Archaeologist screening sediments at the Tuluaq Hill site in Noatak National Preserve. NPS photo.

Keynote Speakers

Luncheon: Thursday, February 28, 2019 @ 12:00pm  (Old St. Joe’s Hall)

Speaker: B. Yaayuk Alvanna-Stimpfle, Kawerak Eskimo Heritage Program

 “Inupiaq Language Journey”

My Inupiaq language journey began at the East End of Nome that we called “Qiġuutaq.” My generation was the first generation to grow up at Qiġuutaq starting in the mid1950s. By 1964, school age children from King Island, Alaska were forced to move to Nome by Bureau of Indian Affairs education officials. The following year, all the families stayed in Nome. Amid these chaotic times, my grandmother, Suksraq Margaret Nerizoc (Niġiruq) and later my mother, Taaġluk Magdeline Omiak raised our family all in Inupiaq. In their household, none of the family members were allowed to speak in English.

My professional language and education career began in these humble beginnings. My language journey continues today to make sure our Alaska Native languages stay alive through language revitalization and maintenance.


Awards Banquet: Friday, March 1, 2019 @ 6:00pm  (Old St. Joe’s Hall)

Speaker: Dr. Igor Krupnik, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center

 “NOME: Anthropology of Space, Place, and Home”

This keynote address will be dedicated to the changing visions of our conference host location, the town of Nome; it is based on the analysis of historical sources, as well as on my own personal experiences over the past three decades of visitations, starting from my first arrival in a small plane from Provideniya, Russia in August 1990. The presentation explores Nome’s many faces and historical/cultural roles at three different scales: as a space, a rolling historical and international crossroads (‘regional scale’); as a place, a hub for the Alaska Bering Strait region, a vibrant town, and a nexus for its satellite rural communities (‘local scale’); and as a home to people who live here or who, like myself, keep coming to Nome and feel they somehow belong to this place (‘personal scale’). Since the official founding of Nome in 1900 with a registered population of 12,500, the original tent city of gold miners has experienced several cycles of prominence and decline due to its unique location, its proximity to the Russian border across the Bering Strait, and now to the trans-Arctic shipping lanes of the 21st century. Yet throughout the generations, it has remained the beating heart of a diverse region inhabited by people of different backgrounds and languages living in scores of smaller towns and villages. These diverse faces of Nome will be addressed through the use of historical photographs, written records, and personal memories of the people I have met since 1990 who have helped intimate the enlightening distinction between the place and the home.