The Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) honored remarkable Alaska Native individuals and families at the President’s Awards ceremony, held on Friday, October 20. These awards recognize outstanding achievements across various fields that exemplify Alaska Native values and dedication Native values and dedication to public service. Two of the esteemed awards found their way to Nome.
Etta Tall received the prestigious Della Keats “Healing Hands” award for her accomplishments in providing healing and healthcare to her community. This award is a tribute to the pioneering work of Dr. Della Keats, a visionary in the field of tribal medicine in Northwest Alaska.
In her acceptance speech, Tall shared her inspiration, recounting a visit from Dr. Ted Mala, an Iñupiaq doctor, to her hometown of Little Diomede during her teenage years. Her fascination with herbal medicine emerged when she sought relief for a chest cold and, receiving no medication, experimented with stinkweed, extracting its healing potential. This experience ignited her curiosity about the medicinal properties of local flora and their potential to alleviate various ailments. Her contributions have had a profound impact on the well-being of her community.
The Walter Soboleff “’Warriors of Light’” award was bestowed upon the Hoogendorn brothers, Oliver “Tusagvik” and Wilson “Mungnak.” This honor recognizes individuals who have unified, uplifted, and enriched the spirits of Alaska Native people. Earlier this year, the Hoogendorn brothers secured victory in the USA Network’s “Race to Survive: Alaska” television series, showcasing their resilience. In 2017, they were the first to summit Denali during that climbing season, displaying their unwavering determination.
The brothers attributed their success to the steadfast support from their friends, family, and significant others, emphasizing that success is never achieved in isolation.
Image at the top: Oliver and Wilson Hoogendorn beam with pride as they receive a standing ovation from the crowd. Photo by Matt Faubion/AKPM, used with permission.
Image in the middle: Photo of Etta Tall, used with permission.