Elders and Youth

Editor’s note: This story is produced in part through a partnership between First Alaskans Institute and Koahnic Broadcast Corporation. Willie Iġġiaġruk Hensley serves on the First Alaskans Institute board of trustees, and previously served on the board for Koahnic Broadcast Corporation.

The North Slope community of Utqiagvik recently mourned the passing of its oldest elder.

Ugiaqtaq Wesley Aiken passed away Jan. 6. He was 93 years old. Aiken was born in 1926 in the village, long before the region was driven by oil development.

“He came from the life of hard work,” said Martha Stackhouse, Aiken’s daughter.

"Haa shagoon ... it's our ancestors and future generations, everything we were and everything we will be."