Julia was born in Afognak, Alaska in 1929. Her parents were Afonie and Christina Knagin Lukin. Growing up in Afognak, she recounts the importance of living a subsistence lifestyle. Julia fondly remembers her mother's gardens in Afognak village, near Graveyard Point, and in front of their house. These gardens contained many potatoes and fresh vegetables. Julia also remembers smoking and salting fish, harvesting ducks, seal, and berries.