Othniel was born in Tikigaq (Point Hope). He attended High School in Barrow and graduated in 1981. He graduated from college in 1986 with a degree from Western Oregon University in Art, minor in Computer Science. Othniel worked as a graphic artist in Portland, Oregon for 7 years and started carving in 1997. He has not stopped carving since then. He has 10 years of marketing his work throughout the west coast. He has carved snow in Japan for 2 years and participated in an Indigenous gathering in Olympia, Washington and New Zealand. He has spent the last 4 years in Hawaii.