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MENADELOOK showcases nearly one hundred photographs taken by an Inupiat photographer, Charles Menadelook, that documents life in Wales, in the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia, in the early twentieth century. Photographs of Inupiat life in this period are rare, and photographs taken by an indigenous person are nearly nonexistent. These photographs provide a unique view into the Inupiat world during the early decades of the last century and give both a pictorial and Native perspective on Inupiat traditions and historical events.
Charles Menadelook, an Inupiat, was born in Wales, Alaska, in 1892. One of the first Alaskan Natives to become a teacher, he taught in Diomede, Shishmaref, Shaktoolik, Kotzebue, Noatak, Sinuk, Nome, Gambell, and Unalaska. Menadelook’s photographs are a historical treasure of a changing like for the Northwest Inupiat’ – written by Rosita Wohl
The lecture and book edited by Menadelook’s granddaughter Eileen Norbert, who first started collecting these photographs in the 1980’s as a senior in anthropology at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Norbert realized the value of this historic collection meticulously researching and recording the stories behind the photographs. When Eileen Norbert retired she devoted her time to restoring Charles Menadelook’s photographs, editing, and with the help of Rosita Wohl published the book titled MENADELOOK that documents Inupiat life from their own perspective.