Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: Promoting Native Culture - Joan Hamilton passes away

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Promoting Native Culture - Joan Hamilton passes away

Writing Raven at Alaska Real pointed me in the direction of this Anchorage Daily News tribute:
Joan Hamilton, one of Alaska's most energetic proponents of Native culture, civil rights and health care, died of natural causes on Saturday at her home in Scappoose, Ore. She was 65.

A Cup'ik Eskimo, Hamilton was well-known in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. But she enjoyed a moment of national fame as the "stink head chef" when the National Geographic cable television network featured her preparing the regional delicacy made from fermented fish heads.
I was really interested in reading the rest of her history:
At a time when Alaska Natives, especially Native women, were denied equality, she became a licensed practical nurse at several hospitals in Alaska and the Lower 48, supervisor of the Northwest Free Clinic in Salt Lake City, program director of the Alcohol/Drug Abuse Prevention office of RuralCap in Anchorage, administrator of the Tundra Women Coalition and chairman of the board for KYUK public broadcasting in Bethel.

She was also a board member of the Alaska Civil Liberties Union.

In the 1990s she became the director of the Yupiit Piciryarait Culture Center in Bethel during a period when that museum helped create major collections of historic art and craft from the region, including a groundbreaking exhibit of Yup'ik masks and the "Yuungnaqpiallerput" exhibit currently on display at the Anchorage Museum.

She contributed essays to the Daily News on topics ranging from Native foods to the epidemic of suicides in rural Alaska.
It's a sad loss for the Community.


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