Mary Virginia Anniagruk Lum Sage

My name is Mary Virginia Anniagruk Lum Sage. I was born in Edmonds, WA. Ten years later, our family moved to Fairbanks, AK. For the past 12 years, I've lived in Barrow and plan to live here all my life.  Iím married to Joseph Napaaqtuq Sage, and we have an 8 year old foster daughter Mitiktaun and a 2 year old son Sakkaaluk.

I graduated from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, then attended Ilisagvik College in Barrow where I earn certification in Heavy Truck Operations. I also received Bachelor of Arts in Rural Development from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. This year, I've begun working on my Masterís degree in Rural Development via teleconference,

While attending UAF, I was involved in some wonderful Native student organizations such as the Native American Business Leaders/American Indian Business Leaders, the Inu-Yupiaq Eskimo Dance Group, and the Festival of Native Arts. I gained valuable organizational, public speaking, networking and leadership skills from these organizations.

I love to Inupiaq dance; Iíve been a member of the Barrow Dancers for 9 years now. Iím serving my third term on the World Eskimo Indian Olympicsí Board of Governors. WEIO is an awesome cultural event held in Fairbanks, Alaska. It celebrates the Native games, dances, and artisans of Native Alaskans and American Indians. 

Iím a big supporter of Native foster parenting and adoption. I have a strong interest in learning our Inupiaq language; I have learned so much since I moved to Barrow in 1994. I recently traveled to New Zealand with groups representing the North Slope and Northwest areas to study the Maori language revitalization. I am deeply inspired by the Maori and I admire their hard work and successful ideas. I am also thankful for their continued support and encouragement of our goal to revitalize the Inupiaq language.

I enjoy volunteering to help organize the Barrow Cultural Fair. The Fair is a wonderful way to embrace and celebrate our diverse community. Last year was the first time we held the Fair, and we are looking forward to making it bigger and better this year.

I love boating in the summer time, either to go caribou hunting down the coast, seal hunting out in the ocean, or up the rivers to check out some friends' camps. I enjoy subsistence hunting year round, and bartering with my Native friends around Alaska. I have trading partners in Shungnak and Ruby. I send them fresh whale and they send me beaver furs, muskrat furs, intricate willow photo frames, dried salmon strips and jarred salmon. I especially enjoy being able to provide my mom Esther (Saganna) Lum, who lives in Fairbanks, with her favorites - seal oil, dried caribou (like beef jerky) and fresh muktuk (skin and fat from the muktuk).  In return, she makes dozens of sugar cookies for us to take home on the plan

Recommended by Mary:

North Slope Borough  
Be sure to check out Kivgiq Ė our version of the pow-wow
North Slope Borough School District
Alaska Federation of Natives
University of Alaska Fairbanks Festival of Native Arts

World Eskimo Olympics
WEIO is an annual event held in Fairbanks every year that celebrates the Native games and dances of our people. The last time we had a Lower 48 dance group was maybe 2001 - St. Croix Chippewa Dance Group. I would love to see more participation from the Lower 48 Natives in the dance competition, in the athletic events and also the Miss WEIO pageant. Also, we rarely have Lower 48 Native artisans. It would be great to be able to buy some handmade silver and/or turquoise jewelry!
World Eskimo Indian Olympics


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