Ticasuk Brown

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Ticasuk Brown
Born Emily Ticasuk Ivanoff
Unalakleet, Alaska, United States
Died 1982
Fairbanks, Alaska, United States
Nationality American-Iñupiaq
Occupation Academic

Ticasuk Brown (1904–1982) was an Iñupiaq educator, poet and writer. She was the recipient of a Presidential Commission and was the first Native American to have a school named after her in Fairbanks, Alaska. In 2009, she was placed in the Alaska Women's Hall of Fame.

Early life and work[edit]

Emily Ticasuk Ivanoff Brown was born in 1904 in Unalakleet, Alaska. Her name, Ticasuk, means "where the four winds gather their treasures from all parts of the world...the greatest which is knowledge."[1] Her grandfather was Russian, named Sergei Ivanoff, and her grandmother was Yupik, named Chikuk. Brown's parents were Stephen Ivanoff and Malquay. She attended elementary school in Shaktoolik, Alaska, which was a village co-founded by her father.[2] After high school, she became a certified teacher in Oregon.[1][2] She started teaching in Kotzebue, Alaska. She moved to Washington to study nursing and got married.[1]

The couple moved back to Alaska where Brown started teaching, but her husband died two years into their marriage.[1] She went back to college in 1959,[2] obtaining two Bachelor of Arts at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. She earned her masters in 1974 with a thesis titled Grandfather of Unalakleet. Her thesis was republished as The Roots of Ticasuk: An Eskimo Woman's Family Story, in 1981.[2][3] Brown created a curriculum around the Inupiaq language.[1]

Later life and legacy[edit]

Ticasuk Brown Elementary School in Fairbanks, Alaska

She was given a Presidential Commission by Richard Nixon.[2] She worked at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she worked on an Iñupiaq language encyclopedia until she died in 1982 in Fairbanks, Alaska.[1] Just before her death, she was set to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.[2]

The learning center at the Northwest Community College in Nome, Alaska is dedicated to her. There is an Emily Ivanoff Ticasuk Brown Award for Human Rights award named after her and which is awarded by the National Education Association of Alaska.[4] Ticasuk Brown Elementary School was the first school in Fairbanks, Alaska to be named after a Native American person. The school opened in September 1987. The name was chosen out of 43 submissions in a quest to name the school.[1] She was placed in the Alaska Women's Hall of Fame in 2009.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Carson, Johanna and Bill. "Ticasuk Brown 1st Fairbanks school named for Alaska Native". Youth. Daily News-Miner. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gretchen M. Bataille; Laurie Lisa (12 June 2001). Native American Women: A Biographical Dictionary. Taylor & Francis. pp. 57–58. ISBN 978-0-203-80104-8. 
  3. ^ "Emily Ivanoff Brown". Nome. University of Alaska. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Human Relations and Civil Rights Awards" (PDF). Awards. National Education Association of Alaska. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Tikasuk "Emily" Brown (Ivanoff)". Hall of Fame. Alaska Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved 28 October 2013.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

Further reading[edit]

  • Condor, Jacques. Raven's Children: Word Sketches of the Land and Native Arctic Peoples of Alaska. Bloomington: iUniverse (2003). ISBN 146209497X
  • Brown, Emily I. The Roots of Ticasuk: An Eskimo Woman's Family Story. Alaska Northwest Books (1981). ISBN 0882401173

External links[edit]