When you're from the Southwestern Alaska you'll know know me because I'm a proud bilingual person, which means I can speak and write two languages (English and Yup'ik). There's one story that I wish to share with you that was important to me. It was with my 91 year old Grandpa Alexie Nicholai.

A couple of years ago I was eating with my Grandfather. While we were eating, he started telling about his childhood. When he was a little boy he used to go to the mud house where all the boys congregated. They would have a sleepover there, and he liked it very much. They only talked Yup'ik not knowing anything about the English language. Then the years passed and, now that he's an elder, he is the oldest person in Napaskiak, which is cool. He is still active today. The reason why my Grandpa is still active is because when he was a young boy he would always listen to his parents. His parents would have rules for him and he'd take them serious.

I want to live like him too. Every day I'm always trying my best to have a good future and keep my cultural language. Every day is a challenge that we must overcome. No one wants our language to get lost because we know how important it is. Even though a Native person moves to a city that person will still be Native, only in fairy tales that person could become a White person. The reality is that you are who you are. We have to be happy with our culture and feel lucky because, above all, we are bilingual Natives.

After all these years, Yup'ik speaking is starting to get lost. Fading . . . which is so sad and scary. The moment when he told me about the old days I was proud that I was able to understand what he was saying. If I hadn't known what he was saying, I would have lost the opportunity to become proud of myself because I wouldn't have known the importance of this wisdom. Luckily, I knew what he was saying. After he told me that I started thinking a lot. It made me wonder the whole day, made me picture the future. And today the world is getting crazier with some Natives unable to speak in Yup'ik. This is a totally sad overcome. If I were one of those unfortunates, I'd be embarrassed, but I'm glad I know how to speak our Yup'ik language.

I want our culture and language to go on and on for generations. No one wishes to lose it. It's the best feeling ever to be bilingual. I'm scared of the future because after our grandparents and parents pass on the language might be lost. So now is the right time to keep it in our hearts that one special moment with my Grandpa made me think like this. It's like he woke me up from a fairy tale into reality.


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