Lucky Number One – 90 Year Old Alaskan Native First To Be Counted in 2020 Census

Lucky Number One – 90 Year Old Alaskan Native First To Be Counted in 2020 Census

Lizzie Chimiugak, Alaskan Native, who is 90 years old and still going strong, was the very first person in the United States to be counted for the census, which is taken every 10 years.

Alaska is always the first state to be counted and Chimiugak’s small town of Toksook Bay, located on the edge of the Bering Sea, was the bureau’s first stop this year.

According to a BBC article, “census workers always make an early start in Alaska in January, when the ground is frozen enough to traverse. If they were to wait a few more months, the ground would turn to a marsh and become almost impossible for them to cross.”

Chimiugak interviewed with the director of the census bureau with a family member serving as interpreter since she mainly speaks the Yup'ik language.

Once the count was finished, the party started…

A festive ceremony took place in Toksook Bay, which included “local Alaska Native dancers and traditional food, which include(d) seal, walrus, musk ox and moose” (Indian Country Today). Chimiugak remains a part of the Native dance group in the town and celebrated along with the crowd in her wheelchair.

Chimiugak has much love for her community and wants to help continue on with the story and culture of her tribe through communication, art, and dance.

In the census interview she stated:

‘We are Yup'ik people and that the world will see that we are very strong.'

Being the first means a lot to the Yup'ik people in Toksook Bay and Chimiugak takes the responsibility very seriously and with great pride.

Watch this video to see the town in action:

Feature Image from NPR.

About Paul G

Paul G is the founder, who wears many hats as a business coach, photographer, and collector of quirky shirts. Paul started in 1996 while pursuing his graduate degree. With a passion for travel, he and his family hav  traveled the world, capturing unforgettable memories and photos. When he's not coaching or clicking, he's indulging in the magic of Disney.

6 Comments on “Lucky Number One – 90 Year Old Alaskan Native First To Be Counted in 2020 Census”

  • Avatar for Annie M.

    Annie M.


    Respect, Ms Lizzie Chimiugak!
    I wish someone would translate what she and the male elder say. CC is really bad.
    Toksook does not equal toxic.

  • Avatar for Rick Joy

    Rick Joy


    I think this is a very nice tribute to this Elder.

  • Avatar for KT Hutke Fields, Principal Chief, Natchez Nation

    Done. Did it. BEFORE lots of others…right after I got the info in the mail, BBBUUUTTT I sure am glad that you are trying to get lots of Indigenous folks to do their census. Great job, by the way.

  • Avatar for clydia defreese

    clydia defreese


    good to learn about

  • Avatar for NOREEN SCHAAN



    It’s been a long time coming to have this census for my brothers and sisters and elders of the United States. This is so good for my people.

  • Avatar for Paul G

    Paul G


    You are welcome to link to our articles. However, I do NOT give permission for reprinting or republishing our content.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Find a Pow Wow
Near you

Search the US & Canada

What to expect
at your first Pow Wow

Sign Up for our Free E-newsletter