Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Amber Hopkins – Koyukon Athabascan Nurse

My relative, Amber Hopkins, is from upriver from where I grew up in Huslia. I love highlighting Athabascan people doing great things.


Amber Hopkins. Courtesy photo.

Amber Hopkins grew up in Hughes, Alaska, a small Koyukon Athabascan village on the Koyukuk river. Her parents are Wilmer Beetus and Margaret Williams. Her grandparents are the late Joe and Celia Beetus and late Lavine and Susie Williams. After graduating from Lathrop High School, she went to the University of Alaska Fairbanks for a year. Then, she joined the U.S. Navy and was able to travel to parts of the world. She was honorably discharged at the end of her five-year contract and started school to become a nurse. She used her Montgomery GI Bill and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Amber is now a pediatric/pediatric ICU nurse at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.

When Amber was 16 years old, she attended a conference for students interested in professions in healthcare in Washington, DC. She has a lot of family members who work in the medical field and has had exposure to healthcare from a young age.

“I was always interested in helping people and the healthcare field is a great way to do that. Are you compassionate, sympathetic, caring? Do you have good problem-solving skills, good communication skills and attention to detail? If you do, then you could make a great nurse.” – Amber Hopkins (Koyukon Athabascan)

Amber encourages those who are interested in the healthcare field to do their best in science and math. There are nursing programs available at UAA,UAF at CTC, APU and Charter College in Alaska. According to Amber, they are very competitive, so having good grades is important. She also encourages students who are interested in the nursing field to talk to nurses and nursing students.

The most rewarding part of her job is being part of a team who helps kids get better. She loves to see children who were sick get well enough to leave the hospital. She says, “My job is also rewarding because I am challenged at work; I am always learning something new and I get to help children.”

“I did not accomplish anything on my own. My family has supported me since I was young and they continue to support me. I also worked really hard to get into nursing school, I worked really hard to finish nursing school and I continue to work hard at my job.” – Amber Hopkins (Koyukon Athabascan)

Amber and Brett Hopkins and their daughters. Courtesy photo.

Some of of her biggest accomplishments include having her two girls, traveling the world in the Navy, earning her nursing degree, and being able to provide for her family. While in the Navy, she met her husband Brett, and they have been married for 11 years and have two beautiful daughters. When she is not working, she loves spending time with her family. They especially enjoy hiking, watching movies and traveling as much as possible.

Amber loves her job and learning. She hopes to continue her journey by becoming a nurse practitioner. She hopes to finish a Family Nurse Practitioner program, so she can travel to remote areas of Alaska to provide primary and preventative care.

Enaa baasee’, Amber for sharing your journey toward becoming a nurse on the Athabascan Woman blog! Kudos to Amber for reaching for her goals and for working in the medical profession. If you’re interested in being highlighted (or know someone), click on the ‘contact me’ page to send me a message.

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5 thoughts on “Amber Hopkins – Koyukon Athabascan Nurse”

  1. I love it when our young people succeed in their life goals and lifestyle. As a Koyukon Athabascan from Huslia, just down the river from Hughes I do not know Amber Hopkins personally, but I know or knew her parents and grandparents. Congratulations to Amber on her successes. Vina Attla Bilow.

  2. Amber! It is a true blessing to have you in my life! I am ever so proud of who you are as a women, mother, daughter, wife, and best friend. This article sure has made day! Thank you for everything you have done

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