Friday, March 12, 2010

'tis the season...


I get like this a few times a year. I'm looking for work (unsuccessfully so far), working on my 1770s Mohawk persona (carpal tunnel issue is preventing me from making my mocassins, etc) and just feeling a bit down. Then...

I realize how much I miss Alaska. Lived there for almost 8 years. Lived in small cities like Fairbanks and tiny Bush villages like Pedro Bay (pop. 12). Met/lived around Athabaskan, Yu'Pik and Inupiaq (and 1 full-blood Pawnee that moved up from Nebraska...). The folks I knew were living like the ones I'm studying now. Out on the land. Hunting, fishing, trapping, trading.

And here I am. In freakin' NY.

I got to meet so many interesting people.

The Rev. David Salmon, for instance. He was the first non-white Episcopal priest ordained in Alaska. When he was a boy, his village (Chalkytsik) was hit by a TB epidemic. His father took to the Bush with the family. Young David and his family lived in the Bush of interior Alaska for almost 2 years without returning to a village. He was one of the Elders sought out for a UoA video because he could still make bark canoes.

Or the old Inupiaq man that told me hunting stories. Or Lester, who at 83 still used a dog team to check his trapline.

There was one person I never got to talk to. The great grandmother of one of my employees. The old gal made it to 104, possibly 110 because of the way records were kept back in the day. She didn't taste sugar until she was in her 40s, didn't ride in a car until she was almost 70, went to fish camp and moose camp with the men until she broke her hip at 97!!!!!!! Lived in the Bush until the day she died in Tetlin, AK.

And here I am. In freakin' NY.

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