LISTEN: Iñupiat Ada Blackjack’s story of survival 100 years ago captured in short film

A faint image of a woman's face ringed by the fur ruff on her parka next to lettering of the film's title, "Ada Blackjack Rising," with the space inside the D made to look like the oblong Gambel Island
Production image from “Ada Blackjack Rising” (Peak 3)

An Alaska filmmaker celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday by releasing a short film that tells the story of Ada Blackjack, an Iñupiat woman who survived two years on an uninhabited island, alone in the Arctic, about a hundred years ago.

Related: Watch “Ada Blackjack Rising”

The six-minute film, “Ada Blackjack Rising,” is a multi-layered slice of a longer story director Brice Habeger wants to tell about Blackjack, who was originally from the village of Solomon and signed on to an expedition from Nome across the Chukchi Sea in 1921. Blackjack survived two years on Gambel Island north of Siberia after the men on the expedition died.

Despite this all having occurred a century ago, as Habeger told Alaska Public Media’s Casey Grove, Ada Blackjack is the Alaska Native hero people need in present times.


Casey Grove is host of Alaska News Nightly, a general assignment reporter and an editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at Read more about Casey here

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