Elva “Willie” Kanuak (Ahmasuk) Amidon was instrumental in the formation of the organization Alaskans on the Potomac, which was active in the early days of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). Alaskans on the Potomac provided supportive services to Alaskans and Alaska Native people visiting Washington D.C. Amidon represented Alaska on a float at President Nixon’s inauguration.
Amidon was born on March 6, 1938, in Wales, Alaska. She is one of 14 children from Harold and Anna Qiliq Ahmasuk. Amidon was a lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol when she met Gene Loren Amidon, a young airman stationed in Nome and following a romantic courtship, married him on April 23, 1958. Elva and Gene had seven children during their 63 years of marriage. Due to the nature of Gene’s career in the U.S. Air Force, they moved to numerous assignments all over the world and the U.S. including Germany, Turkey, Washington D.C., South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, Mississippi, Missouri and Wisconsin. After retiring from the Air Force in 1977, Gene and Elva returned to Alaska.
Amidon served as an executive assistant at the Shareholder Division of the CIRI Foundation, President of the Ladie’s Auxillary Service at the Alaska Native Medical Center and a court watch for the Cook Inlet Native Association for Abused Women in Crisis. She was also a master seamstress and an avid hunter who shared the majority of her harvest. Amidon passed away on Jan. 12, 2022.