Uaf 2012 141 10

Emily Ticasuk Ivanoff Brown

Teacher and Humanitarian

Emily Ticasuk Ivanoff Brown was born in Unalakleet, Alaska in 1904 and raised in Skaktoolik on the Norton Sound coast. Emily’s family is of Russian and Iñupiaq descent, and her Iñupiaq name, Ticasuk, means: "Where the four winds gather their treasures from all parts of the world . . . the greatest of which is knowledge." When Emily was about 15, she was sent to Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon, where she stayed for 9 years, completing her elementary, high school, and teaching certificates. Emily returned to Alaska and began her long teaching career in Kotzebue.

As a teacher for over 30 years, Emily developed a passion for both health and bilingual language learning. In 1954, after 10 years of taking summer courses while working full-time during the academic year, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in education. She continued her education, even into her retirement, earning a second bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in the Iñupiaq language from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Emily passed away in 1982, just a few weeks before the University of Alaska Fairbanks recognized her contributions with an honorary doctorate in the humanities. She is remembered for her lifelong dedication to education and Iñupiaq language and cultural revitalization. She was awarded a presidential citation by President Nixon for her “exceptional service to others, in the finest American tradition” and was cited by the Alaska State Legislature for preservation of Alaska Native culture and language multiple times.

Did you know Emily and have a story you’d like to share? We’d love to know about the powerful women in your life. Share your images and stories with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging us (@anchoragemuseum and #ExtraToughWomenAK) and we’ll add them to our ongoing digital curation project. Stay tuned for more #ExtraToughWomenAK posts and come see the exhibition on view through Labor Day.

Photo credits: John D. Lyle Papers, Alaska and Polar Regions Collections, Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks, UAF-2012-133-461a and UAF-2012-141-10.

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