Elder Voices
Airs: The last Tuesday of every month, 6pm & 10pm

Walter Toolie

first broadcast Tuesday, June 28, 2011; encore on Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Interview by Matthew Smith

In reverence, we present an encore of our June 2011 episode of Elder Voices featuring Walter Toolie, a Savoonga elder who passed away after his interview first aired. Walter was the oldest elder in Savoonga when we interviewed him.

Below you'll find the audio, text and photos that accompanied the first airing of this program in June. We're honored to re-broadcast this episode of Elder Voices.

In this episode
Walter ToolieWalter Toolie shows harpoon
Savoonga elder Walter Toolie shows a traditional harpoon that he used to hunt walrus as a young man. (You'll find more photos of Walter on KNOM's Facebook page.)
At 84 years old, Walter Toolie is the oldest elder in Savoonga. He moved to the village from Oregon when he was a little boy. He learned Yupik and spent his youth as many from Savoonga spend theirs: hunting, trapping, and fishing.

He remembers how to prepare for whaling hunts and his first successful walrus catch, and he recalls one year when he caught over 200 Arctic foxes.

Walter raised a family in Savoonga and, other than some work-related sojourns to Nome, Anchorage, and other cities in Alaska, he remained there his entire life. He even joined the Territorial Guard (and later the National Guard), retiring after 10 years of service for health issues.

Walter remains an avid hunter and shares his experience with his children and grandchildren, in Savoonga and beyond.

Hear this Elder Voices episode.

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