Columbia University returning music rights to Alaska Natives in Barrow

Photo from the liner notes of Laura Boulton’s “The Eskimos of Hudson Bay and Alaska” LP Record, published by Smithsonian/Folkways Records in 1955. Pictured, from left to right, are Rodger Ahalik, Otis Ahkivgak, Willie Sielak, Guy Okakok, and Alfred Koonaloak.

A Columbia University professor is working to return the ownership rights of more than 100 songs performed in Barrow in the 1940s to the Inupiat Cultural Heritage Center. The songs were recorded by Laura Bolton, a 20th century folk music collector. She released 6 of the songs in 1955 with Folkways Records on an album called “The Eskimos of Hudson Bay and Alaska.”

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage