What is Real Native?

Real Native was a slur used when I was growing up for people who act, talk, walk, think, or even dress too native. Like being native was a bad thing. Real Native was and is still used a slur used by people so colonized and assimilated to western society that they themselves look down on their own identity, humanity and way of being. Today I’m celebrating those who are Real Native. 

Real Native reflects truth in our small Alaska communities. Real Native celebrates the people who make rural Alaska home. Who are experts at life in the north. Who have respect for all living things. Who know how to take care of this earth. Who bring perspective and knowledge this world needs. 

I am an Inuk writer. A former KNOM Radio reporter and news director in Nome, Alaska, I am now a freelance writer in my hometown of Unalakleet. I cut fish, make seal oil, and after decades of learning in western education systems, I am thirsty for Indigenous knowledge, Inupiaq language, and a deeper understanding of the Inuit mindset. 



2020 Alaska Literary Award

2019 Alaska Governor’s Arts & Humanities Award
Distinguished Service in Leadership: chosen by Governor Bill Walker, the award recognizes an Alaska individual or organization that has helped strengthen communities through their commitment to improve Alaska’s social, economic, and civic life.

2016 Alaska Press Club Award – Best Column
“Why can’t Alaska media portray the rural Alaska I know?”

2014 Alaska Press Club Award – First Place Best Humor
“Who needs a man once an Alaska girl has mastered the chainsaw?”

2014 Alaska Broadcasters Association Goldie Award – Radio Live Sports Event Division 2
“Iditarod 2014: Dallas Seavey, Aliy Zirkle Race to Record-breaking Time to Nome”

2011 Alaska Broadcasters Association Goldie Award – Uniquely Alaskan
Program Division 2

“Eating Alaska: Fish Faces”

2010 Alaska Broadcasters Association Goldie Award – Radio Live Sports Event Division 2
“2010 Iditarod Finish: Lance Mackey”

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