My name is Royal Harris and I am a junior studying Computer Science and Business Administration. I am Inupiaq Eskimo, Putu is my Eskimo name it means ‘hole piercing’. I was fortunate to move to the Seattle-Tacoma area when I was a young kid and graduated high school in Tacoma. This gave me a better education and more opportunities in the city.
I’m only half Inupiaq but I do think that I look Native because of my tribal tattoos, long dark hair, and high cheekbones. I look more like my mother’s side of the family, who are Native. When I get darker and tanner in the desert, I am mistaken for Mexican. I don’t feel Native because I grew up in the city and have conformed to western culture but if I wanted to go subsistence hunting or fishing in Alaska I would feel comfortable as a Native person.
I have expectations of earning a high GPA, paying taxes, doing homework, showing up to work on time, and treating people well. The good Lord God keeps finding ways to promote me in life. I represent myself as being born in the Native Village of Kotzebue. If I never left the icebox and moved away, my life would have been drastically different. There’s much more opportunity in the city, outside of Alaska, furthermore, outside of the country.