Hosted by Evon Peter

Arctic Village, Alaska by Scott Sternbach



My Grandfather Tsee Gho' Tsyatsal

Shitsii Steefan Tsee Gho' Tsyatsal aii vichuii. This is probably the only picture I took of my grandfather who helped raise me Vashraii K'oo zhit (in Arctic Village). I only had one disposable film camera, I was under twelve years old at the time. I learned a lot from him, even though most of it was not spoken in words. As a young boy, I would sit and listen to him visit with other elders in the village, they all had a really good sense of humor.



Evon Choo Drives to Fairbanks

This is the story of my drive from Circle to Fairbanks today, told in third person, which was a style of at least one Gwich'in storyteller from the past. Thought I would have fun trying it out. Evon Choo is what my family calls me, because I used to have a round stomach as a baby, 'choo' meaning 'big', in reference to my belly. The beginning is in our language, Gwich'in, but the bulk of the scary drive is in English.

Evon Choo vagwandak. Tanan zhat niinzhii Danzhit Hanlaii gwats'an. "Jaghaii dzaa chiitaii ahtsin shree nanh ch'anjaa?" Evon Choo ahnyaa. "Dulee vit'eegwaahchyaa yak'ahaanjii," yaagha' ninjich'adhat. As he drove on this rainy January from Circle to Fairbanks, the roads were glare ice and the wind was high. He barely made it to the top of the summit, fishtailing his truck up the winding mountain pass. When he reached flat ground he stopped, but the wind began to carry his truck backwards across the ice toward the edge of a steep drop. He was ready to step on the gas and pray to catch enough traction to keep from sliding off if he had to, but the truck slowed to a stop. Lucky, he brought a pair of tire cleats to put on the rear tires. But when he stepped out of the truck, the high winds grabbed him, threw him to the ground with a good hit to the elbow against the truck door, and began carrying his body toward the drop off. He reached for his rear tire with his good arm, as he slid by on the ice. His grip was solid, so his body rounded the back end of the truck and came to a stop. He realized that if he let go of the truck he would be blown away, first time he ever experienced that kind of sheer ice and high winds. He carefully put on the tire cleats and slowly made his way, through the rain and across the ice back to Fairbanks. Was another eventful day in the life of Evon Choo.


Faith in what must be

What I do?
Is be,
A spirit,
Strong and free,
It doesn’t all make sense,
Even to me,
I’m fine with it,
I have to be,
It is my path to walk,
That much I see.

I see many possibilities,
The world a palette,
The paints my dreams,
And a single masterpiece,
Calling my name.

If only this art were simple,
Free of sorrow and pain,
Heartache and shame,
But then,
What would its value be?

A destiny it is,
Every step an adventure,
Deeper into imagination,
On approach to a river,
That nourishes us all.

The art of lessons,
Carried by stories,
Transforming reality,
So we may continue on.

It is beauty,
Life on purpose,
Faith in what must be.


Celebration & Ceremony

There are times when we find ourselves in a naturally generated altered state of consciousness. While we are in that place, our experience of being alive is full and we often feel our spiritual connection to all of life. The intentional entry into that space is ceremony, which has specific purpose. Some of those purposes are for protection, healing, honoring, meditation, and praying. This weekend our people, the Gwich'in, celebrated the continuation of our way of life, living from the land, maintaining our relationship with the caribou, carrying our language and cultural practices, and honoring the unity among our nation. We made prayers with our ancestral songs. Our spirits were lifted. We are thankful for all that we have been blessed with in our lands.

Vadzaih Ch'adzaa

Dehtr'yaa ch'adzaa


Camp Pigaaq 2013 Pics

Here are a few pics from the summer culture camp:

On an iceberg in the northwest arctic ocean

Coming back from a successful hunt, with Cape Blossom in the background.

Taking care of the ugruk.

Hanging fish and meat to dry on the inusuk.

Having some fun.

Cutting strips with fire to keep away the bugs (photo by Angela Monroe)

Finished cutting at some o'clock in the morning (photo by Angela Monroe)

Streched seal skin by Aucha

Sunset and almost sunrise.