Rita Pitka Blumenstein
Member of the 13 Grandmothers Council
“The past is not a burden; it is a scaffold which brought us to this day. We are free to be who we are—to create our own life out of our past and out of the present. We are our ancestors. When we can heal ourselves, we also heal our ancestors, our grandmothers, our grandfathers, and our children. When we heal ourselves, we heal Mother Earth.”
—Rita Pitka Blumenstein, member of the 13 Grandmothers Council
A Yup’ik tribal elder, Rita Pitka Blumenstein is one of the 13 grandmothers of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, a global alliance that teaches ancestral ways of prayer, education, and healing. Born on a fishing boat and raised in Tununak, Alaska, she is a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wife, aunt, sister, and friend. Blumenstein has worked at many hospitals delivering babies as a doctor’s aide and is now a tribal doctor at the South Central Foundation, where she uses plants and energy medicine for healing. She also has traveled extensively, teaching native Alaskan basket weaving, song, dance, and the “talking circle,” to earn money for Native American Colleges.