The extraordinary biography of of a gifted Inupiat artist who gave up his career to help his fellow Alaska Natives defend their unique heritage.
University of Alaska Press
He was born in 1911 in a sod igloo in Point Hope, an ancient Eskimo Village in northwest Alaska where the people had hunted whales and lived off the land and the sea for centuries. Instead of becoming a hunter, Rock was to become an accomplished artist and crusading newspaper editor. He helped defend his people from a controversial Atomic Energy Commission proposal to excavate a harbor near the village with a, huge, above-ground atomic blast, then founded the Tundra Times newspaper to give them a voice.
Under Rock's leadership, the newspaper helped organize Alaska's Native people to press their aboriginal land claims before Congress, ultimately winning a settlement of $1 billion and 40 million acres of land.
"The whisperings of the Eskimo past mold the people of the arctic as surely as does the cold starkness of their environment. And it is to this past we must look to begin to understand them."
Howard Rock in conversation May 1967.