Oscar Winning Alaska Native Ray Mala reburied in Anchorage
More than 50 years after his death, the remains of Ray Mala, an Alaska Native actor who made it big in Hollywood in the silent era, are back on Alaskan soil.
The family of the Academy Award-winning actor held a reburial ceremony inside Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery on Monday.
"He came from a humble village in Alaska, born and raised here, and he made it in a world that no natives have gone into before," said Dr. Ted Mala, Ray Mala's son.
Mala was one of the first Native American actors to make a name for himself in Hollywood. Mala made his film debut at the age of 16 both on and behind the camera in the 1927 silent film
"When he made 'Igloo' in Barrow and 'Eskimo' in the northwest arctic, he really was able to capture and preserve an Iñupiat way of life on film," said Ted Mala Jr., Ray Mala's grandson. "It was the first film to be filmed in an all native language, it won the first Oscar for best film editing. There are a lot of memories and treasures that are preserved on film because of his work."
The family says they're happy to have him reburied closer to both his and their home but their. They say they hope his legacy will live on as proof that people from a small Alaskan village can change the world.