This week, we’re hearing from Nicolai Alokli in Kodiak. Alokli was a fisherman in his youth and has lived in Old Harbor and the Alitak cannery area.
ALOKLI: I’m 82 years, and I’m an only child. My mom died when I was five, and I never really got to know her. My dad died when I was 14. I’ve been on my own since I was 14. I grew up all by myself. I’d say I did pretty good.
All my friends from Old Harbor speak Alutiiq. That’s how I kept my language strong. Grandpa was a reader in church, a Russian reader. He used to read the Gospel in Russian in church, and he’d read the Gospel in Alutiiq. I understood every word of it. He was teaching me to speak Russian, but he passed away before I learned.
I lost my oldest boy. He just passed away, I can’t remember… ten, 15 years ago. He was only 43 years old. I started him fishing when he was five years old. Oh he loved his fishing. And he went out, he joined the Navy. After the Navy, he came home to the local crab shop and he got in a boat, and he caught fish for 18 years, then he came home and died. He was only 43 years old.
He accomplished so much in a short life. I was really proud of him.