Hope. We all have it.

Hope gives us the capacity to find a methodology or strategy for making it to a point where we want to end up. Having hopes and dreams gives us an optimistic outlook on how our lives can change or evolve to what we want. Sometimes, in life, things are out of our control. This past year and a half, we found ourselves at the mercy of an invisible protein. It is times like the ones we have been embroiled in that hope seems to abandon us. It leaves us in the dark and at a brink that we are not at all familiar with; what is this dank and fearsome darkness that is invading our minds and souls?

Seeing the beginnings of light at the end of the tunnel blew a bit of air on the flames allowing a few sputtering sparks. Western science found a way to give us that hope and in Alaska, the First Peoples chose to follow the science that they know walks hand in hand with their Traditional Knowledge ways. The values of the First Peoples do not recognize self as a competitor of community. The community of people is more important than the one. From that standpoint, out of the darkness came a gift. An act of sharing their good fortune and offering vaccines to those “unchosen” people not listed in the protocol lists. Certainly, the Elders received the vaccines first. As did our Native Clinic health providers, both Native and non-Native. But then the break in protocol took over and vaccines designated to the First Peoples through their status as sovereign entities were offered to health and public safety providers not attached to the Native community since the allotment for them had not yet been received. As more vaccines became available, the teachers and staff of the schools were provided the option of choosing the vaccine. And then, with the incoming vaccines to both Native and non-Native entities, there suddenly were no lists, just the knowledge that the vaccine was available to anyone entering the community, including all workers, citizens or not. That is when hope had a chance to take hold and stay.

Hope, along with words taught for millennia in the Aleutians that are called ‘the right way to live as a human being’ fill out the whole picture.  Ugigdada.  Share.  Agitaasiin sismida.  Be kind to other people.  Agitaasiin sismida.  Help others.


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Ukuganaadan has had a great run at the Anchorage Museum. The show was extended from the original ending date in mid-January to April 14 at the request of the museum staff and the public. If you are in Anchorage by the 14th, go see the show. It is a beautiful show by Unangan artist Gert Svarny.

Ukuqanaadan: The Visions of Gert Svarny

Ukuqanaadan (2)

If, by chance, you are in Anchorage anytime between now and January 20, 2019, take some time to visit the Anchorage Museum at the Rasmuson Center to view this exquisite  exhibition.

Galley (2)


If you are there on October 11th, we will all be there, too.  Stop by to meet the one and only Gert Svarny and her family of artists.  Special reception, open to the public, begins at 6:30 pm and ends at 8:00 pm.  Hope to see some of you there.  You won’t regret it!