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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

[AK] Sonya Dora Nitcuk Ivanoff - murdered Inupiak Eskimo from the village of Unalakleet

Sonya was murdered.
Nome Police Officer Matthew Owens, who is accused of killing Sonya, is now awaiting a second trial scheduled for October of 2005. (First was deadlocked, with the majority - 10 to 2 - voting for conviction.)

Sonya is known in the media as Sonya Ivanoff.
That is not her name. Her name is Sonya Dora Nitcuk Ivanoff, the entire name being important. It gives back a little of what has been taken away - who she is. (On the internet, of the 911 times that Sonya is mentioned, only one acknowledges her full name.)

She was born Native, an Inupiak Eskimo from the village of Unalakleet - an Inupiat Eskimo word meaning "where the east wind blows".

Sonya went to Nome, got a job on the swing shift at the local hospital, and was working for money to go to college - which she was to start that fall in Hawaii.

She liked to drink green tea, eat salt and vinegar chips, and sometimes made a junk food run to Tesoro around midnight. She knew how to make agutaq, Eskimo ice cream made with fish and berries.

Yes, fish and berries.

She loved her little nieces and nephew, and babies made her laugh. She loved holding them, and looked forward to having her own one day. She liked lip gloss.

I won't tell you the way her body was found.
You can run an internet search if you need to know.

What I want put out for the remembering about Sonya is that she was a loving, beautiful 19 year old Inupiak Eskimo woman from the village of Unalakleet, working her way to college in Nome, who made fish and berry ice cream,
and oh how she loved to
Eskimo dance...

Remember her dancing.

To her family, I am so sorry to you for everything, first and most deeply for your losing your Sonya. I am sorry to you for the waiting for a suspect which must have been an eternity, and for having to know that reports of Sonya in Owens patrol car went unacknowledged for weeks. I am sorrowful for you that once he was arrested you had to endure watching his bail reduced, and for having to see his request granted to be put under house arrest on the Anchorage Hillside - where gorgeous homes with huge windows with beautiful views look over Anchorage and the Turnagain Arm... One woman said, "What a way to await a trial. What is a little ankle bracelet when you can drink your morning coffee with a view?" I am sorry. No one should know what you know, and yet too many do. I am sorry that he had to be free while Sonya was gone. I am sorry for how the first trial turned out, and for how hard it had to be every day in the courtroom, and then for having to learn that has to be done over again.
But my prayer is that the second trial will be done right, that whatever justice there is left to be had will be yours, and that you will be able to close this chapter of losing Sonya, and move on to the next one - missing her, and remembering her dance. [rant police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder staged native american eskimo 1st world 3rd world people of color alaska state politics]


  1. Hey was just rolling thru wanted to let ya know ya got a cool blog here Nice Job.

  2. Sonya was a wonderful person to be around and she was good basketball player. She was a good friend and she makes everyone smile.

  3. Too many of our beautiful Native women disappear and are murdered like this and no one is ever charged with the crimes nor do the police care. Most are not even investigated. Prayers to her family. May she rest in peace.

  4. I saw that when I was collecting info on Sonya. Go to blogspot.com and start a blog about it. You have the internet to let the world know what is happening there.

  5. Thank you for being supportive. It means a lot to her siblings. I am her brother, and it means a lot to me that justice is served. His lawyer as his job is to serve him as "innocent" is false. The evidence is very supportive as he was convicted. In my eyes, the first trial was "botched" because there was a lady who was part of his "church" group. If there is someone who is a part of that is in a "cult." Unfortunately for my family, we had to relocate the trial to deem him guilty. In my eyes he should be electrocuted. But, in others eyes that is "inhumane." God Bless those who see the truth.

  6. There can never be a satisfactory justice for a stolen life, especially a life stolen in such a cruel way. It has to be so hard for you knowing that he is somewhere. God bless and keep safe your family.

  7. so, sad, hard to beleive someone could be so cruel to someone who seems nice.

  8. I am of half-Inuit descent from Canada.
    I stumbled on this blog while researching Alaskan disappearances during this time period.
    I am shocked to hear Sonya Dora Nitcuk Ivanoff's early demise from Alaskan soil by this so-called police officer.
    He is behind bars now thankfully,(2010)and I am sure he will answer to a higher power for this heinous criminal act in the next world.
    Sonya is not forgotten!

  9. Mathew owens is in Fremont Correctional Facility in Canon City CO. his doc # 134034 but u can not find him by search. However he will receive mail if u send it... FCF p.o. box 999 Canon City,CO 81215

  10. I put your article on my blog www.alaskajustice.net
    Our advocacy group is working toward getting a bill passed called "Nancy and Sonya's Law," this bill will create a Police Oversight Committee (POC) composed of objective citizens. This committee will investigate all reports of police abuse. As you know, Officer Owens was under investigation prior to Sonya's murder. If the state of Alaska had a POC, perhaps, Sonya could of made her trip to Hawaii.

  11. Wow, my first statement on this horrific incident that still haunts me, over a decade after I left this small beautiful & generally peaceful town.
    Still seeing the beautiful smile off this young girl still haunts me, at the same age I was, at the time. She had so much potential and was only there to achieve and advance her life, never asking for anything more then what she gave. I had met her no more than a fortnight before this tragic incident which was nothing but a stalking/obsession, from the officer (Matt Owens) involved. At the time my fiance and at least 2 friends (A Native and a White) had numerously had obscure encounters with him.
    This is my first time talking out about this matter and just hope I can help anyone at all about this, in any way and any information anyone can pass through is appreciated as so much has been hidden as we all know, I hope to hear from anyone, My Name is Nick, I'm sure a few off you know me.... nicholas.sanderson@hotmail.com

  12. I see that whatever picture I chose to put up of Sonya here has been removed. :(

  13. I worked with Sonya’s brother when this tragic event occurred. I had only met Sonya one time, but she left a lasting impression. She was a beautiful and very sweet young lady who clearly enjoyed life and loved her family. May she rest in heaven ❤️


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