I am 17 years old and a junior at Dillingham High School. I was born and raised in Dillingham. Dillingham is a place I can call home. Everything here is beautiful fomrthe summery mountains, to the snowy mountaintops, to our big lakes, our largest salmon run, and to our wide tundra filled with animals.

I am so proud to be an Alaskan because I am very blessed to be able to know where I come from. I am very blessed to have the family that I do. I love being able to watch and learn all the things that my mom, dad, grandma, aunts, and uncles all do. I love being able to learn how to split fish. These past few years my family has been teaching me a lot. I was taught how to make Sulunaqa (in English it means salted fish head) they are really tasty. They teach me every day how I can cook things. I am very proud how my dad taught me how to hunt for my own food.

I am proud to be an Alaskan because I love learning my language. I at least learn a few words every day. I like to listen to my mom and grandma talk back and forth. I love hearing them laugh after they something funny in Yupik. They now know that although I can't pronounce things correctly I can understand what they are saying! One thing that I love to do is sing in Yupik. I am learning different songs in Yupik. My favorite song is Nanraumale Atanerput or in English it is called Praise Ye the Lord.

I am proud to be an Alaskan because I love learning what we think is right. One great one that I take in is respecting my elders. My grandma means the world to me. If it was not for her teaching her kids and me I would not know my language. I would not be able to sing in Yupik. That is why I love her for who she is. That is why I love being an Alaskan. Some people think just cause you live in Alaska you are a true Alaskan. What this means to me is knowing a lot about your background. Knowing how to do this thing of your history. Being a woman and able to fish and hunt is amazing. Being able to talk in your language is the best.

I plan to take what I know to the next level. I plan to stay proud of who I am and where I come from. If I do not do that I know that I am not proud to be an Alaskan.

Back to AKABE Essay Contest Page.