10 YEARS AGO
July 17, 2011 — The 1961 Miss Eskimo Indian Olympics Queen, Thelma Ross Antila, recalls being pushed onto the stage for the bathing suit competition held 50 years ago during the First Miss WEIO competition. “I was terrified,” she recalled. “We had to wear a bathing suit. I had never ever shown my body. That was how we were raised.”
By the end of the decade, the Miss WEIO competition changed from a beauty contest to reflect the culture of the Native peoples of Alaska. The changes came from within, said Daphne Rylander Gustafson, the 1962 Miss WEIO queen who was involved in redirecting the purpose of the event, which continues today — the 50th anniversary of the World Eskimo Indian Olympics.
25 YEARS AGO
July 17, 1996 — When contestants come to Fairbanks to try for the Miss World Eskimo-Indian Olympics title, each one brings a gift from her home area and exchanges it with another. In this way, they make friends and share their cultures with each other. According to the contestants, that’s the whole point.
“It’s interesting meeting new people from different cultures, other Native cultures,” said Helen Curran, 20, a University of Alaska Anchorage student from Nome and currently Miss Arctic Native Brotherhood. “Since my Bering Straits region has so many different cultures, I’ve tried to represent the whole community by bringing something from each of them to share with other people.”
50 YEARS AGO
July 17, 1971 — YAKUTAT, Alaska — A galloping glacier is rumbling out of the hills behind Yakutat, apparently bent on cutting off an arm of Russell Fjord and separating it from the sea. Water in the fjord is rising, and threatens eventually to find a new path to the sea down the Situk River southeast of town.
No one knows why the glacier is doing what it is. Clarence Reid, U.S. Forest Service spokesman, says the ice mas — Hubbard Glacier — is about 30 miles north of Yakutat. He said it has advanced “quite rapidly in the past few weeks.”
75 YEARS AGO
July 17, 1946 — According to a telegram received from Delegate E. L. Bartlett this afternoon, the Senate today passed the bill providing for a geophysical institute at the University of Alaska.
Previously approved by the House, the bill provides for an appropriation of slightly less than a million dollars for construction of research facilities which will be maintained by the University.