Arthur “Guy” Martin
Arthur “Guy” Martin moved on to a higher calling on the evening of October 7, 2017. Guy was born in Nome in 1942 to Stanley C. Martin and Josephine Garnie and later attended school at the St. Mary’s and Holy Cross missions until 1952. He attended Nome High School and West High School (Anchorage) and served three years in the U.S. Army, later serving as acting Chief of Police for Gambell and Kotzebue, as well as serving in the Nome Police Department, and in the New York Police Department.
Since the 1980s Guy had quietly worked on issues concerning Native land claims, and cultural and historical preservation. He was instrumental in many landmark programs, including the establishment of the Eskimo Walrus Commission, one of the first cooperative agreements for game management between the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and a tribal group.
From 1989 to 1997, Guy worked in the land department at Bering Straits Native Corporation guiding the ANCSA land conveyance process.
In 1990 he also helped establish a pilot program that paved the way for later compact agreements between Tribal groups and the U.S. Government. This agreement created the BSNC Cemetery and Historic Site Program which began in 1993. During his years with BSNC Guy worked in the Land Department as Land Manager and later with the Bering Straits Foundation on a program to document contaminated sites in the BSNC region. He served as a director on the Bering Straits Foundation Board for many years.
Guy was always open to anyone needing advice or guidance. He served on the Nome Eskimo Community board and on the Elders Committee for Sitnasuak Native Corporation. Beginning in the 1990’s, Guy was the region’s representative on the committee for the Shared Beringian Heritage Program, a National Park Service organization, which funded cultural preservation and enhancement programs in the Beringian area. During his tenure on that committee a number of important projects were founded in the region: the Golovin Heritage Field School (1999-2001), and the Teller Community Cultural Festival.
In recent years, he volunteered as an Elder instructor for the Nome Archaeology camp, an annual program with participation by Kawerak, Inc. Bering Straits Native Corporation, Alaska Geographic, and the National Park Service.
Guy was recognized as the Employer of the Year for Kawerak, Inc. in 1980, and for Bering Straits Native Corporation in 1990.
In 2010 he was awarded the prestigious David M. Hopkins Award for his many years on the Beringia Project panel and for helping it to advance its mission through personal assistance, conveying knowledge, and inspiring and mentoring Native People of the Bering Strait region. Guy was most recently recognized by BSNC at their Annual Shareholders meeting for his life’s work and for his unwavering support of the people and traditions of the region. A quote from Guy, which appears on each agenda of the Sitnasuak Elders Committee, summarizes his life’s work: “The Elders Committee is charged with bringing back a lot of values and reinstating values from past Elders Committees. Our work is not done, we have to look at what we have had in the past and move forward.”
Guy is survived by his wife Blue (Taxac) Martin and children, Tara, Christopher, Katherine, Crystal, and Jacob, and grandchildren Sydney, Janessa, Ryan, Neva, Jossalyn, and Carly, nieces, nephews, loved ones and friends too numerous to list. Guy’s kindness, humor and dedication to the region will be long remembered, and we should heed one of his pieces of advice: “Keep the past vibrant and alive by listening to elders and their history, which includes subsistence, Native knowledge, Native storytelling and family history.”