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Tikasuk “Emily” (Ivanoff) Brown

Photo of Tikasuk “Emily” (Ivanoff) Brown
Tikasuk (Eskimo Name) 19041982
Categories: 2009 Alumnae, Education, Public Service


Emily Ivanoff Brown

1904 – 1982

Born in Unalakleet, raised in Shaktoolik and educated at Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon, Ms. Brown, whose Eskimo name was Ticasuk, was an educator for 30 years and devoted herself to record and pass on knowledge about the unwritten history of all her Inupiaq people. She obtained a provisional teaching certificate and became a grade school teacher and an advocate of bilingual education. In 1954, at the age of 50, Emily began 10 years of attending summer school at the university to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in education while teaching full time during the academic years. She received two B.A.’s and a Mater’s degrees from the University of Alaska, finishing her graduate work in the 1970’s. It was while working on her Master’s degree in 1974 that she published her first book, Grandfather of Unalakleet, which was later republished as The Roots of Ticasuk: an Eskimo Woman’s Family Story. Emily’s native name, “Ticasuk” means: “Where the four winds gather their treasures from all parts of the world . . . the greatest of which is knowledge. Her best known book, released in 1987, Tales of Ticasuk: Eskimo Legends and Stories, presents several Inuit legends in Inuit Mythology.

Emily’s service to her state was widely known and she received many awards throughout her lifetime, including a presidential citation by Richard Nixon for her “exceptional service to others, in the finest American tradition.” She was twice cited by the Alaska legislature for preservation of Alaska Native culture and language.

Source: University of Alaska Electronic Info Spot. Emily Ivanoff Brown’s, “Tales of Ticasuk,” from the forward by Journalism Professor Jimmy Bedford.

Emily Ivanoff Brown, Tales of Ticasuk. 1987, University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks