Amber Cunningham is an Inupiaq woman from the northwestern village of Unalakleet, Alaska. She is married and has three children: Keane (11), Brian (10), and Cassidy (2). She works for the Bering Strait School District as the Student Registrar.
I am the daughter of Wayne and Carol Wilson. My maternal grandparents are Peter “Roger” and Theresa Nanouk of Unalakleet, Alaska. My paternal grandparents were James and Betty Wilson of Abilene, Texas. Theresa is my only living grandparent. My grandmother, Theresa, is the eldest daughter of Joseph and Anna Etageak (Savetilik). Joseph’s parents were Etagiak and Ida Etagiak of Unalakleet. Anna’s parents were Savetilik and Grace Savetilik.
My grandfather, Roger, was the son of Peter John Nanouk and Martha Nanouk (Isaac). Stephon and Mary Nanouk of Koyuk, Alaska raised my great-grandfather, Peter Nanouk as their own. His biological parents were Punahsluk (Bonathluk) and Anelan. Peter’s older sister was Rhoda Sookiayak who lived in Shaktoolik.
Martha’s parents were Marion Gonangnon (Nashalook) and Joseph Isaac. Marion was the daughter of the last chief of Unalakleet, Chief Nashalook. Joseph’s parents were Ahnekon and Henry Neuman (Finland). Henry was the Alaska Commercial Company manager in Saint Michael, Alaska in the 1880’s. Ahnekon’s parents were Nanouk and Kinyerah.
I share all of this information about my family because I have many connections across Alaska. I also believe it is important to know where you come from. Knowledge of your family tree is one of the Inupiaq traditional values.