In Alaska Native communities, the oral history and wisdom passed down through elders is highly revered.
Over the years, KNOM has collected and produced dozens of long-form interviews for the series Elder Voices, inviting elders in Western Alaska to share their insights and life stories. In recent months, the show has returned to air with a new season; the first episode featured an extended conversation with Hanna Takak of the community of Shaktoolik.
Takak tells listeners about the changes to daily life she has seen in her village, recalling an era before the widespread use of technology — or even electricity. She also remembers picking up KNOM from its first day on the air in 1971, using a battery-powered AM radio. Many of the subsistence activities Takak cherishes are still active in her home community, such as berry picking and collecting bird eggs, but she recalls a time when daily hunting and food gathering were more difficult, a time when subsistence was more essential to daily survival.
You can listen to Hanna Takak’s story here.
Image at top: Hanna Takak at home in Shaktoolik, seated in front of a portrait of her late husband. Photo: JoJo Phillips.