Darlene Tocktoo Turner was born on the Sarichef Island of Shishmaref, Alaska, located on the Bering Sea coast on a cold winter month. Her parents, Vincent and Molly Tocktoo raised her in a subsistence and traditional way of life. She grew with knowledge of how to prepare and store the bearded seal, gathering of tundra berries and greens. Darlene’s mother blessed her with the gift of knowledge to skin sew of slippers, mittens, hats and trinkets with leftover seal skin scraps.
Darlene has been involved with many community, regional, state and national agencies for many community projects. The importance of protecting her hometown from coastal erosion led her to meeting with agencies from all over the country. For example, the seawall is the only protection from the change of harsh wave actions. Darlene is currently working with the Shishmaref students to pass on her knowledge of being a subsistence user and skin sewer. She has been employed with her school district for 36 years and continues to serve her students.
Affiliation: Shishmaref, Alaska
- Co-Production Team Member, Human Well Being