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Thursday, December 30, 2010


This time of year we Alaskans are the most vulnerable. The cold has no mercy or thought, and any small thing that can go wrong can have long lasting effects. As some of you have heard the village of Savoonga lost power, long enough to do massive damage and to leave many families in need.

I received a note in Facebook with a call to help those in Savoonga and I just want to pass this along.

ERA aviation will ship any goods that you want to send for FREE, they can be found in pretty much any and all villages and in the cities. All you have to do it drop your gifts off, packaged securely, Labeled to the People of Savoonga, to the cargo department and let them know where it's going.

They are requesting mostly non-perishable food items. Some ideas are: boxed milk, canned milk, cereals, pilot bread crackers, canned pasta, canned meats, instant rice, cup o' noodles, instant oatmeal, granola bars, canned fruits, tea, coffee, sugar, koolaid juice mix, cookies...etc. Anything would help I am sure of it.

If you live in Anchorage you can contact Yaari Kingeekuk by emailing: who is making some arrangements.


You can drop off stuff at the Alaska Native Heritage enter in Anchorage.

You can also send donations to
City of Savoonga
PO Box 40
Savoonga, Alaska, 99769

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Flying out....

I took some photos when I was flying had been so long since I had actually seen the sun. I must have taken a hundred pictures. It felt like gold on my skin....all warm and pale...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Guardians......

This is the time of year when college students come home for the holidays. They board metal planes that take them back to the 'tiny' villages.

I can remember vividly what it was like. My brain would be in shock for a few days as I exchanged one world for another. I would be uncomfortable as I greeted people that felt a bit like strangers, almost as if we were separated by the books that I read for my courses. It was never a simple enjoyable homecoming to family and friends that you saw on the movies. It was always something I had to brace myself for, to push through the waves of different reactions that bloomed around me. You never knew how some people were going to react, what uncomfortable words would come out of their mouths.

The holidays always left me emotionally exhausted. I was greeted one moment with a hug and a handshake, words of awkward encouragement in the air, and the next with belittling words whispered just loud enough for me to hear as they passed by. Usually it was something about being 'better than' or 'stuck up', followed by giggles or grins. These words were spoken by adults and young people alike, though I suspect the younger ones were only mimicking the adults.

To me it was worth it, to find a few tiny gems of acceptance and love in the crowd of confusion, like pearls of Faith.

It always made me wonder where it all came from. What did they see in me that prompted such words and reactions. Some people would say it was jealousy, but jealousy is wanting what someone else has and I never sensed that they wanted my experience.

I think part of it is also that people do not talk of what their experiences are away from home. What they went through to get an education . What the cost was. It is assumed that if you are being successful in college than you are enjoying yourself, being bathed in city lights and dancing in paved streets. But of course none of that is true.

Everything worth it requires sacrifice.

My degree was paid for in tears. In long nights wishing I had less courage and determination. It was paid for in dreams of being just a tad less smart, and confusion about what my purpose would be. It was paid for in battle, between two worlds trying to fit like a puzzle made of ever changing clay. It was paid for by learning utter loneliness, or what felt like it compared to the strength and bonds I felt from my culture and people before I left.

In our new world we have need of Guardians. Guardians to fend off the worst of the storm that is the modern world, threatening to erode our Uniqueness and Difference. But these Guardians are few, and these Guardians bear a heavy weight and will earn many many scars.

In this Holiday season, I would hope if you know one, you will lessen their scars, lessen their wounds by not adding to them. By realizing that without them there would be nothing but uncertain blackness as a future. By understanding the Price.

And when, or if, they return to fight on the Home turf, that you are willing to greet them with Understanding and Acceptance. And let that be your sacrifice.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I am one of a very lucky few that are shareholders in a Alaska Native Company that does well. Twice a year we receive checks, usually a couple thousand in the spring, and about three times as much of that in mid December. We are currently approaching our winter checks.

There are some observations I have been confronting and examining. Some thoughts that drift and solidify and drift some more. It is hard for me to contemplate these questions simply because more often than not I am left with nothing but frustration or annoyance on my plate.

It's not that this free money is bad in any way, it's more like the observation that there is no responsibility whatsoever attached to it. And for some strange reason this irks me. Irks me to no end. Twice a year I receive a direct deposit into my account, and a tiny stub in the mail that I hand over to my tax preparer. That's it. There is no accompanying recommendations or programs I could invest my money in, no slips of paper to describe some well deserving non-profit that would benefit from a few bucks from me, no bank willing to give me a good deal on a savings account for my children (if I had any), not a peep or a squeak about the possibilities that this money could become. Nothing at all from the company that cuts me the check. It's as if they are done with me once they mail the check, and that is all that I am worth.

There are 10,000 of us that receive theses checks. 10,000 souls spread across the U.S., with half living out of state. We accept these checks as part of life, with no knowledge of why get them in the first place. With no thought on how fleeting this money could become. What if this money disappears (as it might since it's largely based on oil production on the Slope and as we all know it's a finite source) what will be left for us? Will we have learned money budgeting skills? will we have some of it stored away for a rainy day? What exactly is this money doing for us? What percentage of it actually goes to bettering our lives?

Personally my check goes to paying for 6 months worth of food and supplies for our pantry, I embark on a mad and crazy shopping spree for a few days that usually leaves me completely exhausted and insane. My husbands goes to our vehicle and gas bill which is forever present, as we cannot live without a vehicle to hunt or gather our main sources of food. A tiny amount goes to a savings account created for unexpected costs....

But we were not always this careful with our money, and it was only the responsibility of a shared life that made us rein in our spending sprees. As an artist I have long accepted the fact that my head is not for financial pleasures but I still wonder.....

I would be most willing to put some in a savings account if the Company arranged an easy and SAFE long term program that they set up.....but I fear they are only in it for the money. For the money they throw at me that feels like hush money on some days. They send a few pages to me me a few times a year filled with large numbers and professional pictures, printed on expensive and large paper, and they announce visits to the villages to answer questions, but I do not know (even with my degrees and half degrees) what this means and how it betters my life...

But what sane person would object to getting free money?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another pic.....

My window this afternoon. The handprint is all but covered by this dense growth of midnight crystals and air laden with dreams.

Stay warm everyone........