Elim’s Eliza Katongan

“If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to turn 100 years old,” first-year KNOM volunteer Kristin Leffler recently said on our airwaves, “Elim’s Eliza Katongan can tell you.”

“(It feels)… good,” the widely beloved elder from the Western Alaskan community says, with humorous brevity, in a report Kristin filed last month. Kristin, and fellow first-year volunteer producer Courtney Cousins, went to Elim (a community well within KNOM’s AM listening range) to witness the momentous gathering of Eliza Katongan’s (kuh-TOON-gen) many friends and family members to mark her 100th journey around the Sun. As Kristin reported, the birthday brought together many generations, with not only great grandchildren but also great great grand-children in attendance. Over a joyous celebration and the sharing of traditional foods, many extolled the kindness and broad, diverse life experience of the Elim elder, whose birth (in 1915) preceded Alaskan statehood itself (1959) by more than four decades.

We encourage you to see Kristin’s full story on this exceptional, unique event; this is one not to miss. Eliza’s centennial birthday is not only a milestone in her own life but, also, a touchstone of the cultural values, traditions, and character of our region, the region your support allows us to serve.

We’re so grateful to you for making possible service trips like this one. We’re glad to report that, thanks to an ongoing sponsorship agreement with a regional air carrier, Kristin and Courtney’s airfare to Elim was completely free. But, as always, we wouldn’t have volunteers to send to Elim, or any of the remote communities we serve, without you. Thank you!