Ethnicity – Eskimo (1895-1987)
If you fly Alaska Airlines, you’ve seen Oliver Amouak’s “Happy Face” on the tale of the airplane.
Amouak (father) and Napanuak (mother) named their 3rd child Tahkhok – Oliver. Upon birth, his parents brought their children to Napanuak’s father for a prayer and a blessing. Gangeemak (the grandfather) prayed to the highest spirit to bless his new grandson with health, strength and above all, he prayed that Oliver would show the world Eskimo heritage. When Gangeemak finished, he handed Tahkhok back to his father, smiled and said, “He will survive illness. His will have many grandchildren. He will soar farther than Eagles and show many people our ways.”
All of those prophecies came true. As a young man, he survived small pox. Then in 1959, Alaska Airlines hired Oliver and his wife Olga to share their dances and songs on a 6 month tour of 74 different cities. Oliver and his wife know that the “Happy Face” logo of Alaska Airlines is Oliver as a young man. Yet, Alaska Airlines will not identify the Eskimo in their logo and denies that it is for certain Oliver Amouak.
Oliver’s granddaughter, Brenda Ritchey wrote a book compiling Oliver Amouak’s family stories of their own traditional, happy and practical lives.
Oliver’s son is Ralph Amouak. If you would like to meet Ralph Amouak, buy a book about his dad or hear his songs, Ralph is hosting a drum making workshop at SIHB on September 1st at 6 pm. RSVP with Chris Chastain 206-324-9360, Ext 2813.