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

Ardith Weyiouanna

first broadcast Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Interview by Matthew Smith

In this episode
photo
Ardith Weyiouanna at the Shishmaref School in November 2011.
Ardith Weyiouanna grew up herding reindeer with her parents before moving to Shismaref as a young girl. Those formative years following the herd, learning how to subsist from her parents and her grandmother, had a profound influence on her. Even now, Ardith and her husband of almost 50 years, Johnnie Weyiouanna Sr., enjoy collecting berries, drying fish, and fermenting walrus. They are traditions that have been passed down over the years that they still continue to this day.

Marrying at a young age, and becoming a mother and grandmother early in life, prepared Ardith for what she says has been a life of mothering. Perhaps that’s why, even as a young mother, she began working with children at the Shishmaref school, and eventually became a special education aide and teacher’s aide. When one of her daughters was born deaf, Ardith learned American Sign Language without a second thought. She knew that she would do anything and everything she could to ensure her daughter had a successful life.

In this episode of Elder Voices, Ardith reflects on her life in Shishmaref, sharing stories of tradition, faith, and family.

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