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Influenza Epidemic 1918

For Gov. Dunleavy, COVID-19 evokes century-old family loss to the flu in rural Alaska

Jun 19, 2020

As Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy faced his first set of decisions around the COVID-19 pandemic, a handful of memories swirled in his mind — including a century-old one that was unique to rural Alaska.

Dunleavy grew up in Pennsylvania. But his wife, Rose, is Inupiaq, raised in the Northwest Alaska village of Noorvik, and her mother once told Dunleavy a story that connects to the state’s traumatizing experience in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

Joaqlin Estus / KNBA

  Nov. 12, 2015

A Juneau man making a film about historical trauma and Alaska Natives faces two challenges. First, he is terminally ill with A-L-S, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Second, he’s getting criticism that because he’s White, he can’t do justice to the topic.