I experienced a lot of things while growing up in Alaska. I got to go traveling upriver with my family to my mother's hometown of New Stuyahok, Alaska to visit my grandfather and many other relatives. During the summer my family and I would go berry picking. When we go salmon berry picking we would take a skiff ride down river a little past Ekwok Lodge, because there are not enough salmon berries in Ekwok. The reason is there are so many people coming to Ekwok to pick berries from New Stuyahok, Koliganek, Dillingham, and Anchorage. There are not enough berries for everybody.

I like fishing in the summer and swimming with my friends and family. Going on picnics and other fun activities is a big deal in our family. I like making hackey sacks in my Multicultural class, because I really enjoy sewing. I enjoy a variety of cultural activities.

I am grateful for my parents and how they brought me up to be proficient in the Yupik language. The traditional foods that I grew up eating like moose, caribou, ptarmigan, and fish meat. My mom would make atsiuraq (cranberry pudding), and different types of akutaq (berries mixed with Crisco and sugar). My dad would go hunting and trapping upriver on the Nushgak River for the animals and birds my mom would cook. I love to help her skin and prepare the meat. I am proud to keep learning my people's language while learning my heritage.

I was first inspired to learn how to speak my native language more fluently by a dear loved one. She was once a Bilingual teacher, she taught me how to make a kakiivik (sewing kit), some crocheting and knitting projects, to say the pledge in Yupik, and a few other things. The Native language should be taught more in the rural areas because our Native languages are dying off and also our customs too. I am so proud to be an Alaskan Native and that's why this coming fall semester I'm going to be taking Yupik language courses thorugh UAF with Bethel's instructor Sophie Alexie. Taking the course will help advance my native tongue, I would like to converse more with my mom, elunguaqs (relatives), and to understand them better.


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