Naomi Gaede-Penner
SKU: 9781621473626 Category: Product ID: 2294


The elders of the last roving bands of Nunamiuts, and the only inland Eskimos in Alaska, were determined to provide education within their settlement, rather than send their children to boarding school. The obstacles were daunting: no school building, no teacherage, no roads to transport building supplies, no airstrip, no wood for fuel except willows, no public services besides a post office, and few English-speaking adults and children. When Anna Bortel flew with a bush pilot doctor to Anaktuvuk Pass, do an educational assessment, they begged her to return and teach. As told in ‘A’ is for Alaska: Teacher to the Territory, Anna knew the daily living requirements would be steep, much more so than those of teaching. She deliberated. She prayed. She accepted the challenge. A year later, Ernest Gruening, U.S. Senator from Alaska, described the dilemma Alaskan educators faced and the determination of the Native people to obtain an education. He held up Anna Bortel as the ideal teacher, “one able to comprehend their problem, one kind and sympathetic, and above all one able to adjust to all conditions that might face her.” Read how Anna Bortel carved a place in Alaska history and taught children that ‘A’ is for Anaktuvuk, Alaska, while the Anaktuvuk people taught her how to live in their world.