BSNC has announced the awardees of its 2019 Young Providers Award as Adelaine “Addy” Ahmasuk of Nome honoring Lela Kiana Oman, and Trevor Savetilik of Shaktoolik honoring Jacob Ahwinona. The Young Providers Award honors young people from the BSNC region who contribute on a daily basis to the health and well-being of their families, communities and culture. Ahmasuk and Savetilik will be recognized at the 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders on Oct. 5 in Nome, Alaska.
Adelaine “Addy” Ahmasuk is an advocate for indigenous people and stays active year-round subsisting. Addy currently works as a commercial fisherwoman. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and plans to pursue further education. Addy formed an Inupiaq speaking club for young people and Elders to practice and learn Inupiaq. She has helped host a Norton Sound Indigenous Women and Girls’ gathering in conjunction with the Alaska Community Action on Toxics. Addy is passionate about her heritage, the history of Native peoples, Native languages, subsistence, Native rights, lands, clean water and indigenous plants and healing. Addy’s parents are Austin Ahmasuk and Marisha Skinna.
Addy will be recognized in honor of the late Lela Kiana Oman (Ahyakee). Lela was born in 1915 in Noorvik, Alaska. She moved to Nome as a young girl and resided there for the remainder of her life. She devoted her life to preserving traditional Inupiaq stories and passing on Inupiaq traditions. She has published a number of books of Native stories, including: Eskimo Legends (1966, Nome Press) and the Epic of Qayaq: The Longest Story Ever Told By My People (1995, Carleton University Press). Lela stayed busy sewing fur, fostering children and was active in the Nome Covenant Church. She represented Nome in the Mrs. Alaska pageant where she was selected by fellow participants as Mrs. Congeniality. Last year, Lela passed away peacefully surrounded by loving family members. At the time of her passing, Lela was BSNC’s oldest shareholder at 102 and a half years of age.
Trevor Savetilik is a young, self-motivated community member from the village of Shaktoolik. Trevor began hunting at the age of five with his dad, uncles and cousins and started commercial fishing for salmon and crab at the age of 10. From the start, Trevor always had a giving nature. When he is blessed with a catch, he thinks of the Elders and those who are unable to get out in the country. Trevor also knows of the importance of remaining active and being a good role model through leadership and good sportsmanship as captain of his basketball team. Trevor’s parents are Randy and April Savetilik.
Trevor will be recognized in honor of the late Jacob Ahwinona of White Mountain. Throughout his lifetime, Jacob was an articulate culture bearer, sharing knowledge passed from generation to generation, and a model of living one’s life in accordance with traditional Inupiaq values. Jacob moved to Nome to work on gold dredges for the U.S. Mining Company and was a maintenance mechanic and equipment operator for Nome Public Schools. After his retirement, Mr. Ahwinona remained active in the community. He served on the boards of Sitnasuak Native Corporation and Kawerak and was recognized by Sitnasuak as Elder of the Year in 2011. In 2003, the former Nome Receiving Home was named “Jacob’s House” in recognition of his volunteer efforts to improve the lives of children and families in the Bering Strait region. Jacob lived in Nome for more than 60 years and was married to the late Hannah (Anagick) Ahwinona from Unalakleet.