My name is Debra “Naaqtuuq” Dommek, I was born and raised in Kotzebue, Alaska and grew up in Anchorage. I transferred to UAF (www.uaf.edu) to pursue a baccalaureate degree, dual majoring in Alaska Native Studies and Iñupiaq Eskimo.
I began my college career as an undecided major student at the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 2006. During my first semester, I took classes like western civilization, psychology, women’s studies, and Yup’ik Eskimo. I ended up failing history, did an average job wrapping my mind around psych, felt inspired as a woman, and more so as an “Eskimo.” Although stemming from the same language family, Yup’ik was not my mother tongue, but I knew it was a stepping stone to learning my own language, Iñupiatun. After mentioning this to some advisors, they told me of the Iñupiaq language program at UAF, an institution that also happens to offer a bachelor’s degree in Alaska Native Studies as well.
Following my newfound desire to indigenize my studies, I transferred to UAF to learn Iñupiaq and am dual majoring in Alaska Native Studies and Iñupiaq Eskimo, with a minor in Film. What I truly love about UAF is that it sits atop a hill that, for centuries, has been a meeting place for Dena (Athabascan Indian) chiefs who foresaw this particular land as a place in which people from all over the world will continue to gather and learn from each other.
Language, culture, and a strong educational and community atmosphere drew me to this hill in the interior of Alaska. Api igiga puttuqsritquvlusi…I ask that you all be inspired!