Rita Pitka-Blumenstein
Calista Region Yup’ik
Publication: Earth Dyes: Nuunam Qaralirkai
Published by the Institute of Alaska
Native Arts, 1983

Rita was born on a fishing boat on the ocean and raised in Tununak, a village in Western Alaska. Rita is Yup’ik, Athabascan, Aleut and Russian. Her mother taught her to gather food and to use resources from the environment for arts and crafts. She is an expert Yup’ik basketmaker. In Earth Dyes: Nuunam Qaralirkai, Rita shares her wealth of knowledge and experience in making natural dyes. Rita now lives in Anchorage and works for Southcentral Foundation as a traditional healer. In her HAIL acceptance speech, she emphasized the importance of publishing, writing and contributing to indigenous literature saying, “Even it [my book] is thin, it had a lot of healing impact.”