49 Voices: Nicolai Alokli of Kodiak

Nicolai Alokli of Kodiak (Photo by Janet Kotwas, Courtesy of Alutiiq Museum and Archeological Repository)

This week, we’re hearing from Nicolai Alokli in Kodiak. Alokli was a fisherman in his youth and has lived in Old Harbor and the Alitak cannery area.

Listen now

ALOKLI: I’m 82 years, and I’m an only child. My mom died when I was five, and I never really got to know her. My dad died when I was 14. I’ve been on my own since I was 14. I grew up all by myself. I’d say I did pretty good.

All my friends from Old Harbor speak Alutiiq. That’s how I kept my language strong. Grandpa was a reader in church, a Russian reader. He used to read the Gospel in Russian in church, and he’d read the Gospel in Alutiiq. I understood every word of it. He was teaching me to speak Russian, but he passed away before I learned.

I lost my oldest boy. He just passed away, I can’t remember… ten, 15 years ago. He was only 43 years old. I started him fishing when he was five years old. Oh he loved his fishing. And he went out, he joined the Navy. After the Navy, he came home to the local crab shop and he got in a boat, and he caught fish for 18 years, then he came home and died. He was only 43 years old.

He accomplished so much in a short life. I was really proud of him.

Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage.

Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email.

Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.

Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org

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