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To be young and proud of tradition

January 6th, 2011 | Alaska Newspapers Staff Print this article   Email this article  

Dozens of children and teens submitted essays to Alaska Newspapers Inc.'s "Write Your Heritage" contest, which coincided with National American Indian / Alaska Native Heritage Month in November. The winners' six essay were published on Nov. 25, but all entrants' works will appear in editions during the next several weeks.

"My Heritage"

When I was at my house my dad was cutting moose meat. He got a big sharp knife and started to cut the meat. He said, "you should learn to cut this when you get older. If you don't know how, you won't know at all" Then I took the hair out of the meat so you don't have to eat the hair when you are eating the moose meat.

-- Jared Paine, 9 years old

"My Heritage"

My name is Kaylie Pauline Harvey. My Eskimo name is Napayunaq. I got it from my friend's great grandfather. It doesn't mean anything it is just a name. I am 16 years old and in the 11th grade. I live in Unalakleet, Alaska. I am an Inupiat Eskimo. My parents are Vern and Michelle Harvey. I love to cut fish, camp, picnic and swim.

I am pound to live in a small village in Alaska. Even though it's a small town, the country is huge. You can go up the river, up the road into the hills and out the ocean. Everybody knows each other and everyone is nice to everybody. We live in a safe and healthy village. I lived in Unalakleet, Alaska, my whole life and it's a wonderful place to live and raise.

I am not fully Eskimo but yet I still act like it. I am thankful for all the things we can do. We get to hunt mammals and a lot of other animals. Non-Alaskan native can't hunt mammals. We get to see a lot of things people can't. Like all the wildlife out the country. I am proud of the food we get and eat. We eat so many different animals and we are very lucky to have all of them to keep us alive. I am very proud to be Alaskan Native. I'm not ashamed of my cultural.

There is a lot meaning about being young. When you are young, you still have a huge future ahead of you. People still have to teach you right from wrong. You're not ready to live on your own and you are still making bad decisions. People are still also having to make decisions for you. You still act childish and carefree. You obviously younger in age and have an energetic heart and spirit. You are also less optimistic.

There is nothing wrong being Alaska Native. It's actually wonderful. To be one. People that are, should be thankful and very proud. We are very lucky compared to other places. We should not take advantage of our cultural. People do not realize what we have. Being an Alaska Native living in a village is wonderful.

-- Kaylie Pauline Harvey,


"My Heritage"

I am a student from Unalakleet and I am a senior in high school. I like to go hunting and camping with my friends and family. My favorite subject in school is Math because I like problem solving. After school I want to get some training to be a pilot or a mechanic for small and big engines. I like doing hands on activities because its easier to learn. I think getting your diploma is really important because your opening the doorway to a lot of job opportunities. My name is Edward Soxie and I am Inupiat Eskimo.

--Edward Soxie

"My Heritage"

My name is Autumn Ivanoff, and I am Inupiat Eskimo. My Eskimo name is Ukiaq, which means, the season, fall or autumn. I am proud of myself as an Inupiat teenage Eskimo. I am a freshman at the Frank A. Degnan High School, which is located in Unalakleet, Alaska. I live in a three-bedroom house, with my parent, Wesley Sr. and Carla Ivanoff, and my siblings. My sibling's names are, Earvin, Allison, and Wesley Jr. During my down time, I usually listen to music and simultaneously text at my friends, watch movies, spend time with my nephew, Rhylee, go out and have fun, help my parents, and sister, and just live my life.

My paternal grandparents, Harris Sr. and Ebba Ivanoff, and maternal great-grandparents, Ida and the late Andrew Nakarak taught subsistence to my siblings and I. From what I have learned in the past, I know that whenever you go subsistence hunting and you catch something for the first time, you give it away to an elder who pretty much doesn't have the strength to go out and do this. Going down to the point with my brother, was a lot of fun, we would fish and then later we would give it away to our relatives or store them for the winter. Throughout all of my elementary years, we had a bilingual class where we would make projects such as pin cushions, mittens, mukluks, parkas, key chains, Eskimo yo-yos and others.

Knowing many things of my culture, I do it with pride and courage. Teaching others and myself along the way is something that I do to help keep culture alive. Growing up we had to have this class of Bilingual/Bicultural, and it helped us to learn our native words and culture. Becoming the teenager I am, I think that I won't be able to keep up with this, but I try to do my best and this makes me feel good about myself.

To be successful in your culture and to have great values, you need to show others what is important to you. Being young and Inupiat Eskimo is an everyday challenge but it is fun. There are sometimes that I can think that there is something that is impossible, but sooner or later, I get it done, and the advice my parents or other people give me strives me to do so. Ever since I can remember, my parents would tell us to do good in school and do our best everyday before school. Since I am only a freshman in high school, I believe that I have done my best. This is a part of my success that makes me feel great about myself. This example shows that you can be capable to do so much in life to succeed in your lifetime. Us later generations have things that help us communicate with each other, and this makes us negligent to do everything that our ancestors and grandparents had to do. My ancestors were forced to do more things then I am doing today, and the Western part of Alaska expects me to know how to use computers, cell phones, television, Xboxes, and other portable devices that divert us into the wrong way. Back then they weren't able to do more than half of the stuff we do today. This shows us how indolent we are to do things that they did like, fish cutting, berry picking, hunting, and other hands-on jobs. To become the person your parents or your grandparents want you to be, you have to let go of the "cool" things and make yourself get on track.

My favorite past-time memory would be, Ice Fishing with my parents and younger brother down at the point or at Ayyu's Hill. We would always have a blast running around on the ice, playing in the snow, or waiting for fish to bite on our hooks. While waiting to catch fish, Boyuck and I would either be talking to each other, or with my parents, or our friends that went down there too. Later we would feel the fish tugging and we would just run backwards, until the string and hook came out and starting jumping up and down because we caught something. This was really fun to do, and I hope this is something we are able to do until I am not able to do anything like this anymore. Everything that is included on this paper is what makes me proud of myself.

-- Edward Soxie,



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