Mary Sage
Chris Arend Photography

My name is Mary Virginia Anniagruk Lum Sage. I was born in Edmonds, WA, and I lived in Edmonds for 10 years and then our family moved to Fairbanks, AK. I have lived in Barrow for the past 12 years, and I plan on staying here for the rest of my life.

I graduated from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, and I received a certificate of endorsement in Heavy Truck Operations from Ilisagvik College in Barrow, and a Bachelor of Arts in Rural Development from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. I started working on my Master's degree in Rural Development, via teleconference, this year. 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; I've been a member of the Barrow Dancers for 9 years now. I'm serving my third term on the World Eskimo Indian Olympics' Board of Governors. WEIO is an awesome cultural event held in Fairbanks, Alaska, that celebrates the Native games, dances, and artisans of Alaska and the Lower 48. I'm 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 going 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 plane.

~ Mary Sage February 2006
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