Culture Bearer:

Maurice Paista Ellirnaq Nanalook is the second son of the late David Nanalook and Julia Nanalook.

Paista is a Yuuyaraq/dance instructor for Ayaprun Elitnaurvik, the Kuskokwim Campus (UAF) and various local dance groups. Paista makes cultural items such as drums, fish traps, ice picks, manaq’s, etc.


Joseph Okitkun is a community health aide from Kotlik, Alaska, and is the son of Frieda Okitkun and grandson of the late Jack Okitkun Sr. from Pastuliq and Agnes Okitkun (Joe) from St. Michael.

Joseph attended Mt. Edgecumbe High School and graduated in May 2008. Joseph was hired as a Community Health Aide Trainee on June 2, 2012. Since becoming a health aide, Joe has received two ‘Health Aide of the Month’ awards.

Joseph is currently a Session III trained Health Aide and currently completing the on-line Session IV training. Joe organized weekly meetings among the regional Session IV distance learning class so that they can share their knowledge with each other. Joe is dedicated to serving his community and YKHC.   With all the knowledge he has gained, he is making a difference for Community Helath Aides within the YK Delta.

Parents of the Year:

Frank James is from Goodnews Bay and Helena is from Quinhagak. They have five beautiful children: Norman (18), Douglas (17), John (13), Freda (10), and Faith (4).   Frank and Helena teach their children to live the subsistence way of life. They live a Christian life and teach their children and don’t speak down to anyone. All respect is given when someone enters their lives. They encourage and guide others as well as accept strangers into their home.

Small Business:

Carl Jr. and Lisa Anvil both grew up in Bethel, Alaska. Carl is the son of Barbara and Carl O. Anvil Sr. Lisa is the daughter of Peggy Nerby-Crow and Thaddius Tikiun.

Carl and Lisa obtained a business license and started their business over 10 years ago out of their home in Bethel. They pushed forward through all hurdles and then temporarily placed their business in downtown Bethel, renting a building before purchasing their own. They converted this building from an auto shop to what it is now. One side is Lisa’s Party Depot which sells all types of party and holiday supplies, while the other side is Anvil’s Gun Cache, selling all types of hunting supplies and gear. Carl and Lisa proudly state “native owned and operated” on their business cards.

Healing Hands:

YKHC Dental Health Aide Program .


Minnie Redfox of Emmonak graduated from Chemawa Indian School in 1973.   Minnie worked at the BIA school which transitioned to the State in 1976. Minnie worked for the Lower Yukon School District for over 25 years and took independent study courses and earned her Associate of Arts Degree in 1984 through the Kuskokwim Community College. She was a cheerleading coach for one year and sponsored students on school trips. Right now, Minnie works as a care taker for Alzheimer’s Disease Resources and loves it because she learns from the elders and enjoys hearing their stories.

Elder of the Year:

Nicholai Pavilla is an elder of Atmautluak. Nicholai is married to the late Marie Ann Andrew and has seven children. Nicholai participates in the AVCP Healthy Families, and YKHC’s Calricaraq Program and teaches about the Yup’ik ways of living and suicide prevention.


Leonard Fitka Jr.known as “Fuddy” all his life is married to Gwendolyn. Together they have two girls and are expecting another.   Fuddy has been hunting since he was a young boy. He has been teaching his young cousins and nephew how to hunt and fish. He takes a lot of time to fish commercially and subsistence-wise and also fishes for his relatives. Fuddy takes pride in subsistence and is a true provider.

Public Service:

Loreen Steeves is the daughter of Aleck Aloysius of Holy Cross and Katrina Kameroff of Kalskag. Loreen is the Mayor of Kalskag, City Council Member, Traditional Council Member, and an AVCP Housing representative. Loreen helps others in need and helps keep elder freezers full of native foods for winter. Loreen wrote a Yup’ik story book for the schools in Bush Alaska. She managed and taught the only 4H club in Kalskag during high school. She was part of the Kalskag Elder Yup’ik dance group in the 70’s. She also helped with the establishment of the Traditional Council in Kalskag. Loreen received her culinary food service after high school and is working for the Kuspuk School District as a cook for 35 years. In her cooking she prepares native food for elders and youth.

Youth Leadership:

Byron Nicholai is the son of David and Dora Nicholai of Toksook Bay.   Byron is highly active in keeping his traditions and culture alive by promoting singing and drumming in his native language. He has traveled throughout the states and recently performed for US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in Washington, DC. He has encouraged youth wherever he goes to learn to love their traditional ways of life and the love for song and dance. One of his top promotions is always remember who you are and where you come from and is known to acknowledge God in his blessings.

Byron was awarded the Spirit of the Youth Award and was featured at KTUU Morning edition. He is inspiring youth all around the world and has reached close to 20,000 followers on his Facebook page, I Sing, You Dance. He is a role model in his school where he is the leader in his dance group; plays basketball; and was selected to represent Team Alaska this summer.

Law Enforcement:

John J. Friendly is the son of Albert Friendly and the late Elena Friendly of Eek. He is married to Angeline (Mary) Friendly with whom he has two daughters and four sons.

John has been working his way up through the ranks to VPSO Sergeant. He cares for his community and goes above and beyond his job duties as a VPSO for Eek.   John works with the youth in his community and was a Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education Officer who taught “DARE” to the youth at school.