Since 2008, the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame has recognized women who have worked hard to make their communities, their state and even the world, a better place. 

All of their stories are online on the Hall of Fame’s website.

Some of the names are familiar. Others are not. But as you delve into their biographies, you begin to realize that Alaska would be a much different place without them.

And the stories of these women are much different than they are in other states for a variety of reasons – the climate, the cultures, and the challenges of living in Alaska. And of course, they are usually not above wearing Xtra Tuffs.

This year, ten women were inducted into the Hall of Fame – all with fascinating life histories. This week on Frontiers, we took time out to share a few of those.

Here are some of this week’s highlights:

  • Class of 2019: Frontiers followed the festivities, as new members were welcomed into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame. 
  • Bev Hoffman profile: This prominent community activist from Bethel talks about facing her fears and finding her voice through community service. We tried hard to do Bev’s story justice. She helped to start the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race, worked tirelessly for a quarter of a century to get a pool and recreation center built in Bethel, and is also a longtime fisheries advocate. And that’s just the short list of her passion projects.
  • Marie Adams Carroll profile: She grew up in Barrow, a town that was later renamed Utqiagvik, in a time when dog teams were used for transportation and snow machines were just beginning to appear. Marie shares lessons in Inupiat leadership – how she used her culture and traditions to protect the subsistence harvest of bowhead whales.
  • Featured guest: Bonnie Jack, an Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame board member, explains how you can nominate a woman. Jack writes most of the biographies for the women and shares a few of her favorite stories about them.
  • Mother’s Day photos: We asked our friends on Facebook to send us their favorite photos of their mother and were amazed at the response. We showed as many as time would allow on this week’s show. Just like the women in the Hall of Fame, these photos had a uniquely Alaskan flavor. We’ll try to post as many as possible on Facebook.

Special thanks to Peter Twitchell, a Yup’ik singer-songwriter for his song Aanaka, his Mother’s Day tribute to his mother, Sarah. It accompanied our Mother’s Day photo gallery.

Here’s the English translation:

Aanaka (Mother)

By Peter Twitchell

My mom was very thankful,

When she realized she was going to have a baby.

She wanted a child

So my relatives shared her joy,

When she presented her pregnancy to them.

After I was born,

She raised me with a watchful eye,

Guiding me down the good path.

And because she loved me,

She instructed me in a scolding-like manner.

And she tried to live by those values

She taught me.

My mother is thankful for me,

Because I am okay.

She’s thankful for me.

She’s holding my hand and letting go.

Sometimes I am attracted to a girl.

I feel good because now I have a soul mate.

And when one of our children is misbehaving,

She faces the child and corrects him or her.

I’m thankful for her joy

I’m thankful for my mother.

I’m thankful for you.

Mother, although you are gone,

I am thankful for you.

As I worked on this show, sitting at my typewriter, I’d catch myself smiling, thinking about some of the things the women said at their induction ceremony on April 30. It filled me with hope.  Hope you enjoy our tribute to Alaska women – and to moms across the state, “Happy Mother’s Day!” 

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