Joseph E. Senungetuk

Joseph E. Senungetuk

March 29, 1940 - May 31, 2023

Joe was born in the Inupiat village of Wales, Alaska to Willie and Helen Senungetuk, and attended Nome High School.

Drafted into the Army, Joe served in the demilitarized zone in Korea.
He attended the San Francisco Art Institute where he began to produce startling non-traditional cultural works: Limited edition prints, masks and prize-winning sculptures carved from driftwood, alabaster and brass. The prints made both spiritual and political statements.

Joe Senungetuk wrote and illustrated the trail-blazing memoir, Give Or Take A Century, An Eskimo Chronicle, that traces his childhood in Wales, followed by recollections of the shock and struggle of his family as it adjusted to the white-dominated society of Nome.

During the 1970’s Joe worked as an instructor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, then professor of art and anthropology at Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka. Beginning in 1980 he made his home in Anchorage.

Senungetuk’s work appears in great museums such as the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the British Museum in London.

Joe was active as an authority on Native art and experience, serving as a member of the board, consultant and speaker for a myriad of cultural, arts and educational organizations such as the Visual Arts Center of Alaska, the Institute of Alaska Native Arts and Alaska Pacific University's Council of Elders.

Through his teaching, his book, advocacy and his art, Joe Senungetuk challenged stereotypes and misguided policies that damaged Native people. He wanted the public to understand and appreciate Native values, ways of living, and contributions.

In Anchorage, Senungetuk’s work may be found at the Anchorage International Airport, in the gallery on the Mezzanine of Concourse C, at the Anchorage Museum and at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Hospital.

Joe Senungetuk is survived by his wife Martha of Anchorage, son William, recently of Las Vegas, NV; daughter Jennifer Senungetuk of Chicago, IL, and three grandchildren, Violet, Hazel and Silas Kuner.



The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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