Alaska Cultural Connections
Nuiqsut is both one of the newest communities on the North Slope and one of the oldest. The area was inhabited for centuries by the Iñupiat, and then abandoned for Barrow.
Some people crave ice cream or fresh vegetables or pasta. Others prefer dried fish or caribou. As part of our series exploring culture in rural and urban Alaska, APRN’s Anne Hillman found out how strong links between food and culture are common throughout the state.
The spring whaling season is underway on Alaska’s North Slope. The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission reports St Lawrence Island whaling crews are having success with four bowheads landed by Savoonga hunters and two for Gambell. Whalers on the mainland coast are ready and waiting.
Chances are you’ve heard the saying, the great thing about Anchorage is that its only 15 minutes from the real Alaska. If you don’t live in the state’s largest city, maybe you agree. Then there’s the other question: how long do you have to live here before you’re an Alaskan? Are you an Alaskan if you spend only summers here? Is it when you get your first PFD? Is it a length of time, or a state of mind?
Frank Matumeak was born in Barrow in 1948. His mother was required to move there to attend the Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. Though his family had to conform somewhat to the American education system, he said his childhood was still ruled by the seasons. As part of our series looking at culture in Alaska, APRN’s Anne Hillman spoke with Matumeak about what life was like when he was growing up.
Perhaps when you imagine a typical Alaskan Native elder, you think of an older person living in a bush village, or maybe a hub community like Bethel, Barrow or Wrangell. And that’s still true for many elders. But increasing numbers are joining their families in Alaska’s cities. As part of our on-going series looking at how we define ourselves and live our lives as Alaskans, Len Anderson looks at the role of Alaska Native elders in an urban environment.
Modern technology, like snow machines, boats, and cell phones have changed how Alaskans gather their food – both in urban and rural areas.
Traveling Outside, many of us encounter questions about Alaska stemming from curiosity and ignorance. Do we live in igloos? Is it always winter with six months darkness? Is American money accepted? But rural Alaska residents often feel their urban-dwelling fellow Alaskans have just as many misperceptions about their bush homes. As part of our on-going series looking at how we define our culture and live our lives as Alaskans, Len Anderson presents these examples.
It’s a Wednesday afternoon and the Juneau-Douglas High School gymnasium is full. In Division C – which is roughly ages 32-42 – 7-year defending champ Kake is playing Hydaburg. Tournament co-chair and player Edward Kotch from Klukwan says it’s for more than just the basketball.
Ask most Alaska Natives “Where are you from” and chances are even a second or third generation urban dweller will name a rural community. Ties with one’s region are strong….even for those who never even really lived in there. This week, Len Anderson brings you the story of one urban-raised Inupiaq woman whose longing to connect with her roots first hand prompted her to move “home” to Kotzebue.
As part of our on-going series about Alaska’s cultural connections, we’ve been bringing you stories about how Alaskans, both urban and rural, define and live their lives. No matter where young people live, learning about sex is a big part of growing up, whether it happens in a healthy way, or a way you’d rather forget. Many young Alaskans feel their first lessons were a little too little and a little too late.
Today, Iditarod leaders are closing in on Elim on their way to the finish line in Nome. Nine days ago, just after leaving downtown Anchorage, they turned onto the Chester Creek trail and passed by one “trail party” after another. Along this stretch, as along much of the trail to Nome, the Iditarod means community. As Jessica Cochran tells us, the race is part of our culture – one of the ways we identify ourselves as Alaskans.
It was late in the afternoon and I was exhausted from two solid days of interviews about learning and teaching Inupiat language and culture. I thought I understood the importance of maintaining the culture and traditions, but I had already scheduled an appointment to meet with a young man from a whaling family and I felt I shouldn’t break it.
Nuiqsut is both one of the newest communities on the North Slope and one of the oldest. The area was inhabited for centuries by the Iñupiat, and then abandoned for Barrow. In 1973 former community members decided to resettle the area and build a village far from the bustle of the regional hub. But just twenty-five years later, the bustle came to them in the form of Alpine Oil field. For our rural/urban series, contributor Anne Hillman found out how the community –and communication — adapted to being in the cross section of two worlds.
First up, we start with a common intergenerational complaint. – kids don’t go outside any more. They’re too interested in video games, or TV or the Internet. APRN’s Anne Hillman spoke with people in rural and urban Alaska who are trying to limit the impact of technology on young people.
The demographics of Alaska, including rural populations, are changing in some unexpected ways. Between 2000 and 2010, the population of Pacific Islanders in the state doubled to more than 12,000. And they aren’t just in the state’s urban centers. More than 3 percent of Barrow residents identify as Pacific Islanders. As part of our series looking at rural life in Alaska, APRN contributor Anne Hillman spoke with members of Barrow’s Samoan community to find out how the islanders from the far south fit into the small community of the far north.
A new experiential learning course is giving college students from across the country a different perspective on living in Southeast Alaska, largely from the vantage point of a kayak. The students earn college credit on the six week course.
Despite years of effort and millions of dollars in state campaigns, Alaska’s suicide rate remains at nearly double the nation’s average. On Saturday communities across the state participated in suicide prevention walks and gatherings.