The Kawerak Elders Advisory Committee, left to right- Jacob Ahwinona, Merlin Kanooka, Vincent Tocktoo, Dolly Holly, Vincent Pikonganna, Faye Ongtowasruk, Charlie Fitka, Esther Kimoktoak, with Retired Natural Resources VP, Rose Fosdick in the background.

A little about the Eskimo Heritage Program

Kawerak’s Eskimo Heritage Program (EHP) was established in 1981 to record and preserve cultural information related to the Region’s culture and history, and makes them available for research and educational purposes. EHP has a collection of recorded stories, songs, family genealogies and oral history. The various topics recorded include: hunting, fishing, boat construction, skin sewing, gathering and preparation of food.

The Eskimo Heritage Program and the Katirvik Cultural Center are guided by the Kawerak Elders Advisory Committee (KEAC) and the Kawerak Board of Directors. There are 9 KEAC members who represent the different geographic areas in our region. The KEAC meet twice per year, in the spring and fall. The EHP collection includes 1,200 audiotapes, 300 videotapes, 7,000 slides, 3,500 photographs and a small library. EHP is always open to adding to the collection.

Copies of media, photographs and audio recordings are available to Tribal members. A small fee is required, or you can bring a blank CD, DVD or jump drive. EHP staff can also assist you view or listen to the materials in our office. For Non-Tribal Members, a Patron Application must be completed to access the collection. If you have personal photographs or recordings that you would like to have available for generations to come, please contact us. We will assist in duplicating or in recording your collection onto CD or DVD. If your school or community is conducting any research and documentation of Elders, please contact EHP for collaboration. If you would like to volunteer within our program, EHP has opportunities for community service and involvement in EHP.


Vision, Planning and Contributions of Cultural Experts

Elders and Indigenous Cultural Experts from around the region came together many times to plan and share their knowledge during the years of planning. Adjacent is a picture of some of the Cultural Advisory Committee members:

Among the many Indigenous Experts and Elders that have contributed to planning the Center over the years, here is a list of some of (not all inclusive) individuals who have shared precious knowledge: Austin Ahmasuk, Brandon Ahmasuk, Carolyn Ahkvaluk, Jacob Ahwinona, Eleanor Amaktoolik, Georgiana Anasogock, Anders Iyaaka Apassingok, Rose Attatayuk, Simon Bekoalok, Wilbur Booshu, Esther Bourdon, Josephine Bourdon, Peter Buck, Loretta Bullard, Iver Campbell, Annie Conger, Lisa Ellanna, Margaret Ellanna, Alice Fitka, Charlie Fitka, Rose Fosdick, Kacie Fullwood, Linda Gologergen, Matilda Hardy, Roben Itchoak, Donna James, Wesley Jessup, Merlin Kanooka, Dolly Kugzruk, Jonella Larson, John Lockwood, Ursula Lyon, Peter Martin, Frederick Buster Murray, Roger Nassuk Sr., Clara Olanna, Faye Ongtowasruk, Monica Oyoumick, Raymond and Sylvia Paniataaq, John Penetac, Sr., Vincent Pikonganna, Nita Rearden, Colleen Reynolds, Amy Russel, Moriah Sallafie, Flora Simon, John Sinnok, Bernadette Alvanna-Stimpfle, Marjorie Tahbone, Sandra Tahbone, Vincent Tocktoo, Morris Toolie, Clement Ungott, Phyllis Walluk, Winton Weyapuk, Edwin Weyiouanna, Tanya Wongittilin, the Kawerak Board of Directors, and many more. Heartfelt thanks for your dedication to ensuring our cultures are represented in the first tribally owned and operated Cultural Center and Museum for the Bering Strait Region!

Donors to the Center

There have been major donors that have made it possible for us to open our doors and share cultural education with the region’s schools. Major donors include: the Rasmuson Foundation, Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, Sitnasuak Native Corporation, Bering Straits Native Corporation, Norton Sound Health Corporation, Kawerak Board of Directors, The Weinberg Foundation, Wells Fargo, and many others! We are grateful to you for sharing the vision of the Elders of the Bering Strait region!

Your generous donations have made it possible for the Katirvik to keep the doors open and the lights on. Those donating the level of $500,000 or more are our Bowhead Whale donors. Those who have donated more than $400,000 are our Beluga Whale donors. Walrus level donors are those that have given more than $300,000. Bearded Seal level donors have given more than$200,000. Halibut donors are those that have donated more than $100,000. King Salmon donors have shared $75,000 or more. Red Salmon donors are those that have shared more than $50,000. Silver Salmon donors have given more than $25,000. Chum Salmon donors have shared more than $15,000. Pink Salmon donors have given the Center more than $10,000. Trout level donors are those that have given more than $5,000. Arctic Char donors are those that have donated more than $1,000. Tom Cod donors are those that have shared $500 or more. And Herring donors are those generous donors who have given $100 or more. The Katirvik Cultural Center maintains a donor wall in which those organizations and individuals who have given major donations are proudly honored depicting their names and the levels of their contributions.


The Katirvik could not have been a reality without the generous support of individual donors, giving what they can over the years. Quyaana to all those who have given the Katirvik a chance to thrive!

We would like to thank the following donors for their generous giving:

  • Dr. Barbara Amarok
  • Alaska Commercial Company
  • Alaska Marine Lines
  • Alaska Mental Health Trust
  • Alaska Permanent Capital Management
  • Alaska State Museum
  • Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
  • Aldrich Pears and Associates
  • Bernadette Alvanna-Stimpfle
  • Stan Anderson
  • Apassingok Family
  • Jerome and Lydia Apatiki
  • AT&T
  • Irene Aukongak
  • Sylvester Ayek
  • Melanie Bahnke
  • Reatha Bahnke
  • Dorothy Barr
  • Agnew::Beck
  • Bering Strait Native Corporation
  • Bering Straits School District
  • Alice Bioff
  • Jackie Bloom
  • John Bockman
  • Arin Melissa Brenner
  • Loretta Bullard
  • Cynthia Cabrera
  • Tara Cicatello
  • CIRI Foundation
  • Dahle Family
  • Mary David
  • Dr. Bathsheba Demuth
  • Jennifer Demir
  • Julie Dickerson
  • Matthew Dixon
  • DOWL
  • Diane Dufresne
  • Jovan Dull
  • Danielle Dupre
  • Rita Eagle
  • Lisa Ellanna
  • Margaret Ellanna
  • Barrett Eningowuk
  • Trevor Eningowuk
  • First Alaskans Institute
  • GCI
  • Blanche Garnie
  • Sara Germaine
  • Sarah Gjestvang
  • Joanna Going
  • Crystal Golden
  • Lonnie Gooden
  • Jessica Graham
  • Laura Hamilton
  • Kirstie Henry
  • Sarah Henry
  • Calliope Huet
  • Anne Ivanoff
  • Donna James
  • Natalie Kaningok
  • Merlin Kanooka
  • Diane Kaplan
  • Pamela Karalunas
  • Kawerak Board of Directors
  • Robert Keith
  • Sonya Kelliher-Combs
  • Ronald Kirk
  • Deborah Knight
  • Nathan Komonaseak
  • Konaig
  • Inc.
  • Denise Koonooka
  • Sarah Kristiansen
  • Kroger
  • Angela Larson
  • Linda Leary
  • Patricia Lillie
  • Jessica Limbird
  • Gianna Macri
  • Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies
  • Jordan Marshall
  • Shirley Martin
  • Eva Menadelook
  • Robert Michaud
  • Denise Michels
  • Pearl Mikulski
  • Odin Miller
  • Dawn Mocan
  • Christina Moore
  • Mountain Dogs racing
  • Justin Nanouk
  • National Endownment for the Humanities
  • Bob and May Nelson
  • Nome Community Center
  • Nome Discovery Tours
  • Eileen Norbert
  • Northern Air Cargo
  • Northern Logistics
  • Northwest Arctic Technical and Career Center
  • Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation
  • Norton Sound Health Corporation
  • Ocean Conservancy
  • Igluguq Okleasik
  • Ralph Frankie Olanna and Family
  • Walter Ozenna
  • Maligiaq Padilla
  • Sylvia and Raymond Paniataaq
  • Luanne Pelagio
  • Elizabeth Perry
  • Nathaniel Perry
  • Teresa Perry
  • Kate Persons
  • Frederick Pete Sr.
  • Anthony Phillips
  • Charity Pihlaja
  • Vincent Pikonganna
  • Panganga Pungowiyi
  • Roberta Quintavell
  • Rasmuson Foundation
  • Donna Ray
  • Julie Raymond-Yakoubian
  • Miles Reader
  • Ellen Reinig
  • James Reinig
  • Ellen Jane Richard
  • Curtis Rock
  • Sarah Rowan
  • Richard Russell
  • Amy Russell-Jamgochian
  • Safeway of Nome
  • Moriah Sallaffie
  • Jaclyn Sallee
  • Kohler Schmidt
  • Ed Schubert
  • Gail Schubert
  • Ida Seetot
  • Shaktoolik Native Corporation
  • Anahma Shannon
  • Megan Sharetts
  • Susie Silook
  • Nancy Sims
  • Sitnasuak Native Corporation
  • Sarah Asper Smith
  • Jonathan Sousa
  • Jim Stimpfle
  • Trevor Storrs
  • Summit Day Media
  • Tohcyahdaymah Tahbone
  • Talking Circle Media
  • Kirsten Timbers
  • Charles Titus
  • Henry Titus
  • Stanley Tocktoo
  • Robert Tokienna
  • Crystal Toolie
  • Gregory Toolie
  • Roselia Towarak
  • Timothy Towarak
  • S Lane Tucker
  • University of California Berkeley
  • Brian Weckwerth
  • Wells Fargo
  • Deborah White
  • Dale Winslow
  • Savanna Wright
  • Rebecca Young

Katirvik Cultural Center Team

Lisa Navraq Ellanna
Katirvik Cultural Center Director
Tanya Sivugnaan Wongittilin
Tanya Sivugnaan Wongittilin
Katirvik Cultural Center Manager of Operations