Ronald Senungetuk was born in Wales, Alaska in 1933, where he grew up with traditional Inupiaq values. At age fifteen, he was sent to Mt. Edgcumbe High School in Sitka. He went on to earn AAS and BFA degrees from the School for American Craftsmen in Rochester, New York, and as a Fulbright scholar earned a Diploma from Statens Handverks and Kunstindustri Skole in Oslo Norway. In 1961 he joined the Department of Art at UAF where he founded and directed the Native Arts Center.
Senungetuk began his career in art and teaching based on Western art concepts. His interest in abstract and applied art and design led to an in-depth study and interpretation of Old Bering Sea art and to making new works fitting a contemporary world. He began combining the two influences by creating colored wood panels showing native hunting, fishing and other subsistence activities in addition to his non-representational objects in wood and silver.
His work is in private collections all over the world. It is in the collections of the Museum of the North at UAF, the Anchorage Museum, State Museum, Pratt Museum and the Native Medical Center in Anchorage. He has large 1% for art installations in Fairbanks, Kodiak and Golovin and was one of the original members of what is now called the Alaska State Council on the Arts. Their logo is his design. Ron was a teacher, lecturer, curator mentor and international traveler. In 2008 The Rasmuson Foundation gave him a Distinguished Artist Award. In 2014 the AK State Council on the Arts awarded him a lifetime achievement award. He served on the boards of the Homer Foundation and Bunnell Street Arts Center.
Senungetuk passed in January 2020.