On Sunday, May 8, 2016 Grandmother Rita Pitka Blumenstein and Marie Arnaq Meade, both Yup’ik tribal members shared a traditional outdoor fire ceremony and Blessing of the Children on the grounds of the Nelson Healing Center.
Rita Pitka Blumenstein was the first certified traditional doctor in Alaska. In 2009, she was inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame. Grandmother Rita, as she is known worldwide, was a founding member of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. She currently works for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.
Marie Arnaq Meade was born and raised in Nunapiciaq, a small village of about 300 members located on the tundra between the Kuskokwim River and the Bering Sea. She is an author and translator of Yup’ik, teaching the language and its conventional spelling system as well as Alaska Native Dance at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. She is a member of the world-traveled Nunamta Yup’ik dance group and also works with the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers.