctic region… we’re all family… when we need some help, we pull together. That’s what Alaska’s all about… it’s a real honor to be here.”

Dunleavy, Meyer, and family spent a couple hours in Noorvik celebrating with the community before heading back on a charter flight home to Anchorage.

Image at top: Governor Mike Dunleavy is sworn into office on Monday, December 3. Photo: Stanley Wright.

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