Margaret Roberts mourned by community

Portrait of Margaret Roberts by Helen Simeonoff (watercolor, 1995)

The Alutiiq community in Kodiak is mourning the passing of one of its most adored elders and culturebearers. Margaret Roberts was born in Kodiak in 1948. She passed away on Monday, according to the Alutiiq Museum, after decades of service to the Alutiiq community in Kodiak and Alaska Native people more broadly.

Roberts was council chair of the Sun’aq tribe of Kodiak when the tribe received federal recognition. She was also a co-founder of the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council.

Roberts was a keystone figure in the founding of the Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak. She was part of the Kodiak Area Native Association’s cultural committee that first contemplated the existence of a museum dedicated to the Alutiiq culture, and she served on the Alutiiq Heritage Foundation Board – the governing board that oversees the Alutiiq Museum- as chairperson for nearly a decade.

Roberts was also an early member of the Kodiak Alutiiq Dancers, and she danced with the group for over 30 years. She was a successful advocate for repatriation, and worked to see native remains returned to Kodiak for reburial. She is survived by four children and numerous grandchildren.

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