ASRC mourns the loss of former board member, Thomas Nukapigak, who represented the community of Point Lay on the ASRC Board of Directors for nearly ten years. Thomas was a whaling captain and served as the representative for Point Lay in the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. Thomas previously served as Vice President of the Native Village of Point Lay.
As a whaling captain, Thomas contributed to the revival of the traditional whaling customs in Point Lay. In 2009, Thomas’ crew assisted Julius Rexford and his whaling crew with harvesting a bowhead whale in the community for the first time in over seventy years. Thomas was also involved with preparing the umiaq, a traditional skin boat, for spring whaling – a custom that had not been practiced in Point Lay since the mid-1930s. “In his many roles, Thomas served Point Lay to ensure their perspectives were heard. I, along with the rest of the board of directors, extend our deepest condolences to the Nukapigak family and community of Point Lay,” said Crawford Patkotak, ASRC’s Board Chair.
Thomas passed away in his community of Point Lay. We extend our thoughts and prayers for comfort and strength to his loved ones during this difficult time.