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Famous Yup'ik skin sewer Lucy Beaver dies

Nobody's sure how old Lucy Beaver was, but everyone close to her agrees she was well over a century old. Beaver, especially well-known for her mukluks and parkas, died in Anchorage last week. KYUK says she was born in a fall camp on the lower Kuskokwim River and lived most of her life in Bethel.

In a translated interview with KYUK in 1985, Beaver said she learned to sew on skins when she was a young girl by drawing designs in the mud with her story knife. She said no one taught her how to sew -- she just watched others doing it. But she didn't always like it.

"After I married, my husband used to have me sew. He'd let me sew on my own," Beaver said through a translator. "I was a young girl then and I enjoyed being outside. I wouldn't want to sew, and I'd cry because I hated to sew (laughing)."

Read more, and hear an audio report, at KYUK. A famous photo of Beaver taken by Myron Rosenberg can be seen at KTUU, along with more details of her life.