The Margaret Nick Cooke Award

About Margaret Nick Cooke

Margaret Nick Cooke (1944 – 1996)was born in Nunapitchuk to Elena and Nick O. Nick, Sr.  Margaret was a steadfast advocate and tireless devotee of Alaska Native people and culture. She was deeply dedicated to her Alaska Native traditions, Alaska Native arts and the perpetuation of her language. While Margaret attended school only through the 8th grade she earned her GED and pursued her college education through the University of Alaska distance delivery program. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Education.

Margaret served on many boards and commissions, and held a multitude of professional positions over the course of her life. She worked for First National Bank of Anchorage early in her career, then continued her career as the Adult Education Program Coordinator at University of Alaska Kuskokwim Campus, worked with the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, the Alaska Public Defender agency, Alaska Legal Services and the Bethel Native Corporation. Margaret expanded her public service on the Bethel City Council and the first elected Board Secretary of the Alaska Federation of Natives in 1968. She served on that Board from 1968 – 1970 during the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement movement. She served as the Bethel Mayor from 1972 – 1973.

Margaret was an Alaska State Council on the Arts council member at the time of her death. Margaret’s family established a memorial fund and award in 1996 in memory of her dedication to Alaska Native communities, language and culture.

The Margaret Nick Cooke Award

The Margaret Nick Cooke Award honors and recognizes individuals and organizations whose work furthers traditional Alaska Native language and culture. The annual award recipient is celebrated at the Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities ceremony in October.

The Margaret Nick Cooke Memorial Fund

The Margaret Nick Cooke Memorial Fund underwrites travel expenses of award winners to attend the annual Governor’s Arts and Humanities Award dinner.

Award Recipients

1997:  Cathrine Attla, Huslia
1998: Paul John, Bethel
2000:  Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, Anchorage
2001: Esther Shea, Ketchikan
2002: Fannie Akpik, Barrow
2003: John Active, Bethel
2004: Oscar Kawagley, Fairbanks
2006:  Eliza Jones, Koyukuk
2007: Susan Malutin, Kodiak
2009: Florence Pestrikoff, Kodiak (award changed to alternate years)
2011: Dr. Maryanne Allen, Fairbanks
2013: Martha Galila, Goodnews Bay
2016: Vicki Soboleff, Juneau