Sinrock Mary overcame incredible personal hardship and discriminatory laws against women and Alaska Native people to become a successful business woman and one of the wealthiest women in Alaska.
Born on the Seward Peninsula in 1870 and raised in St. Michael, she was named Changunak (Mary), but became known as Sinrock Mary, Queen of Reindeer. A confident and assertive woman, she fought to inherit half of a herd of reindeer from her first husband, Charlie Antisarlook, after his death in 1900. She grew and protected her herd from gold miners who, desperate for easy access to meat, tried coercion tactics, including offering to marry her, and shooting at her herd.
She moved her herd to Unalakleet in 1901 and married Andrew Andrewuk. In addition to having business smarts, she was also good-natured and generous. She trained many herders, all the while maintaining her rights. Mary passed in 1948. Her story set a positive example for many women from the BSNC region for decades to come, and she continues to be a role model today.