Where Did the Name “Igaramkin” Come From?

How did the Dimond Newspaper receive the name Igaramkin? The name Igaramkin has been the name of the Dimond High school newspaper for nearly six decades. The name certainly contains significance to the school, given that it has been the name of the newspaper since the school opened in September of 1966. 

The word Igaramkin means “We are writing to you” in the Yupik language. The region of the language is the western region of Alaska, ranging roughly from the town of Unalakleet to Dillingham, including smaller towns and villages that veer off slightly to the east. The city of Anchorage, however, sits on Athabaskan land, more specifically, the Dena’ina or Tanaina region. While the state is the most integrated, the question still stands, why use a language that has no cultural ties to the area as a whole? 

The history of this newspaper is as long as the school’s history, in fact, the school’s newspaper predates Dimond’s homecoming events. I have been allowed to check the first yearbook, and see the first-ever edition of Igaramkin. Their claim to the name, as quoted from the first edition of the paper, which was published on October 3, 1966, was “It’s an Eskimo (Yupik) word from the Hooper Bay Eskimos” (Yupik region), which means, translated literally ‘I am writing to you.’ At that time, the knowledge of the Indigenous people was fairly small for those who weren’t born Alaskan Natives, the “Eskimos” were what we know and acknowledge today as the two separate cultures and regions of Yupik and Inupiaq. 

The answer to why the name is Yupik is a matter of how Native languages were regarded as unimportant to differentiate at the time, however, the staff on the Igaramkin were proud of it being an Alaskan school newspaper and wanted to give it a name that proved it as such. The yearbook gives more information on the slightly unprepared but eager staff. “Although none of us have had newspaper experience in the past, I am very proud of the Igaramkin’s accomplishments this year,” a quote in the yearbook from a former editor. The yearbook provides a photo and names of all the former staff members. They had gathered and published a newspaper at least once a month, though releasing it every three weeks. “The Saturday before the release date was usually spent on the job,” detailed in the yearbook. The entire staff was new to working on a newspaper, including the advisor. 

As to who we are today, the journalists and photographers of Igaramkin, we are a class of freshmen to seniors, each taking an important role in editing, writing, and photography. I chose to ask my fellow students some questions. Why did we all choose to take this class? Well, there were a majority of reasons, ranging from a delightful coincidence to wanting to expand writing horizons. What is our favorite part of the class? Well again, varied answers especially depending on the job each student held.