Edna Apatiki is an alumna from the early 1970s. She was born and raised in Gambell on St. Lawrence Island and is of St. Lawrence Island Yupik descent. Edna has an extensive background in education from being a teacher to a principal. Following her time at APU, she earned her master’s degree at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Edna currently sits on the APU Elders Council and the Board of Trustees, and has previously served on the board of directors for Sivuqaq, Inc., and the Office of Advocacy for Children.
When thinking back about her time at APU, her fondest memories on campus include recalling traditional singing and dancing at the Atwood Center, traveling to Sweden twice with Dr. Karl Erik-Mauve, and learning from the diverse population enrolled at campus. Many of the friends she made during her time at APU have remained lifelong friends.
Today, while the world faces challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Edna recalls the importance and relevance of being taught her family’s history, clanship, and traditions, as well as some of the not-so-happy history lessons. The impacts that the Spanish Flu in 1918 had on her family and community to this day have a chilling effect that shape her outlook to both support one another and to endure and exist through this pandemic. Subsisting from the land and continuing to sing and dance help ground her through this trying time.
Her advice to students and future students is to learn from those around you and follow your passion in life. For her, that passion has been teaching and the pursuit of education. Among her support network and mentors were professors and counselors at APU. They helped instill the confidence and drive to pursue her career in education.
Edna believes that it is important for our state’s future leaders to receive an education and hopes to have input in APU’s endeavors to provide a culturally responsive educational experience.